Best practices for working with Windows

Which Office program are you using?

Word

Excel

PowerPoint

Outlook

Word

The following table lists best practices for sharing files with people who use Windows.

Best practice

Description

Use Compatibility Report

Compatibility Report checks your Word documents, Excel workbooks, and PowerPoint presentations for compatibility with Windows versions so that you can resolve compatibility issues before you share a file. For more information about how to use Compatibility Report, see Check a document for compatibility.

Use common image formats

Common image formats such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF work in both the Mac and Windows versions of Office. The PNG format provides gamma correction, which makes it ideal for use in both Mac and Windows operating environments.

Avoid using formats that are unique to the Mac operating environment, such as PICT.

Save files in the default XML file format

Office for Mac 2011 and Microsoft Office 2010 share the same default file format, so if you use the default file format settings when you save files, you automatically improve compatibility. For Excel, the default file format is Excel Workbook (.xlsx). For PowerPoint, it is PowerPoint Presentation (.pptx). For Word, it is Word Document (.docx).

Use file extensions when you save files

Including the file name extension — such as .docx for Word documents — makes it easier to work with a file in Windows and enables other people to identify the file's format.

When you save a file for the first time, click the arrow next to the Save As box, and then clear the Hide extension check box.

Avoid certain characters in file names

In file names, avoid using the following characters, which can't be read in a file name on a Windows-based computer: asterisk (*), backslash (\), slash mark (/), colon (:), greater-than sign (>), less-than sign (<), question mark (?), quotation mark ("), and bar (|).

Use common fonts

Use fonts that are available in both the Mac and Windows operating environments. For example, fonts that are available on both the Mac and Windows operating environments include Arial, Verdana, Georgia, and Times New Roman. Using a common font helps ensure that the characters in your documents appear the way that you want in Windows.

Use common movie formats

Avoid using QuickTime movies. Instead, use Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG 2, MPEG 4) or Video for Windows (AVI). For more information about how QuickTime movies appear in Windows, see My QuickTime movie doesn't play in Office for Windows.

Movies that you insert are linked to your document. If you need to open the document on a different computer, remember to copy the movie file when you copy the document. If you don't, the document will have only a picture of the poster frame of the movie.

Avoid linking to pictures and sounds

Instead, embed the pictures and sounds.

Avoid using AppleScript scripts

AppleScript scripts cannot run on the Windows operating system.

Preview your document before you print it

Line breaks, page breaks, and the way that graphic file formats are handled can vary in different operating environments, affecting the appearance of a printed document. Before you print a document, preview it and then, if necessary, refine it so that the printed document looks the way that you want.

Be aware of password length limitations

Passwords in Excel for Mac and Word for Mac have a 15-character limit. You cannot open a workbook or document that has been password protected in the Windows-based version of Excel or Word if the password is longer than fifteen characters. If you want to open the file in Office for Mac, ask the Windows-based author to adjust the password length.

See also

Freely rotated pictures, shapes, text boxes, and WordArt in earlier versions of Office

My characters appear differently in earlier versions of Office

Transparent objects in earlier versions of Office

Excel

The following table lists best practices for sharing files with people who use Windows.

Best practice

Description

Use Compatibility Report

Compatibility Report checks your Word documents, Excel workbooks, and PowerPoint presentations for compatibility with Windows versions so that you can resolve compatibility issues before you share a file. For more information about how to use Compatibility Report, see Check a document for compatibility.

Use common image formats

Common image formats such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF work in both the Mac and Windows versions of Office. The PNG format provides gamma correction, which makes it ideal for use in both Mac and Windows operating environments.

Avoid using formats that are unique to the Mac operating environment, such as PICT.

Save files in the default XML file format

Office for Mac 2011 and Microsoft Office 2010 share the same default file format, so if you use the default file format settings when you save files, you automatically improve compatibility. For Excel, the default file format is Excel Workbook (.xlsx). For PowerPoint, it is PowerPoint Presentation (.pptx). For Word, it is Word Document (.docx).

Use file extensions when you save files

Including the file name extension — such as .docx for Word documents — makes it easier to work with a file in Windows and enables other people to identify the file's format.

When you save a file for the first time, click the arrow next to the Save As box, and then clear the Hide extension check box.

Avoid certain characters in file names

In file names, avoid using the following characters, which can't be read in a file name on a Windows-based computer: asterisk (*), backslash (\), slash mark (/), colon (:), greater-than sign (>), less-than sign (<), question mark (?), quotation mark ("), and bar (|).

Use common fonts

Use fonts that are available in both the Mac and Windows operating environments. For example, fonts that are available on both the Mac and Windows operating environments include Arial, Verdana, Georgia, and Times New Roman. Using a common font helps ensure that the characters in your documents appear the way that you want in Windows.

Use common movie formats

Avoid using QuickTime movies. Instead, use Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG 2, MPEG 4) or Video for Windows (AVI). For more information about how QuickTime movies appear in Windows, see My QuickTime movie doesn't play in Office for Windows.

Movies that you insert are linked to your document. If you need to open the document on a different computer, remember to copy the movie file when you copy the document. If you don't, the document will have only a picture of the poster frame of the movie.

Avoid linking to pictures and sounds

Instead, embed the pictures and sounds.

Avoid using AppleScript scripts

AppleScript scripts cannot run on the Windows operating system.

Preview your document before you print it

Line breaks, page breaks, and the way that graphic file formats are handled can vary in different operating environments, affecting the appearance of a printed document. Before you print a document, preview it and then, if necessary, refine it so that the printed document looks the way that you want.

Be aware of password length limitations

Passwords in Excel for Mac and Word for Mac have a 15-character limit. You cannot open a workbook or document that has been password protected in the Windows-based version of Excel or Word if the password is longer than fifteen characters. If you want to open the file in Office for Mac, ask the Windows-based author to adjust the password length.

See also

Freely rotated pictures, shapes, text boxes, and WordArt in earlier versions of Office

My characters appear differently in earlier versions of Office

Transparent objects in earlier versions of Office

PowerPoint

The following table lists best practices for sharing files with people who use Windows.

Best practice

Description

Use Compatibility Report

Compatibility Report checks your Word documents, Excel workbooks, and PowerPoint presentations for compatibility with Windows versions so that you can resolve compatibility issues before you share a file. For more information about how to use Compatibility Report, see Check a document for compatibility.

Use common image formats

Common image formats such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF work in both the Mac and Windows versions of Office. The PNG format provides gamma correction, which makes it ideal for use in both Mac and Windows operating environments.

Avoid using formats that are unique to the Mac operating environment, such as PICT.

Save files in the default XML file format

Office for Mac 2011 and Microsoft Office 2010 share the same default file format, so if you use the default file format settings when you save files, you automatically improve compatibility. For Excel, the default file format is Excel Workbook (.xlsx). For PowerPoint, it is PowerPoint Presentation (.pptx). For Word, it is Word Document (.docx).

Use file extensions when you save files

Including the file name extension — such as .docx for Word documents — makes it easier to work with a file in Windows and enables other people to identify the file's format.

When you save a file for the first time, click the arrow next to the Save As box, and then clear the Hide extension check box.

Avoid certain characters in file names

In file names, avoid using the following characters, which can't be read in a file name on a Windows-based computer: asterisk (*), backslash (\), slash mark (/), colon (:), greater-than sign (>), less-than sign (<), question mark (?), quotation mark ("), and bar (|).

Use common fonts

Use fonts that are available in both the Mac and Windows operating environments. For example, fonts that are available on both the Mac and Windows operating environments include Arial, Verdana, Georgia, and Times New Roman. Using a common font helps ensure that the characters in your documents appear the way that you want in Windows. For more information, see My fonts have changed

Use common movie formats

Avoid using QuickTime movies. Instead, use Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG 2, MPEG 4) or Video for Windows (AVI). For more information about how QuickTime movies appear in Windows, see My QuickTime movie doesn't play in Office for Windows.

Avoid linking to pictures and sounds

Instead, embed the pictures and sounds.

Avoid using AppleScript scripts

AppleScript scripts cannot run on the Windows operating system.

Preview your document before you print it

Line breaks, page breaks, and the way that graphic file formats are handled can vary in different operating environments, affecting the appearance of a printed document. Before you print a document, preview it and then, if necessary, refine it so that the printed document looks the way that you want.

See also

Freely rotated pictures, shapes, text boxes, and WordArt in earlier versions of Office

My characters appear differently in earlier versions of Office

Transparent objects in earlier versions of Office

Outlook

The following table lists best practices for sharing files with people who use Windows.

Best practice

Descriptio n

Use Compatibility Report

Compatibility Report checks your Word documents, Excel workbooks, and PowerPoint presentations for compatibility with Windows versions so that you can resolve compatibility issues before you share a file.

Use common image formats

Common image formats such as JPEG, PNG, and GIF work in both the Mac and Windows versions of Office. The PNG format provides gamma correction, which makes it ideal for use in both Mac and Windows operating environments.

Avoid using formats that are unique to the Mac operating environment, such as PICT.

Save files in the default XML file format

Office for Mac 2011 and Microsoft Office 2010 share the same default file format, so if you use the default file format settings when you save files, you automatically improve compatibility. For Excel, the default file format is Excel Workbook (.xlsx). For PowerPoint, it is PowerPoint Presentation (.pptx). For Word, it is Word Document (.docx).

Use file extensions when you save files

Including the file name extension — such as .docx for Word documents — makes it easier to work with a file in Windows and enables other people to identify the file's format.

When you save a file for the first time, click the arrow next to the Save As box, and then clear the Hide extension check box.

Avoid certain characters in file names

In file names, avoid using the following characters, which can't be read in a file name on a Windows-based computer: asterisk (*), backslash (\), slash mark (/), colon (:), greater-than sign (>), less-than sign (<), question mark (?), quotation mark ("), and bar (|).

Use common fonts

Use fonts that are available in both the Mac and Windows operating environments. For example, fonts that are available on both the Mac and Windows operating environments include Arial, Verdana, Georgia, and Times New Roman. Using a common font helps ensure that the characters in your documents appear the way that you want in Windows.

Use common movie formats

Avoid using QuickTime movies. Instead, use Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG 2, MPEG 4) or Video for Windows (AVI). For more information about how QuickTime movies appear in Windows, see My QuickTime movie doesn't play in Office for Windows.

Avoid using AppleScript scripts

AppleScript scripts cannot run on the Windows operating system.

Preview your document before you print it

Line breaks, page breaks, and the way that graphic file formats are handled can vary in different operating environments, affecting the appearance of a printed document. Before you print a document, preview it and then, if necessary, refine it so that the printed document looks the way that you want.

See also

My characters appear differently in earlier versions of Office

Applies To: Word for Mac 2011



Was this information helpful?

Yes No

How can we improve it?

255 characters remaining

To protect your privacy, please do not include contact information in your feedback. Review our privacy policy.

Thank you for your feedback!

Support resources

Change language