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Outlook 2013 spurns your old Word and Excel documents

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Microsoft is cutting support for exporting and importing legacy Office documents in the latest version of its Outlook email client.

Outlook 2013 won’t let you import or export data to or from .doc or .xls files for Word 1997 to 2003 and Excel versions 1997 to 2003, the company has revealed in a blog.

Also getting canned are ACT! Contact manager files and Outlook Express archives. Comma-separated-value (.csv) files as well as .PST files are still supported.

Microsoft's Outlook program manager, Justin Mahood, wrote: “As we love adding new features to Outlook, for the maintainability of our product we sometimes need to remove those that are out of date and aren't utilized by a large number of users. This allows us to focus on improving the Outlook features that most of you, our customers, rely on.”

You can read the full list of discontinued features in Outlook 2013 here.

Microsoft completed Office 2013 in October and the code is available to subscribers on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN), but the software doesn’t hit general release until early next year.

The news will be a blow to users with hard drives and servers full of Word docs and Excel spreadsheets written using these file formats; the rollout of Office 1997, for example, was one of the last big upgrade waves.

Outlook is one of the Office family’s key products, so the fact Microsoft has cut access to this app for so many documents and spreadsheets will likely force users to move to Office 2007 if not Office 2013, once it ships. ®

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