Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Various issues are leading people to wonder if Office 2003 will work on Windows Vista. Yes, it will. We'll look at some of the possible problems.
I have Windows Vista now and I cannot open Word documents attached to emails. How can I open them? Is Microsoft Office 2003 compatible with Vista?
Yes, Microsoft Office 2003 is compatible with Windows Vista.
You didn't say what happens when you try to open a document or what error message is produced, so I'll have to make some wild guesses.
Most of the confusion that I see is actually not about Windows Vista, but rather the file format changes between Office 2003 and Office 2007. The newer version now saves into a file format that can't be read by the old. However there are solutions.
Here are some of the most common things that might be going wrong:
You don't have Office installed. Some people are surprised to find that Windows Vista doesn't include Microsoft Office. They are two separate products, and if you don't have Office then you'll need to purchase and install it separately.
Your Upgrade to Windows Vista was really a fresh install. If you have Windows XP with Microsoft Office installed, an upgrade to Windows Vista should leave you with Office still installed in Vista. However, if instead you performed an install of Vista instead of an upgrade, then Windows Vista has been installed "from scratch" and you'll need to re-install all of your programs, including Microsoft Office.
You've received a document in Office 2007 format, but you only have Office 2003. This will fail, unless you install the Office Compatibility Pack. This free download adds support for the newer file formats to the older versions of Office. After installing, you'll be able to open these files without completely upgrading to the newer version of Office. (You can also ask the sender of the document to save the document in the older format and resend the document instead.)
The ".doc" file association has somehow been lost. There are two approaches: reinstalling Office should actually fix this for all the file types it supports, or you can repair the file association manually.
It's only email that's broken. One workaround if it's only documents in email that are causing you a problem is instead of opening the document directly from email, save it to a location on your hard drive instead. Then fire up Word and use File, Open... to locate and open the document, or locate the document in Windows Explorer and double click on it.
The bottom line, though, is that Office 2003 and Windows Vista can certainly peacefully co-exist just as Office 2007 can run on Windows XP. Neither requires an update to the other.