Microsoft Excel 1997-2003 is the name of the file type created by four different releases of Microsoft Excel. The release of Microsoft Excel 97 was a major leap forward in terms of functionality and usability compared to the previous version, Excel 95. Excel 2000, Excel XP and Excel 2003 all followed featuring tweaks to the appearance and functionality however the core application remained consistent. It was during this period that computers became incredibly popular for both personal and business use resulting in Excel becoming the de facto spreadsheet application. Excel provided functionality to a basic user with a requirement to store data in an organised fashion up to advanced users requiring formulas, charts and pivot tables.
Microsoft Excel 97-2003 used XLS as the file extension. This was a binary file format. Later versions of Excel make use of a XML for file formats. Excel 2003 limits the user to a maximum of 65,000 rows per worksheet and a maximum of 256 columns. By comparison, later versions of Excel provide support for over one million rows and 16,000 columns. Excel 2003 features a 256 colour palette limit whereas later versions allow for unlimited colours.
The .mpp file extension is the default file type created by Microsoft Project. Microsoft Project is part of the Microsoft Office product set. A .mpp file will typically contain a list of tasks that make up a particular project and allow the critical path of a project to be defined. These will contain tasks, owners, inter-dependencies, timescales. Microsoft Project also allows for visual aids such as a gannt chart to be created within the file.
The .mpp is a propriety file type created by Microsoft. Older .mpp files created by Microsoft Project before 1998 can only be opened by Microsoft Project 1998. The portability of an .mpp to other applications or platforms is restricted, with only a few options available.