How to Change the Default File Format When Saving in Office

Ben Stegner 01-03-2016

Microsoft Office 2016 brings all sorts of new improvements 13+ Reasons You Should Upgrade to Microsoft Office 2016 Microsoft Office 2016 is here and it's time for you to make a decision. The productivity question is -- should you upgrade? We give you the new features and the fresher reasons to help you... Read More , and you can get it for free if you’re an Office 365 subscriber Upgrade to Office 2016 for Free Today with Your Office 365 Subscription Microsoft Office 2016 for Windows has landed and it brings many smart new features. If you have an Office 365 subscription, you can get it now for free and we show you how below. Read More . Older Office versions still have their fans, though, and so Office allows you to save your files in legacy formats.


If you often share your Office files with people still running Office 2003 You Can Still Buy Microsoft Office 2003 Online & We Show You Where While Office 2016 is being rolled out, some people are still longing for Office 2003 instead. Here's how to get your 2003 fix. Read More or older, or like to save files with macros enabled, you’re probably sick of changing the format your files save in every time. Thankfully, you can change the default file format so you don’t have to manually change the drop-down box; here’s how.

In Word, Excel, or PowerPoint 2016 (this also works on 2007-2013), click File and choose Options. Navigate to the Save tab on the left, and at the top you’ll see the option Save files in this format. In this drop-down box, you can choose from a variety of options.

A macro-enabled document is useful if you need to share complex macros with others in Excel workbooks, for example. However, macros can be maliciously used, so it’s probably not a good idea to save in this format unless you have to.

If you save as a Word 97-03 document, you’ll preserve compatibility with older versions. To make the document generic rich text that any word processor can read, use Rich Text Format. You can even use the old Microsoft Works file format if you still know someone who uses that.


Most people should be fine with the default format, but if you find yourself changing this box a lot, you might as well apply it globally instead of having to fix it every time.

What file format do you save in by default? Did any options in the list surprise you? Let us know below!

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Related topics: File Management, Microsoft Office 2016, Microsoft Office Tips.

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  1. -rob-
    July 12, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    I always save in ODF format, since that is a real (working) standard. Since I had some serious problems with ppt and pptx formats between versions of powerpoint I always have my own portable LibreOffice with me on an USB stick.