Tag Archives: compatibility mode

Convert Older Documents To Word 2013

If you use Microsoft Word in an office environment, you probably work with colleagues who are using older versions of Word. In the typical company, it takes time to roll out the new version to all users. Even when everyone is using the latest release of Word, there may be documents created in previous versions still knocking around that need to be referred to and even amended.

When you open a Word 2007 document in Word 2013, for example, you will see Compatibility Mode displayed in the title.

What should you do with “legacy” documents? For example, what should you do with a document created in Word 2007 if you are using Word 2013? One option is to convert it to the Word 2013 format. Until you perform this conversion, the new features in Word 2013 will not be available for use. If you do go ahead and convert the document, just know that any features you then use that are new to Word 2013 will not be seen be users of previous versions of Word. This may or may not be a concern for you.

Converting an old document to Word 2013 is very easy. If you open an older document in Word 2013 (you will see the [Compatibility Mode] clue in the title bar), click the File tab > Info, and you will see the Compatibility Mode button at the top:

Compatibility Mode

Click on the button and your Word document will be converted. All Word 2013 features will now be available.

Another option is to save the document in the Word 2013 format: click the File tab > Save As > Computer (on the left) > the destination of the document (you’ll have to browse your computer’s hard drive), and then in the Save as type drop down selector, choose Word document (*.docx).

Save As Type .docx

You could, of course, keep older Word documents in their original version. Typically, if you open a Word 2007 document in Word 2013, when you press ctrl + s, it will save your changes in the document’s original version. This may be your best bet if everyone else is using older versions of Word.

Compatibility Mode - Convert

Word 2013 Compatibility Mode

When a new version of Word is released, it invariable has new features. These features, being new, are not available in previous releases of Word. That means if you create a document in Word 2013, for example, and use some of the new features not available in Word 2010, those new features won’t be seen by someone who opens your document with Word 2010.

Compatibility mode in Word 2013 is there to help prevent you using features that are not available to users of older versions of Word. For example, if in Word 2013 you open a document that was created in Word 2003 (that has the .doc extension), Word will display the text [Compatibility Mode] after the document’s title.

Compatibility Mode In The Title

This message tells you that all the features that are present in Word 2013 but not available in Word 2003 have been disabled. This prevents you from adding impressive new content that other readers might not be able to see.

If you want to make a change to a document created in a previous version of Word, and you know that everyone who might read the document is using the same version of Word as you, you may want to convert the document to make those attractive new features available. Click on the File tab to go to Backstage View, go to the Info tab and then click the Convert button.

Compatibility Mode - Convert

The warning message that is then displayed tells us that the conversion may cause some minor changes in the document’s layout and the file size may actually be reduced. Performing the conversion replaces the old .doc file with the new .docx file.