Still putting off making the switch from Office 2003 to 2007 or 2010? If so, you’re not alone. Many offices around the world, facing additional training costs, have simply stayed put with Office 2003. And many veteran 2003 users, not liking the new ribbon bar in 2007 and 2010, have said no as well.

But sooner or later, if you want to remain current with the world’s most widely used office suite, you’ll have to make the switch. When you do, you’ll face struggles with the new interface and the new file formats. Here’s how to handle both with a minimum of hassle.

Q: I have tried to get used to the ribbon bar in Word 2007, but I still get lost. Is there some kind of reference that maps Word 2003 features to Word 2007?

A: Microsoft has no doubt heard plenty of complaints like yours, especially since the company provided no way for users to return to the menu interface even of Office 2003 if they want to. So the company spent some time putting together a handy “interactive guide” (http://bit.ly/96mjd3) to Word 2007 (and 2010) commands.

The guide is actually an virtual representation of the familiar Word 2003 interface, running inside of your browser. Just use the fake interface to select a command from the menus, and the guide will show you exactly how to find the same command in Word 2007 — and, for the most part, Word 2010.

Another way you can pull up a quick reference to 2003 commands is by opening the Help menu (F1) in an Office 2007/2010 application and typing “2003 commands” in the search box.

Q: The new docx format is driving us crazy. It’s not that we can’t save documents in the new format, but sometimes we accidentally save older doc files as docx, and then the original creator of the doc files cannot read our updates. Is there a way just to revert to doc?

A: You can tell Office 2007 and 2010 to save files in the old 2003 formats by default. To do so, open an Office application like Word, and click the Office/File button in the top left-hand corner. From the resulting menu, click the Word Options button.

In the Options panel, click Save in the left-hand pane, and then from the list of options in the right—hand pane, find the drop-down list box labelled “Save files in this format.” From the options available, choose “Word 97-2003 Document (*.doc), and then click OK.

From that point on, your office application (in this case, Word) will save files in the older format.

Instead of doing this, however, it may be wiser for you to direct those still using the older doc format to download and install the Office Compatibility Pack (http://bit.ly/9W6DDb) for Office 2003.

With that installed, the older applications will not balk at the newer formats.

Q: We have a lot of files in Office 2003 formats and want to convert them all to the newer format at one time. Is there some kind of bulk conversion utility available?

A: Yes. Microsoft created a migration kit that includes a utility that will convert many older Office 2003 documents at once. The tool was created for technology administrators, but anyone can download and use it.

To get started, download and install the Office compatibility pack (http://bit.ly/9hsyAQ) from Microsoft. Once that is installed, download and install Microsoft’s Migration Planning Manager (http://bit.ly/hQPnfo). You will need to create a folder for the installation of the latter program.

Once the Migration Planning Manager has been installed, go to the Tools subfolder under the folder in which you installed Migration Planning Manager. Locate the “ofc.ini” file, and open it with a text editor such as Notepad. Once the file is up on your screen, locate the [FoldersToConvert] section, and remove the semicolon before the line that reads “fldr=C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\My Documents.” Removing the semicolon makes that line active. Before you save the file, however, delete everything after “fldr=” and insert the drive and folder where you keep the documents you want to convert. For example, if you copy the documents you wish to convert to c:\convert, then you should type c:\convert after the “fldr=” prefix. The entire line should look like this: fldr=c:\convert.

Once you’ve done that, save the file. Then, from the same folder in which ofc.ini is stored, double—click the file ofc.exe. If you completed the ofc.ini file correctly, you should see “converted” status messages from the ofc.exe program as it converts your files.

Once the conversion is finished, you will find your converted files in a “Converted” subfolder under the folder in which the original (Office 2003) files were stored.