Google to axe old Microsoft Office file formats

News Jane McCallion Jan 22, 2013
The end is near sign
The end is near sign

Web giant warns stay of execution for Office 97-2003 file formats will end soon

Web giant Google is reminding users that support for older Microsoft Office formats on Google Docs will end on 31 January.

In a blog post, Google said: “To continue adding new features and innovations to Google Drive and Docs, we’ll be focusing our resources on exporting to these newer open formats rather than the older, proprietary Office formats...that were used in Office 97-2003.”

Google announced that support for documents in .doc, .xls and .ppt formats was to cease in September 2012 and originally set the deadline for 1 October the same year.

However, after a major outcry from businesses and individuals who still use the old file formats, the company extended the deadline.

Nevertheless, 31 January is a hard cut-off, with Google saying there will be no further extension. After that date, users will not be able to export files from Google Docs into the old formats.

For people still using a pre-2004 version of Microsoft Office, all is not lost. Google suggests downloading a compatibility plug-in, developed by Microsoft, which should allow them to view files in the affected formats.