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Determining the best migration strategy

Office 2007

Updated: November 16, 2006

Applies To: Office Resource Kit

 

Topic Last Modified: 2008-08-11

The timing and method of your migration to the new XML file formats in the 2007 Microsoft Office system depends on the following factors:

  • When do you expect to deploy the 2007 Office system, and how long will it take to deploy the 2007 Office system to all users and all departments? If you need a rapid deployment, consider a single rollout. For more information, see Single rollout in this topic. If you plan to deploy the 2007 Office system over a long period of time, consider a phased rollout, so that you can plan your hardware, software, support, and training resources evenly over the time that the deployment takes. For more information, see Phased rollout in this topic.

  • Do you plan to have long-term coexistence between the 2007 Office system and previous versions of Office, and how much collaboration do you expect to occur between different departments that continue to use previous versions of Office? If your organization requires long-term coexistence, or if you expect long-term collaboration on Office documents for users of the 2007 Office system and previous versions of Office, see Phased rollout in this topic.

  • How many active Office documents are in use in your organization? If you have many files that require conversion or modification before they can be used with the 2007 Office system (for example, a custom Excel solution might require some changes before users can use it reliably with Microsoft Office Excel 2007), it might be a good idea to plan your deployment in stages. For more information, see Phased rollout in this topic.

If you have many files and need to assess the impact of migrating them, you can use the Office Migration Planning Manager (OMPM). You can also use OMPM to convert files in bulk, if you determine that this method is best for your environment. For more information, see Assessing your environment for the 2007 Office system.

If you expect long-term coexistence, where users need to collaborate on documents by using different versions of Office, plan on using Group Policy settings and educating your users about compatibility mode and compatibility checker. For more information, see Compatibility mode in the 2007 Office system.

There are two recommended methods for preparing your organization to use the new file format:

  • Single rollout

  • Phased rollout

In addition, some organizations might prefer to roll out the 2007 Office system on an as-needed basis, as new computers are added to the environment.

A single rollout is recommended, if possible. If you distribute the 2007 Office system to all users at the same time, there are no special considerations for when users can start creating and using files with the new XML file formats. If your organization shares files with external users who are using previous versions of Office, you can either continue using the older file formats in the 2007 Office system or recommend that external customers apply the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats, available at Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink?LinkID=77512).

If you perform a single rollout, documents generated after installation of the 2007 Office system will be in the new file format unless you use a Group Policy setting to specify using earlier file formats.

If you plan a rapid deployment, and not all of your users are ready to migrate their files or applications to the new file formats, you might want to set default File Save options to the file formats in Office 2003 until all users are ready to use the new file formats. If you want your users to begin using the new file formats right away, you might consider converting their Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files with the Office File Converter that is available with the Office Migration Planning Manager. For more information, see Migrate Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files to the 2007 Office system.

A phased rollout is the next best option. If the 2007 Office system will be installed on a significant number of clients or will be phased into various departments, the key date that determines when you should install the 2007 Office system is linked to when you want to adopt the new file formats. To avoid this installation limitation, you can use Group Policy to decouple the deployment of the 2007 Office system from the enabling of the new file formats.

If you are using a phased rollout, you need to determine:

  • When your organization wants to begin using the new file formats.

  • Whether users are willing to work in a mixed environment, with more than one version of Office in use.

If users are willing to work in a mixed environment of old and new file formats, you need to make sure that everyone who is using previous versions of Office has the appropriate updates and converters, available at Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink?LinkID=77512).

If users are unwilling to work in a mixed environment, and your organization is targeting a specific date when all users must convert to the new file formats, use Group Policy to set the default file format as the binary format used in previous versions of Office. This allows you to set default file types created by users but does not block users from creating 2007 files with the new file formats. After the 2007 Office system is installed, and when you are ready to enable the new file format across the entire company, change the Group Policy setting to enable the new file formats as the default file types. This allows you to avoid updating and applying converters to computers running previous versions of Office. This can lower costs and allow continued collaboration throughout the deployment cycle. It is recommended, however, that you notify all users that they should not use the new file formats until instructed to do so.

You can use the Office Migration Planning Manager to identify users' files and to determine issues that might arise during conversion. For more information, see Assessing your environment for the 2007 Office system. You can also convert Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files in bulk with the Office File Converter that is available with the Office Migration Planning Manager. For more information, see Migrate Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files to the 2007 Office system.

An as-needed rollout is not recommended but might be necessary in some environments. For example, an organization might deploy the 2007 Office system on an as-needed basis when it cannot plan for a major upgrade but is willing to purchase replacement computers that are pre-installed with the 2007 Office system. This approach is difficult to control, especially in an environment that does not have Active Directory directory service, which is required in order to set default options for saving files via Group Policy.

This topic is included in the following downloadable book for easier reading and printing:

See the full list of available books at Office Resource Kit information.

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