I'm currently using a library named http://www.codeplex.com/ExcelPackage>ExcelPackage to generate a large number of Excel files.

Unfortunately it saves in an xlsx format, the Excel 2007 OOXML format. I need it in the earlier 2003 .xls format, for my clients who tend to be somewhat technophobic when it comes to upgrading software. This basically means I can't make the end users use any sort of compatibility software like the official MS one. I can only convert the file, or use a completely different option, but it must result in a Excel 2003 readable file.

Is there any way I can either use another library to write it in the appropriate format, or find a library that will allow me to write autoshapes and the like directly into a 2003 format file? Using CarlosAg's http://www.carlosag.net/Tools/ExcelXmlWriter/>ExcelXML method does not allow me to easily insert images.

In the end, I used http://www.nika-soft.com/nativeexcel2/ to power the conversion to the earlier version. This library, while not free, was very simple to use and worked precisely as advertised.

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  • Unrelated to your question: I love your icon. <3 Sinfest. – Paul Fisher Nov 25 '08 at 6:50
  • Your point about why the end user can't use the MS compatibilty pack doesn't really make sense. It works fine, requires zero effect/effort to use on their part and no training. Surely this is ideal for a "technophobic" type user? – Anonymous Type Jun 21 '10 at 2:12
  • As a clarification, the end users were teachers, and anyone who has worked IT in the education system can probably agree to the glacial movement of any upgrades in that environment =) Unfortunately, telling them "You must install <X> to work" wasn't an option available to us. – Wobin Jun 30 '10 at 1:20

Can you get them to install this ?

Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats

This will let Office 2003 users open the newer file formats resulting from Office 2007. Works for the few documents I have tried.. before upgrading to 2007 :)

  • good call. this is all the 2003 users need. and it works fine with network and sharepoint resources. – Anonymous Type Jun 21 '10 at 2:11

One option (if you have Excel 2007) is to do a "Save As..." and tell Excel to save it in the 2003 format. This is probably the simplest route.

If you have a large number of files to convert (and it sounds like you do), then you may want to consider creating a script that makes use of Excel's automation features. Then you can run the script to convert each file to the appropriate format.

  • nice idea +1.. as long as nothing gets lost during the 'Save As' process.. (e.g. ref something that is new in 2007) – Gishu Nov 26 '08 at 4:50

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