When you open a document created in an earlier version of Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint in a newer version of Office, the title bar may display “Compatibility Mode” after the document name. This will change the way the document appears and disable some of the latest features.
In general, there is no need to worry. Office can ensure that outdated documents are working properly and continue to collaborate with people who are using older versions of Office. However, you can exit compatibility mode if you like.
What is compatibility mode?
The latest version of Microsoft Office introduces new features that are not compatible with earlier versions of Microsoft Office. The latest versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint also handle slightly different document formats than the previous version.
When you create a new document in Office 2013 or 2016, it is created with the latest documentation to access all of these new features and the new formatting styles. However, if you open a document created with Office 2010 or an earlier version of Office, it will open in compatibility mode and look the same in previous versions, such as 2013 or 2016.
Compatibility mode also disables access to new features. For example, if someone creates a document in Word 2007 and opens it in Word 2016, you will not be able to use features that Word 2016 does not understand in Word 2007. You can then save the document and send the document to someone who has run it without problems.
If you enable the latest features in Word 2016, others will not be able to view the entire document. This mode is intended to allow users of different versions of Microsoft Office to continue working. Documents created with earlier versions of Office are no different when opened in later versions of Office.
The exact features that are not available in compatibility mode depend on the type of compatibility mode your office application and document use. For example, if you are using Word 2016 and you open a document in Word 2010 compatibility mode, you can not use Apps for Office or include online video. Word 2013 or later is required to use these features. Microsoft provides a complete list of Word features that are not available in compatibility mode.
How to find the compatibility mode your document is using
The document can be found in Compatibility mode. To do this, open the document in Compatibility mode and click File> About> Problem Check> Compatibility Check.
Click the “Select version to display” box. A version with a check mark next to it is the compatibility mode that the document is currently using. In the screenshot above, the document is Word 2010 compatibility mode, which means it was created in Word 2010.
How to update your documents and keep them in compatibility mode
To import a document in Compatibility mode, open it in your Office application and click File> About> Conversion. This will convert the old document to a modern format Office document.
Do not do this if you (or anyone else) need to work with a document using an earlier version of Office, such as Office 2010 or an earlier version. If someone sent you a document in compatibility mode, do not update it before resending it. May be required in older format.
You will see a warning message that the document may experience minor layout changes. If the document does not have a complex user-defined format, do not be careful.
If you agree, “Compatibility Mode” disappears from the title bar. You can quickly browse through your document to make sure there are no layout changes that need to be fixed. The document can now be saved and saved as a modern Office document. It will no longer open in compatibility mode.
What to do if the new document is in compatibility mode
If all the documents you create are in compatibility mode, Office applications can create documents in the old file format.
To check this, go to File> Options> Save. Click the “Save file in this format“ box and make sure it is set to the latest format document. For example, for Word, select “Word document (.docx)“. If you select “Word 97-2003 Document (.doc)” here, Office always saves the file in the old file format, so it is always kept in compatibility mode by default.
If you create a document with more than one template, the original template document may be in compatibility mode. Open and convert like any other document.
You do not need to update the documents one by one. They will function normally and will not know the difference unless you try to use a feature that does not work in compatibility mode. If you attempted to use a feature but can not, you will be notified that the feature must be converted.