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What Does ‘Compatibility Mode’ in MS Office Mean?

We all have used MS Word for one reason or the other. Some of us have received Word documents in emails that we could not open it in Word and did not know what the problem was? When something like this happens most of us assume it is some tech issue. Well, is it really a tech issue?

How many of us actually observe the titlebar of the Word document. If you look at it closely you will find in an older version of Word that there is something called as ‘compatibility mode’ there right next to the name of that document. This is with older version of all Microsoft Excel, Power Point and Word.

So, when you receive a document from the older version of Word it constraints you from utilizing the features that are present in the new versions.

There might be several questions running through your mind saying why is this mode there? What do we do with the documents that were saved in older versions? How do we get those documents updated to the newer version? Well these are the most important and frequently asked questions by anyone who has to deal with documents in compatibility mode. There are simple easy to do answers for all these questions.

Curious to know then continue reading this article…..

Example 1: If you are creating a document in the latest version like 2016 with all of the latest features and formatting styles. Then you don’t have to worry because you will still be able to open this document in an older version of Office. You might be wondering isn’t there a ‘Compatibility Mode’ present in the older version. Yes, that won’t change anything. Your latest version of document will look the same in the older version in spite of the compatibility mode. Remember, this mode was designed in a way that the newer versions and older versions of Microsoft will continue working together. The only thing is that when you open the latest version of the document in the older version in the compatibility mode there, you will not be able to use the apps or features of the new version.

Example 2: If you get a document and you are not sure which compatibility mode the document is opened in then here is how you find out. If you are opening it in a newer version then simply go to File then click on, Info then click on the box of check for issues. When you click there opens a small pop-up box with three options. Click on check compatibility option. In the check compatibility box  is a select versions to show box with a drop down menu. When you click on it the check mark against the version is the compatibility mode the document is currently using.

Example 3: If you have a document from the older version in compatibility mode and you need to get it out of that compatibility mode then this is what you will have to do. When you open that document you need to click on Office logo on top left hand side there comes a drop down menu click on Save as there and underneath Save type select Docx. which is in the newer version and click on Save. When you do that it will give you a window that says if you click ok then the new changes and features of the new version will make changes in the document . To that you click ok and immediately you will find the compatibility mode from the titlebar disappears.

There you go three examples of 'What does compatibility mode in MS Office mean'. While you have gained enough information on this topic. But are wondering how to upgrade from an older version like 2012 to 2013 at the same time while upgrading you have ended up with some corrupted documents then all you need to know is that there is a procedure to repair word 2013 documents.

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John Harris

Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.

As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.

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