Outlook 2013 drops .XLS and .DOC from import, export features

By on December 21, 2012, 1:30 PM

On its Office blog, Microsoft announced several aging features to be whacked by the deprecation hammer in Outlook 2013. Amongst these imminent changes is the elimination of importing (and exporting) legacy Microsoft Office formats, namely 97-2003 .XLS and .DOC files.

It's unknown if other areas of Office 2013 (e.g. Excel and Word) could adopt a similar distaste for legacy file types, but any decision of that magnitude seems highly improbable. Rather, I suspect this aging-format abrogation will remain isolated to the infrequently used Outlook import and export features.

"As much as we love adding new features to Outlook, for the maintainability of our product we sometimes need to remove those that are out of date and aren't utilized by a large number of users." the blog post's author wrote.

Outlook's ability to import files like .XLS and .DOC is mostly used for importing contact information -- a rather specific feature which presumably still works with newer .XLSX and .DOCX formats. Although the blog post doesn't say specifically, it may be reasonable to assume that "Mail Merging" will also be affected.

Also disappearing in Outlook 2013 is its "Classic Offline Mode", which has been replaced with "Cached Exchange Mode". This likely explains why "Deliver to PST" has been usurped by its cache-friendly, OST-based alternative.

Gone too will be the "Journal" feature, Windows Explorer-Outlook search integration and Outlook's independent VPN / Dial-up Settings. Users who utilize VPN or Dial-up connections are now being directed to set those options system wide via the Windows Control Panel (Windows Key + R > control > Internet Options > Connections). Meanwhile, users looking to search for items in Outlook 2013 will need to stick to the client's built-in search or third-party utilities.

PubCal, which offers the ability to publicly share calendars on Office.com, is also being discontinued for all Outlook clients. Microsoft says it will post more details in the future about moving away from PubCal, including instructions which will allow users to achieve the same set of features via Outlook.com.

User Comments: 15

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treeski treeski said:

Good riddance!

MrBungle said:

This could be an issue for businesses who have a large archive of thousands of old documents and reports that are in the non xml format.

Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

Haha, I laughed: "Gone too will be the Windows Explorer-Outlook search integration"

^^This future I use many times per day at work. It's great being able to simply press the Windows key to bring up the start-menu and then perform a search for a customers part program.

I will then get both a listing of files in the filesystem referencing this and also mails where this part was discussed with the customer or machine developer in case of problems, all in the same window.

"Progress" & "improvements" they call it I hear...


Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Wait a minute, Outlook has been using OST cache files since at least 2003? how is that a new thing?

Also I'm pretty sure the search still works in explorer? I'll try it at work on Monday and find out

1 person liked this |
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

@Burty117 Well here is an even more legimitate source than Microsofts own blog, Technet: [link]

Title: Outlook Search through Windows Shell

Scope: Office and Windows

Type of Change: Removing the feature

Description: In Office 2013, Outlook items do not display in Windows Shell searches (for example, searches from the Start Menu or by using Win+F). Perform Office searches within Office 2013.

Reason for Change: N/A

Benefits: N/A

Replacement: Search Office items within the Office application.

Additional Information: N/A

I just love the "Reason for Change" & "Benefits" sections, reminds me of Metro running on a machine with no touch interface

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

This could be an issue for businesses who have a large archive of thousands of old documents and reports that are in the non xml format.

You can still convert using other office applications such as Word into a more modern format.

psycros psycros said:

Microsoft is doing a bang-up job of becoming less important in both personal and corporate computing environments. I'd say their on track for near-total irrelevance by 2016.

veLa veLa said:

I still save all of my Word documents as rtf's just for backward compatibilities sake.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

They are just dropping some strange import/export things specifically to Outlook. I got the impression this was a somewhat exotic way to do things and that Outlook likely has a default that is not xls or doc.

I'm sure you'll be able to open .doc and .xls files in the new Word and Excel versions. If they do drop that, I'm sure they will make available a free add on to add that compatibility, like they did with opening .docx and .xlsx with Office 2003.

jonjonjon said:

Good I hate the email search from explorer. I always have to go disable office in the indexing options. if I wanted to search for an email I would search in outlook. why would I search from explorer?

distantreality said:

Just rename the company Lazysoft and get it done and over with already

Guest said:

The only real advantage to using Outlook over other e-mail clients is the Journal feature. Additionally, businesses with files of PST's going back 10 years will be unable to easily comply with any court-ordered discovery if they cannot easily access .doc files attached to early emails.

Microsoft has truly shot themselves in the foot this time. First, they release a truncated version of Windows 8 on their initial tablet. Then they mess up Outlook for the final Windows 8 Pro version of the tablet which they won't release until they've gotten every single person interested in a Windows tablet to buy one of their piece-of-junk earlier ones. This is to say nothing about 'the ribbon' in current versions of Office, which most of us find intolerable. Android is looking a whole lot better to me.

I would probably have paid $1500 for a Surface Pro with an i7 and 8 Gb of RAM Strictly because I wanted to integrate Outlook with all my other devices. With this change I see no reason to be loyal to the Windows platform, so now, I think I'll buy an iPad 7 when they put the Retina display in them. Let Microsoft rot on the vine.


SoCal IT SoCal IT said:

I'm trying to import a list of calendar dates from an .xlsx excel 2013 file into Outlook 2013. It will only take .ics, .pst, or .csv files. Tell me how this helps? I think it SUCKS.

Guest said:

I am using office 2013 under windows 7 home edition. Exel files attached to outlook could not be opend directly. I am able to save and then open. How to overcome thisw?

Roger Noordhoek Roger Noordhoek said:

Yeah I'm not super happy about this change. Our company uses this feature to import our excel spreadsheets of 100s of tasks associated with a project. We would import these directly to tasks, map the fields, and you would have all the tasks associated with your position in your reminders, categorized with due dates and reminder dates. Maybe it was antiquated and we are already using a project management program called Asana to work with our advertising agency that has been great. However, it doesn't allow for importing and automation is so important nowadays.

We are a manufacturer of sporting goods, and our marketing department primarily uses this function as we use outlook for our email and task management. Any suggestions on alternate methods? It would just be nice to still utilize our excel documents and import to a program that works with our email reminders or a push notification system.

Contact me at [email address removed] if you have some ideas.

Much appreciated.

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