In about 4-6 weeks, Microsoft will release a final file format converter which will allow Office 2004 for Mac users to read & write Office Open XML files. For example a customer would open a Word document sent from an Office 2008 for Mac user, and Word would do the conversion in the background. There are no extra steps. All existing features that will be in Office 2008 for Mac will be converted with no loss. New features in Office 2008 not available in Office 2004 will undergo some type of mapping into the old format. These features include equations, themes (font, colour and effects), OfficeArt, charts and diagrams.
The Mac BU will offer the only free, suite-wide converter tool available for users to access Word, Excel and PowerPoint Office Open XML files. In addition, our converter will offer both individual and batch file conversion.
The final Office 2004 converter will be a fully integrated solution that allows customers to both read and write Office Open XML files directly from within Office applications. Mac BU will also provide a converter for Office v.X, which will be a standalone drag & drop converter.
Mac BU are offering the converter so Office 2008 for Mac customers are able to share their documents with older Office customers & that Office 2004 for Mac & v.X users are able to read the new file formats.
Mac BU has always been open about this final converter when we released the Beta File Format Converters mid year we mentioned that final converters would be available post Office 2008 for Mac launch.