Use PowerShell to convert old Office files into new formats
Move files into SharePoint 2
A SharePoint tutorial by Peter Kalmstrom
Kalmstrom, CEO of kalmstrom.com Business Solutions and Microsoft certified
SharePoint specialist, has in an assignment prepared a move of millions of
Office files into SharePoint.
In that process he also converted old files to the modern, XML based file
formats with the help of a PowerShell script, something that is shown in the
Modern file formats
Office 2007 Microsoft introduced new file formats with an x or m addition
to the suffix. These formats are based on Open XML, which have now become
a standard. Such modern file formats are .docx, .xlsx and .pptx.
These are some benefits of the modern file formats:
- They save space, as they are automatically compressed with a .zip technique.
- They are more secure as files with the x suffix don't allow macros.
- They separate different data components from each other, so that files
can be opened even if a component - for exampel a chart - is damaged.
- As they all build on Open XML you can unlock information in existing
systems and use it in Office programs, and information created in Office
can be used by other business applications.
Links will be broken
There is also an important drawback to consider, as always when you convert
files to other formats: links with the old file extensions will not work when
the suffix has been changed.
The actual conversion can be made manually, by saving each file in the new
format or with the
Microsoft Migration Manager.
Peter shows a third way, a PowerShell script that opens the files and saves
them as new files in a modern format. In the demo below he explains the script
and shows how it works.
The PowerShell script gives Peter a better control over the process than the
Microsoft tool does, and it has the advantage of keeping the change dates
of the original files. That way you can see when the file with the old extension
was changed even though you have converted it.
Before you start converting old Office files there are some things you should
- Office language packs must be installed.
- The save format must be set to the new one for each Office program.
- The folder in which you are converting files must be added to the trusted
- You must disable protected view on the files you will convert.