The anti-.docx/.xlsx post

The users of one of the companies that I manage (I.T.) send a lot of e-mails with MS Word/Excel attachments. A while ago, they upgraded to Office 2007. This created a rather annoying *issue* for them whenever they sent a Word or Excel attachment via e-mail—about half of their recipients couldn’t open the attachments. This is a rather easy problem to deal with so I didn’t pay it much attention in the beginning… actually it’s not a problem at all, the software is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do: Force people (i.e., the recipients) to believe that they have no choice but to upgrade when in fact, they don’t. If this weren’t the case, then why wasn’t the Office 2007 Compatibility Pack included in the latest Office 2003 service pack (which was released September 18, 2007; eight months AFTER Office 2007 was released for retail on January 30, 2007)? But I digress… I could be here all day bitching about Microsoft’s shady business practices. So anyway, in the beginning, I told the users to tell their recipients that they needed to install the aforementioned compatibility pack, I even gave them the direct link to the download. I also told them that as an alternative, they could save their documents in Word or Excel 2003 format. Both of these options proved to be too much for them (or their customers) to handle, and since I’m the I.T. guy I’m expected to “just make it work”. It’s ok, that’s what I get paid to do, so what did I do? Rather than travel to three different locations and make changes that would be reversed either at random, by the users, or by an update; I inserted the following lines in their login script(s):

Option Explicit
'Set word and excel 2007 default save formats
Dim objShell
Set objShell = CreateObject("WScript.Shell")
objShell.RegWrite _
"HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Options\DefaultFormat", "Doc", "REG_SZ"
objShell.RegWrite _
"HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Excel\Options\DefaultFormat", "56", "REG_DWORD"

They only have about three different login scripts for the entire domain so this wasn’t too hard, I didn’t even have to leave the office :-)

This changes a user’s default Word and Excel save formats to the Office 2003/XP format. If you put this in a login script, it will be run every time the user logs in (thus, changing the setting). This is exactly how Office 2007 changes this setting so there’s really no harm in setting it every time a user logs in. Also, running it automatically upon login prevents users from changing this setting permanently because it will be reset once they login (after shutting down for the evening or logging out for example).

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