Microsoft Office 2003

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New features[edit]

The core applications, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access, had only minor improvements from Office XP. Outlook 2003 received improved functionality in many areas, including better email and calendar sharing and information display, complete Unicode support, search folders, colored flags, Kerberos authentication, RPC over HTTP, and Cached Exchange mode. Another key benefit of Outlook 2003 was the improved junk mail filter. Tablet and pen support was introduced in the productivity applications. Word 2003 introduced a reading layout view, document comparison, better change-tracking and annotation/reviewing, a Research Task Pane, voice comments and an XML-based format among other features. Excel 2003 introduced list commands, some statistical functions and XML data import, analysis and transformation/document customization features. Access 2003 introduced a backup command, the ability to view object dependencies, error checking in forms and reports among other features.

Office 2003 features improvements to smart tags such as smart tag Lists, which are defined in XML, by using regular expressions and an extended type library.[22] Smart tag recognition was added to PowerPoint and Access. FrontPage 2003 introduced conditional formatting, Find and Replace for HTML elements, new tools for creating and formatting tables and cells, dynamic templates (Dreamweaver), Flash support, WebDAV and SharePoint publishing among other features. Publisher 2003 introduced a Generic Color PostScript printer driver for commercial printing.[23] Information Rights Management capabilities were introduced in document productivity applications to limit access to a set of users and/or restrict types of actions that users could perform. Support for managed code add-ins as VSTO solutions was introduced.

Office 2003 was the last version of Microsoft Office to include fully customizable toolbars and menus for all of its applications, the Office Assistant, the ability to slipstream service packs into the original setup files, Office Web Components, and the Save My Settings Wizard, which allowed users to choose whether to keep a locally cached copy of installation source files and several utility resource kit tools. It was also the last Office version to support Windows 2000. A new picture organizer with basic editing features, called Microsoft Office Picture Manager, was included.

Only basic clipart and templates were included on the disc media, with most content hosted online and downloadable from within the Office application. Microsoft advertised Office Online as a major Office 2003 feature “outside the box”.[24] Office Online provides how-to articles, tips, training courses, templates, clip art, stock photos and media and downloads (including Microsoft and third-party extensibility add-ins for Microsoft Office programs).

Office 2003 features broad XML integration (designing customized XML schemas, importing and transforming XML data) throughout resulting in a far more data-centric model (instead of a document-based one). The MSXML 5 library was introduced specifically for Office’s XML integration. Office 2003 also has SharePoint integration to facilitate data exchange, collaborated workflow, and publishing. InfoPath 2003 was introduced for collecting data in XML-based forms and templates based on information from databases.

Removed features[edit]

  • Design Time Controls are no longer supported in FrontPage 2003.[25]
  • The Access 2.0 database conversion utility is removed from the installation CD and the Client Server Visual Design Tools for Access are no longer included.[25]
  • A large number of converters and filters are no longer available on the installation CD. Several international font options are also removed.[25]
  • Genigraphics Wizard support and Presentation Broadcasting were removed in PowerPoint 2003. A download for the latter was made available by Microsoft.[25]
  • Microsoft Draw Converter and Organization Chart Converter are no longer available.[25]
  • The Web Pages wizard is no longer available in Word 2003.[25]
  • In Word 2003, the Comments option on the View menu as well as the button on the Comment pane to close the pane were removed.[25]
  • Microsoft Photo Editor was removed, including many features not available in its replacement.[26]
  • Due to the deprecation of WinHelp, context-sensitive help was removed in Office 2003.[27]
  • Microsoft Office Shortcut Bar was removed.[28]


  • Word 2003
  • Excel 2003
  • PowerPoint 2003
  • Outlook 2003 (with or without Business Contact Manager)
  • Access 2003
  • Publisher 2003
  • InfoPath 2003
  • Project 2003 (Standard or Professional)
  • Visio 2003 (Standard or Professional)
  • FrontPage 2003
  • OneNote 2003


Microsoft released five separate editions of Office 2003: Basic, Student and Teacher, Standard, Small Business, and Professional. Retail editions were available in Full or Upgrade versions. The Basic edition was only available to original equipment manufacturers. The Student and Teacher edition was intended for noncommercial use only.[29] All Office 2003 applications were available for purchase as standalone products.[30]

Microsoft Office 2003 Editions
Application Basic Student and
Standard Small Business Professional
Word Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Excel Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Outlook Yes Yes Yes Yes
with Business Contact Manager[29]
with Business Contact Manager[29]
PowerPoint No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Publisher No No No Yes Yes
Access No No No No Yes
InfoPath No No No No Volume edition only

System requirements[edit]

hideOffice 2003 system requirements[11]
Minimum Recommended
Microsoft Windows
Operating system
Windows 2000 SP3, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008,[4] Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2[5][6][7][8]
Intel Pentium 233 MHz
Intel Pentium II 400 MHz required for speech recognition
450 MHz processor required for Business Contact Manager for Outlook 2003
Intel Pentium III
128 MB
256 MB is required for Business Contact Manager for Outlook 2003
Hard drive
210 MB (Student and Teacher, Standard)
380 MB (Small Business)
400 MB (Professional)
An additional 190 MB of free space is required to install Business Contact Manager
Cached installation files require the following additional hard disk space:
250 MB (Student and Teacher)
260 MB (Standard)
280 MB (Small Business)
290 MB (Professional)
A CD-ROM drive is required to install Office 2003 from optical media
Graphics hardware
800×600 (SVGA) with 256 colors
Sound hardware
An audio output device and microphone are required for speech recognition
Certain advanced collaboration features require Exchange Server 2003 or later
Internet access is required for product activation and online functionality
Input device(s)
Mouse and keyboard
Stylus and touchscreen for certain inking functionality

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