Soon students will be coming to campus with their new computers loaded with Windows Vista and Office 2007. When to upgrade on a college campus is always an interesting question.
Office 2007 saves documents in the open standard XML format (e.g. Word files will have a .docx extension rather than .doc). Office 2003 applications will not be able to open Office 2007 files unless the Save As feature was used to save them in the older format.
Our IT department did a test and discovered that Office 2003 and Office 2007 can coexist (except for Outlook) on the same computer. It may be helpful in labs and classroom computers to provide both versions for a while.
Here is good news for folks who will not be upgrading to Office 2007 for a while -- there is a free "Application Compatibility Pack" from Microsoft that will enable Office 2003 applications to read Office 2007 files. This will be important for professors who begin to get Word documents from students in the .docx format.