So you have downloaded the lovely shiny new 2010 version of the Microsoft Office suite and you are raring to get going on one of its key programs: Access. You are itching to use new sophisticated macros, share and collaborate online with the incredible interactivity of SharePoint server and generally create the sexiest looking databases that you possibly can.

All well and good, but what happens when you want to share your handiwork with those less fortunate or forward thinking than yourself? Because, whilst you know that Microsoft Office 2010 is a must-have upgrade, the chances are that at least some of your colleagues will still be working with the 2007 edition of the suite.

In a great many cases there is no major issue with compatibility between the two programs and files that are created using Microsoft Access 2010 can be opened and fully appreciated via Access 2007. However, not all of the new features in the 2010 upgrade are compatible with its earlier incarnation and hence there are occasions when compatibility issues may arise when using the two editions for similar purposes.

New features in Access 2010 that cannot be supported in the 2007 version include new database sort orders in specific languages such as Chinese or Romanian as well as databases published to the web and data macros being read only in the older version of the software.

Happily there are ways of modifying your databases created in Access 2010 so that they are more readily viewable in Access 2007. The first step is to remove the features from the 2010 database that are not supported by Access 2007 and then create a new database in Access 2010. The crucial thing to remember here is to use a blank database template as opposed to a blank web database one. Once this is done you can import the objects from the original database to the newly created one by clicking on the Access icon on the external data ribbon. The database is now fully operational in Microsoft Access 2007.

And it is also possible to share your Access 2010 databases with those poor colleagues who only have Access 2000! The 2007 edition of Access was conceived with .accdb files as the default as opposed to earlier versions which had all been .mdb. This difference can be remedied by clicking Save and Publish and, under Save Database As, selecting Access 2000 Database (*.mdb.) If your colleague is slightly more with it and has Access 2002 there is an option to select that form of database saving also.

However, there are again certain features that will not convert to Access 2000-2002 databases and this time there are no sneaky methods of altering the fact. The features that will not be supported in Access 2000-2002 are new data types and objects such as data macros and calculated fields, links to non-supported external files and database encryption as Access 2010 utilises a different type of password protection to previous versions of the software.