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News about security updates, public updates, service packs and product lifecycle from the Microsoft Office sustained Engineering team.

Farewell Office 2003

Farewell Office 2003

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This clip originated from the "Great Moments at Work" campaign of Office 2003.

As has been noted in many places, today is the final day of support for Office 2003.

Along with Windows XP, the product lifecycle of Office 2003 has expired. Remaining Office 2003 users should upgrade to Office 2013, Office 365, or perhaps use Office Online to meet their needs for productivity.

Many questions will be surfaced today regarding the end of support for this version, so we thought we'd take a moment to address the end of life with the traditional FAQ-style post.

Q: Why should I upgrade to a later version of Office? 2003 works just fine.
A: Office 2003 was a fine product, deployed by hundreds of millions of users. 11 years later, however, productivity software has expanded significantly as a category. OneNote, Lync, OpenXML, Office Online, Office 365 and several other products and technologies have been added or have evolved significantly. The security hardening of later versions of Office 2007, 2010, 2013 and Office 365 offer improved protection from threats, and along the way thousands of new capabilities have been added.

Q: Will support be available at all for 2003?
A: Custom Support Agreements are available to enable Critical Security updates for 2003. For most customers, support for 2003 will end today, and Microsoft will no longer offer updates to the product.

Q: Will activation still work?
A: Yes, 2003 licenses will still activate as before.

Q: Will the existing updates for 2003 remain available?
A: Yes, both on Microsoft Update and the Microsoft Download Center

Q: Does anything in the product stop working or "turn off?"
A: No. Perpetually licensed Office 2003 customers will still have full use of the software for local use.

Q: Can I still use Office 2003 with Office 365 services?
A: Office 2003 is unsupported with Office365 versions.

Q: Will my Office documents from my 2003 products open in newer versions of Office?
A: Yes. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook and other products will interact correctly with new versions of Office. While the file or storage formats for these applications may have changed over time, the ability to read prior versions is present in newer releases.

Q: What if some of my customers or partners are still using Office 2003?
A: Document exchange across office versions will remain a part of the existing functionality.

Q: Will my add-ins and macros continue to work?
A: The expiration of support does not cause any product-specific changes for Office or impact the installed software in any way. The end of the product support lifecycle merely means that support for Office 2003 will on longer be available.. Your software will continue to function as it already does, including interaction with 3rd party solutions and customizations.

Q: Are the 2003 viewer products expiring as well?
A: Yes. There are many free viewing options for Office documents that remain available.

As more questions surface throughout the day, we'll keep updating this post to help inform 2003 users about their experience and options for upgrading.

Comments
  • IMNSHO, there's a lot of life left in the old office, yet. For those who prefer the classic UI, Access 2003 databases will run under the runtimes (freely downloadable from Microsoft) of later versions (2007, 2010, 2013). I know some who run a virtual XP on their Win 7 machines just to run Office 2003 without any possibility of conflicts with the later version the run under Win 7.

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