Do you have a workplace or have to communicate with one that is still using an older format of Microsoft Office from 1997-2003? Well, if you spend a lot of time writing, sharing, or collaborating on documents through Google Docs, you're probably aware that Google has discontinued support for these older formats.
You could try to encourage your workplace to upgrade its software, but that's probably not the most realistic or speedy option. Thankfully, there are a few options for dealing with this formatting change.
Save your documents in any format and use an online converter. Here are a few of the Web sites that will convert documents for free: http://www.online-convert.com/, http://www.zamzar.com/, or http://www.mediaconverter.org/. However, if you're dealing with more sensitive information, this might not be the best option for you or your company.
Install the Office Compatibility Pack on the target machines. Using this software from Microsoft will allow opening and editing of files in newer formats through the older versions of the software.
Sneak your Google Docs off the Web in those older formats. E-mail a document from the Google Docs account to yourself as an e-mail attachment, and choose the format you want. This can be done by clicking the the File option on the menu and then choosing Email as attachment. You'll be able to select the desired format from a drop-down menu.
Chances are the online conversion tools will be around for a long time, but there will probably be a lifespan on the compatibility pack and e-mail trick. Really, your best option is to move away from older software, but in the meantime, we hope these tips will help you out.
Reader tip: If the people receiving or working with the documents don't mind a little change, and are on a budget, why not try one of the free Office replacements like OpenOffice or IBM Lotus Symphony. These support the newer formats, but will also likely require a little bit of practice when learning where all the document formatting and other options are located.