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I'm using Microsoft Office 2003. I have installed 'Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, Powerpoint 2007' to support new xml based formats (.docx, .xlsx, .pptx).

Now given that I have installed Compatibility pack, can I create or open a Microsoft Excel 2007 file (.xlsx) having more than 256 columns in Excel 2003? If no, then how can I achieve the same.

My observation: When I open a .xlsx file in Excel 2003 with compatibility, I can't see more than 256 columns (till Column IV).

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migrated from Nov 27 '12 at 9:27

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Why are you using a version that is three versions behind? – SLaks Nov 27 '12 at 4:24
@SLaks: Well, not me but client does. You know the licensing issues. We are forced to because the data being generated from the .NET code has more than 256 columns & the client has Office 2003 installed. So I'm looking for a workaround. – Viral Jain Nov 27 '12 at 4:29

You can't do that.
Excel 2003 does not support >256 columns.

The compatibility pack adds support for new file formats, but does not add new features to Office.

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No prob with down vote. But not even with Excel 2007 compatibility pack installed? Atleast, the official Microsoft page doesn't mention any such restriction. – Viral Jain Nov 27 '12 at 4:25
Atleast you gave your opinion, thanks!!! Can you suggest any alternatives. – Viral Jain Nov 27 '12 at 4:44
I see 3 solutions: (1) Upgrade Office (2) Use an alternative such as OpenOffice (3) Reduce the number of columns by using multiple sheets instead. – Craig Nov 27 '12 at 5:17
@CraigT: Thanks... but sadly none of them holds. I'll work with another alternative then. :) – Viral Jain Nov 27 '12 at 5:31
Once, a while ago, when faced with a similar issue, I flipped columns and rows, since at that point my rows << columns.. – Karthik T Nov 27 '12 at 9:41

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