Can I Use Office 2003 with Windows 10?


What are your criteria for deciding whether or not to take Microsoft updates?

I have Win10 and Office 2003. Regularly, when I get an update from Microsoft it trashes my Excel 2003. If I try to paste into a spreadsheet or format a cell the program crashes. I have to reinstall from my last Macrium full back-up (which includes the o/s) and then my last data backup (which does not include the o/s). I’m fed up with doing that, so I’m intending to turn off Microsoft updates. I can’t use the PC without Excel. I could go back to Win8, which is stable but nasty. I’m certainly not going to buy a new version of Office which will look nothing like Office 2003. REALISTICALLY, as opposed to THEORETICALLY, what are the dangers from turning off the Win10 updates?

Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me that Windows 10 might not be compatible with 14-year-old software. I know you like it, I get that, but Office 2003 + Windows 10 is a match made … well, somewhere other than heaven.

I’ll address the pragmatic reality of avoiding updates, and I’ll also review what I see as your alternatives with respect to Windows 10 and Office 2003.

Read moreCan I Use Office 2003 with Windows 10?

What’s a Good Free Alternative to Microsoft Office?

I’ve got an HP computer, a couple of months old, that came with Microsoft Office starter pre-installed. I tried to access the program and it won’t come up. It tells me to go to Control Panel and repair, but I’ve had no success there. I’ve gone to the Microsoft site; still no luck. I tried again to open file, right-click, repair – nothing. Right-click compatibility – nothing. Help! I’ve gone to a past restore point and as a matter of fact, several. Nothing has changed. Help me please! Too late for today’s report, but maybe sometime in the future. I can’t afford to purchase Office. What in your opinion is the best free alternative for simple Word and Excel usage?

Microsoft Office is certainly the biggest player in the area of office applications. It’s become the de-facto standard across the business world. It’s also something Microsoft pushes fairly hard when you install Windows, by including the “starter” edition and the “Get Office” app in Windows 10.

There are many, many alternatives. Unfortunately, whether any of them are appropriate for your circumstance is impossible for me to say.

Let’s review the list.

Read moreWhat’s a Good Free Alternative to Microsoft Office?

Is a Microsoft Office Subscription Worth It?

What’s this business with renting software? It might be fine for businesses, but I can’t afford to pay every year for the foreseeable future. Is it that much better that the payment is worthwhile?

When Microsoft introduced Office 365 as an annual subscription rather than a one-time purchase, I had the same reaction.

Then I did the math.

It turns out it’s a pretty good deal.

Read moreIs a Microsoft Office Subscription Worth It?

How Do I Repair Microsoft Office?

When I want to open a file in Excel a dialog box appears: “PROGRAM ERROR: EXCEL.EXE has generated errors and will be closed by Windows. You will need to restart the program.” How do I fix this?

This can happen for a number of reasons. In fact, it can happen to any of the Microsoft Office programs, including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook, and others.

Fortunately, Microsoft Office has an option to help deal with situations like this.

You can repair Microsoft Office.

Read moreHow Do I Repair Microsoft Office?

How do I make an Outlook PST file smaller?

My Outlook PST file is huge! It takes forever to back up, and is just generally incredibly unwieldy. How can I make it smaller?

Outlook PST files are Outlook’s repositories for email, contacts, calendar information, and much more. (Not to be confused with or Outlook Express – those are completely different and unrelated products.)

Outlook PST files can become very, very large if you’re not paying attention, and practical considerations like speed and backups often make us want to control the size well before reaching that stage.

Read moreHow do I make an Outlook PST file smaller?

Is Excel 2003 a Security Threat?


If I am using appropriate anti-malware software how can using Excel 2003 be a threat? I have heard that opening that program can allow threats to come into the computer if you are connected to the internet since support is over for MS Office 2003. Yet, it would seem to me that good anti-malware tools would catch and remove any threats ….. if indeed there are any.

Why do I ask? It is because I love Excel 2003. There are things I love about Excel 2003 and especially when building initial spreadsheets, I would prefer to use that version.

Just wondering if the threats are real and wondering if it really hurts to have MS Office 2003 installed on the computer and if it really hurts anything to use Excel 2003.

There are two very important issues raised by your question:

  1. Is Microsoft Excel 2003, or any Office 2003 application, a security risk simply because support for it has ended?
  2. Wouldn’t anti-malware tools catch anything anyway?

The answers might surprise you.

Read moreIs Excel 2003 a Security Threat?

Is OpenOffice a Viable Alternative to Microsoft Office?

I was thinking about purchasing Microsoft Word, which I had on my last computer. I need it occasionally to make lists, etc. I think it costs around $100 or perhaps even less. I don’t need Office, etc., just Word. I happened to read this article on freebies and it mentioned something called Open Office. So, I need your suggestion. Is this something I should download or am I better off purchasing Word? I assume that Open Office works the same as Word.

Open Office, now more formally Apache Open Office, and the very similar Libre Office, can be an effective alternative to Microsoft Word and even some other Microsoft Office applications.

Whether or not it’s a solution that works for you depends on which applications you use, how you use them, and most importantly, with whom you might share your documents.

Read moreIs OpenOffice a Viable Alternative to Microsoft Office?

Is application-provided encryption secure?


Hi, Leo. I searched your site and several other websites but could not find the exact explanation that I’m looking for. I’ve been keeping all of my personal financial information and website passwords in an Open Office spreadsheet that is saved with a long, complex password. From what I’ve been reading from your site and others, that spreadsheet is maybe not a secure as I think it is.

My question is – can anyone using sophisticated hacking software see the data in my file without breaking the password? In other words, if I have a relatively complicated password, shouldn’t I trust that as being secure? I find it very convenient to copy and paste login information from my spreadsheet. However, if I someday lose my portable backup drive or it’s stolen or if someone breaks into my home when I’m away, then could someone easily see the data in my password protected spreadsheet file? I assume, of course, part of this equation is how sophisticated the potential thief is and how much of a target I am perceived to be?

There’s a part of me that really wants to say that you’re safe.

In general, I’m not a big fan of using spreadsheets for passwords, but I know a lot of people do for saving that kind of information. And with a complex and lengthy password like you’ve said you’re using, in general, it should be safe to use a password-protected spreadsheet in a utility like Open Office, Microsoft Office, or any of a number of other applications that provide password protection for their documents.

want to say that is safe.

Unfortunately, history does not really bear that out too well.

Read moreIs application-provided encryption secure?

Do I need all these Office 2007 updates if I also have Office 2010?


I’m running Windows 7 Home, 64-bit, SP1 on an HP laptop. Originally, I had Office 2007 Professional installed. I subsequently bought and installed a standalone copy of Outlook 2010. Later, I bought and installed a copy of Office Home and Student 2010. I did not uninstall Office 2007 because I wanted to retain the ability to use Publisher 2007. Now, when I run Windows Update, it wants me to install all of the updates for both 2007 and Office 2010. Why would I want to install updates to Word or Excel or PowerPoint or Outlook 2007 or install 2007’s huge SP3? Should I?

Yes, you want to take that update. If you have parts of Office 2007 on your machine and you have Office 2010 on your machine, then you want all of the updates for all of the software that’s installed on your machine. It’s more than just minor improvements and whatnot; it really is all about security.

Read moreDo I need all these Office 2007 updates if I also have Office 2010?

Where is my Outlook “PST” file located?

I need to backup or make a copy of my mail folders in Outlook, which as you know are stored in something called a “PST” file. I’ve looked everywhere and can’t find it. Where does Outlook hide my email? Where does Outlook keep my PST file? 

PST stands for “Personal STore” – as in your personal mail storage. PST files are actually fairly complex databases that contain your mail, your calendar, your contacts, and even more when you use Microsoft Office’s Outlook mail program. (Not to be confused with, the online mail service from Microsoft, which is completely unrelated.)

The default location has changed a time or two over the years. Of course, there’s always a chance that your PST is stored in some other, non-default location.

Rather than telling you where the default location is, let’s use Outlook itself to tell you the exact path of your PST file and then use Windows itself to do the same.

Read moreWhere is my Outlook “PST” file located?

How do I extract and identify the music in a Powerpoint presentation?

I’ve received a PowerPoint presentation with music attached. I’d like to 1) rip the music and be able to save it to a different name and 2) I’d like to be able to identify the artist. My operating system is Windows 7 and this is PowerPoint 2010.

You may not be able to grab the audio out of the PowerPoint file, but I can show you one way to try.

As for identifying the music, there’s an app for that.

Read moreHow do I extract and identify the music in a Powerpoint presentation?

Why Does the Size of My Office File Grow Excessively after I Make Simple Changes?


I received a PowerPoint file that was 6.3 MB in size. Now I didn’t touch anything in the file. The only thing I did was translate to English. Nothing else. When I finished, it was 30 MB. Can you explain that? I’ve got Windows 7 and Office 20007.

There are a number of different things that go on when you save a complex file. And yes, Office documents (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files) are incredibly complex documents in even the simplest of cases. They have a number of settings, options, and even formatting that can impact what these programs save to disk.

There are many things you can do to keep the file size from exploding. Here are a few of my suggestions.

Read moreWhy Does the Size of My Office File Grow Excessively after I Make Simple Changes?

Why Do I Get Odd Characters instead of Quotes in My Documents?


I have noticed for years that certain emails and documents have strange characters where punctuation and other characters should be. An example is this word: yesterday’s Where the characters ’ should clearly be an apostrophe. Why is this happening and what can I do to eliminate this occurring? I suspect that it happens more often when the originating computer system is a mac.

It’s all about character encoding.

And that simple sentence represents a bit of complexity.

Let me cover a few concepts, and throw out a few tips on how it can sometimes be avoided.

Read moreWhy Do I Get Odd Characters instead of Quotes in My Documents?

How Many Machines Can I Install a Single Copy of Microsoft Office On?


I wanted to know if we’re allowed to use a legal copy of Microsoft Word (legally meaning I purchased the disk) on more than one computer. I switched computers and now I need to install it on a different computer than the one I’d been using before. The old computer is still active. Can I re-install on my new computer? Will it recognize and allow me to use the product key?

If you’re moving from one computer to another, the answer is easy. But if you’re adding an installation, the answer isn’t quite as clear.

Read moreHow Many Machines Can I Install a Single Copy of Microsoft Office On?

How Do I Turn Off Automatic Formatting in Microsoft Word?


How do I turn off automatic formatting in Microsoft Word?

Microsoft Word tries to correct common typing mistakes and also tries to guess the kind of formatting you want based on what you’re typing. While both of these activities look like automatic formatting, Word looks at them several different ways. Fortunately the options are gathered together though they’re on a menu item that’s typically hidden.

Read moreHow Do I Turn Off Automatic Formatting in Microsoft Word?