Planning a Microsoft Office Upgrade
When planning a Microsoft Office upgrade to the latest version, consider the following factors that will affect the upgrade of existing files:
Compatibility Mode - Running Office in compatibility mode introduces several challenges.
- Some compatibility issues are different and/or unique in compatibility mode.
- Most new functionality is not available in compatibility mode.
Links - Require repair when the file conversion occurs. The method of deployment has major implications on when and how the links are repaired. The file extensions used by Microsoft Office are different than previous versions. This means that when Microsoft Office files are upgraded to the latest version, file links will be broken due to the fact that the file name has been changed by the new file extension.
Deployment Window - There is a large amount of processing required to remediate files and to repair links. Significant planning and benchmarking needs to be done to ensure enough resources are applied to complete the process in the deployment window. Disk space, additional backups, network utilization and fallback plans need to be considered. Significant planning should be undertaken to reduce the scope of the project by reviewing file aging and duplicate file characteristics of the environment.
Help Desk Window - The amount of change the organization undergoes correlates to the amount of Help Desk activity that follows. Spreading out the change over time helps to assure the Help Desk can provide a high level of service.
Training - Training needs to be done to assure the users are able to use the new Microsoft Office features. This training needs to be delivered close to the time of deployment and therefore the deployment plan needs to assure enough training resources are available.
Add-ins - All add-ins must be reviewed for compatibility with Microsoft Office. If Office is upgraded, many add-ins will be brought along. If Office is installed rather than upgraded, add-ins that were contained in Office (rather than in the registry) will be lost.
Access Executable files (.MDE) - All files with .MDE extensions are incompatible with Microsoft Office and will need to be dealt with by locating the source code and converting to ACCDE. ACCDE is the file extension for Office Access files that are in "execute only" mode. ACCDE files have all Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) source code removed. A user of an ACCDE file can only execute VBA code, not modify it.
Project References - that are included with applications must remain available to the application. Factors that will affect the availability of these references are:
- Microsoft Office install or upgrade
- Operating system upgrades as part of the deployment
- Hardware refresh as part of the deployment
Security - Office utilizes the Trust Center for document security and macro security. The Trust Center settings must be considered as part of a deployment. Access security has additional considerations. Prior to Office 2007, Workgroup Security (.MDW) was available to secure Access applications. Newer versions of Microsoft Office (native mode) does not support Workgroup security and therefore a security model must be planned and implemented as part of the deployment.
Secured Files - Files that are secured in any way will require the password to remediate. This password gathering exercise should be part of the deployment plan.
Data Access Pages – MS Access does not allow data access pages to be created, modified or imported. Microsoft recommends replacing data access page functionality with SharePoint Services, collecting data via email (such as surveys) or leaving MS Access applications containing data access pages in the existing version of Access.
Outlook - Files attached to Outlook messages will not be remediated and need to be addressed in the planning process.
Word Versions - In Microosft Office 2003 and earlier, Word had a facility to store multiple versions of a document within one file. Starting with Office 2007, Word no longer supports this feature.
Access table links to Excel – In Microsoft Office 2003 SP2 the Access table links to Excel spreadsheets changed. Installation of this patch on prevents users from changing, adding, or deleting data in previously existing Access table links to Excel spreadsheets although this was possible prior to SP2. This “read only” functionality applies Office versions including:
- Office 2007
- Office2003 with SP2 or later
- Office 2002 with updates of October 18, 2005 or later
Users currently running earlier versions of Office and upgrade to the most current version of Microsoft Office are affected by this change. Users running Office 2003 SP1 and install SP2 or SP3 are affected.
Older version Office files may require 2 step approach with an initial upgrade to Office 2003 and then to Office 2010.