Microsoft Office 2003

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Microsoft Office 2003
Office2003 screenshot.PNG
Clockwise from top-right: Word, Publisher, PowerPoint, Excel, on Windows 10.
Developer(s) Microsoft
Initial release August 19, 2003; 13 years ago (2003-08-19)
Last release
Service Pack 3 (11.0.8173.0)[1] / September 18, 2007; 9 years ago (2007-09-18)
Development status Discontinued
Operating system Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008[2]
Platform Microsoft Windows
Type Office suite
License Trialware and software as a service (Microsoft Software Assurance)

Microsoft Office 2003 is an office suite written and distributed by Microsoft for their Windows operating system. Released to manufacturing on August 19, 2003[3] and launched on October 21, 2003,[4] it was the successor to Office XP and the predecessor to Office 2007. It is the final version of Office to have the "97-2003" file format as default across all applications, as well as being the final version to include the toolbar and menu interfaces across the core applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and parts of Outlook). A compatibility pack was released for Office 2003 for new OOXML formats in 2007.[5]

A new Office logo was debuted as part of a rebranding effort by Microsoft,[6] as well as two new applications: InfoPath and OneNote. OneNote is a note-taking and organizing application for text, handwritten notes or diagrams, recorded audio and graphics, and InfoPath is an application for designing, distributing, filling and submitting electronic forms containing structured data. Office 2003 was the first version to use Windows XP style icons, visual styles and colors. However, Office 2003 could automatically match colors of Windows XP themes.

Office 2003 runs only on NT-based versions of Windows; it is not supported on Windows 98, Windows ME, or Windows NT 4.0. It is the last version of Office compatible with Windows 2000, as Office 2007 requires Windows XP or newer. It is listed as being "Not Compatible" with Windows 8 by the Microsoft Windows 8 Compatibility Center, although most users have claimed it is compatible.[7]

Service Pack 1 for Office 2003 was released on July 27, 2004, Service Pack 2 was released on September 27, 2005, and Service Pack 3 was released on September 17, 2007. The last cumulative update for Office 2003, Service Pack 3 resolved several compatibility and stability issues with Windows Vista and later operating systems, and is a roll-up release that contains Service Packs 1 and 2 along with other updates previously released under Windows Update.[8] Mainstream support for Office 2003 ended April 14, 2009, and extended support ended on April 8, 2014, the same time as Windows XP.[9]

New features[edit]

The core applications, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access, had only minor improvements from Office XP. Outlook 2003 received improved functionality in many areas, including better email and calendar sharing and information display, complete Unicode support, search folders, colored flags, Kerberos authentication, RPC over HTTP, and Cached Exchange mode. Another key benefit of Outlook 2003 was the improved junk mail filter. Tablet and pen support was introduced in the productivity applications. Word 2003 introduced a reading layout view, document comparison, better change-tracking and annotation/reviewing, a Research Task Pane, voice comments and an XML-based format among other features. Excel 2003 introduced list commands, some statistical functions and XML data import, analysis and transformation/document customization features. Access 2003 introduced a backup command, the ability to view object dependencies, error checking in forms and reports among other features.

Office 2003 features improvements to smart tags such as smart tag Lists, which are defined in XML, by using regular expressions and an extended type library.[10] Smart tag recognition was added to PowerPoint and Access. FrontPage 2003 introduced conditional formatting, Find and Replace for HTML elements, new tools for creating and formatting tables and cells, dynamic templates (Dreamweaver), Flash support, WebDAV and SharePoint publishing among other features. Publisher 2003 introduced a Generic Color PostScript printer driver for commercial printing.[11] Information Rights Management capabilities were introduced in document productivity applications to limit access to a set of users and/or restrict types of actions that users could perform. Support for managed code add-ins as VSTO solutions was introduced.

Office 2003 was the last version of Microsoft Office to include fully customizable toolbars and menus for all of its applications, the Office Assistant, the ability to slipstream service packs into the original setup files, Office Web Components, and the Save My Settings Wizard, which allowed users to choose whether to keep a locally cached copy of installation source files and several utility resource kit tools. It was also the last Office version to support Windows 2000. A new picture organizer with basic editing features, called Microsoft Office Picture Manager, was included.

Only basic clipart and templates were included on the disc media, with most content hosted online and downloadable from within the Office application. Microsoft advertised Office Online as a major Office 2003 feature "outside the box".[12] Office Online provides how-to articles, tips, training courses, templates, clip art, stock photos and media and downloads (including Microsoft and third-party extensibility add-ins for Microsoft Office programs).

Office 2003 features broad XML integration (designing customized XML schemas, importing and transforming XML data) throughout resulting in a far more data-centric model (instead of a document-based one). The MSXML 5 library was introduced specifically for Office's XML integration. Office 2003 also has SharePoint integration to facilitate data exchange, collaborated workflow, and publishing. InfoPath 2003 was introduced for collecting data in XML-based forms and templates based on information from databases.

Removed features[edit]

  • Design Time Controls are no longer supported in FrontPage 2003.[13]
  • The Access 2.0 database conversion utility is removed from the installation CD and the Client Server Visual Design Tools for Access are no longer included.[13]
  • A large number of converters and filters are no longer available on the installation CD. Several international font options are also removed.[13]
  • Genigraphics Wizard support and Presentation Broadcasting were removed in PowerPoint 2003. A download for the latter was made available by Microsoft.[13]
  • Microsoft Draw Converter and Organization Chart Converter are no longer available.[13]
  • The Web Pages wizard is no longer available in Word 2003.[13]
  • In Word 2003, the Comments option on the View menu as well as the button on the Comment pane to close the pane were removed.[13]
  • Microsoft Photo Editor was removed, including many features not available in its replacement.[14]
  • Due to the deprecation of WinHelp, context-sensitive help was removed in Office 2003.[15]
  • Microsoft Office Shortcut Bar was removed.[16]



There are five editions of Microsoft Office 2003: Basic, Student and Teacher, Standard, Small Business, and Professional editions. The Basic edition was only available to original equipment manufacturers. The Student and Teacher edition was sold through academic channels at a reduced price.

Application Office
Student and
Teacher Edition
Standard Small Business Professional Edition
Word Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Excel Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Outlook Yes Yes Yes Yes
with Business Contact Manager[17]
with Business Contact Manager[17]
PowerPoint No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Publisher No No No Yes Yes
Access No No No No Yes
InfoPath No No No No Volume edition only
OneNote No No No No No
FrontPage No No No No No
Visio No No No No No
Project No No No No No

All Microsoft Office 2003 products were available as standalone products.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "How to check the version of Office 2003 products". Microsoft. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  2. ^ "List of system requirements for Microsoft Office 2003". Microsoft. 
  3. ^ "Core Microsoft Office System Products Are Complete, Released to Manufacturers". Microsoft. Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  4. ^ "Steve Ballmer Speech Transcript - Microsoft Office System Launch". Microsoft. 2003-10-21. Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  5. ^ "Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint File Formats". Retrieved March 30, 2016. 
  6. ^ Wilcox, Joe (March 9, 2003). "Microsoft rebrands Office for enterprises". CNET. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Microsoft Office 2003 Professional". Windows 8 Compatibility Center. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Microsoft Support Lifecycle". Microsoft. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  10. ^ Jurden, Dan (January 8, 2004). "Using Smart Tags in Office 2003". DevX. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Install the Generic Color PS for Commercial Printing printer driver". Microsoft. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  12. ^ "The newest feature of Office isn't in the box-it's on the Web - Help and How-to - Microsoft Office Online". Microsoft. Archived from the original on May 23, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g "Differences between Office XP and Office 2003". 2007-08-13. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  14. ^ "List of Photo Editor features that are not available in Picture Manager". Retrieved March 30, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Deprecating WinHelp". Assistance Platform Team Blog. May 20, 2005. Archived from the original on June 16, 2009. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  16. ^ "Office Shortcut Bar is not included in Office". 2007-05-07. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  17. ^ a b "Install Business Contact Manager for Outlook 2003". Microsoft. Retrieved December 13, 2012.