In my previous post I mentioned that if you are going to use SharePoint 2007 you really should use Office 2007 with it. In this post I will try to describe differences between various versions so you can know what to expect on your implementation.

Every project is different, and you will encounter numerous combinations of Microsoft software installed. Some large corporations we work with, are still using Office 2000 and Office XP. The majority of enterprise accounts are still using Office 2003 on Windows XP. (I cannot find any hard figures on this though).

Scenario 1

Client platform: Office 2007
Server Platform: SharePoint Portal Server 2003

You might have a customer that moved to Office 2007 but who is still using SharePoint 2003. There might be a number of reasons for this. Your customer probably has a very customized SharePoint 2003 and have decided not to upgrade it because it the solution work fine.

Feature Office 2007 with SharePoint Portal Server 2003
Saving documents to SharePoint sites
Editing documents stored to a SharePoint site
(Edition only works for the Office 2003 formats. You cannot save a DOCX back to SharePoint 2003)
Check-out/in, version history
Updating properties
(it works but not as elegant as on SharePoint 2007)

You will also experience the following server limitations:

  • Inability to index new document formats
  • Problems with using Address Books

Update September 22nd 2008: Thanks to Jonah I learned that there is a fix that solves some of these issues. Check it out.

Scenario 2

Server Platform: Office SharePoint Server 2007

In most cases you will run into this scenario. Your customer decided to implement SharePoint 2007, but they will still be using Office 2003. Here are differences between Office 2003 and Office 2007 when working with data from SharePoint sites.

Application / Feature Office 2003 Office 2007
Saving and editing Office 2003 files from SharePoint sites
Viewing Office 2007 files from SharePoint sites
You must install Compatibility Pack.
Editing Office 2007 files from SharePoint sites
Check-out/in, version history
Start a workflow
Updating properties
Improved in Word 2007.
Inserting document properties for (DOC/DOCX)
(DOC file format)

(DOCX file format)
Automatically updating server properties that were inserted to document body (DOC/DOCX)
Write a blog post
Compare versions of a SharePoint document /
(Very limited)
Synchronize tasks/discussion boards to Outlook
Synchronizing calendars to Outlook /
(One-way sync only; from SharePoint to Outlook)
Synchronizing contacts to Outlook /
(One-way sync only; from SharePoint to Outlook)
Synchronize document libraries to Outlook
Publishing Excel files as web pages
Working with Slide Library

Bear in mind that some customers will note be willing to upgrade to the new platform. During your project ask what are the key features they want to use to check if these are available for their Office version.


  1. Simon Mourier Says


    You can have that 2-ways Excel 2003 sync functionality back with Excel 2007 and 2010 if you install the small free activeX (200K, no dependency whatsoever on anything) available here:

    It reroutes .IQY files associations to itself, so when you click on WSS’s “export to spreadsheet” links, it launches Excel 2007, and creates a 2 way sync WSS list (sorry, “table” as the feature has been renamed in the newly created workbook/sheet.

    Note: you need to run IE as Administrator the first time to install it if you’re running Windows Vista or Windows 7.

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