Using compatibility mode in Word Online

When you use Word Online to open a document that was saved as a .docx file in compatibility mode, you have most of the editing features of Word Online available to you. However, to insert pictures and resize them, or edit alt text, you must open the document in Microsoft Word 2010 or later, convert the document, and then save it. If you don't need to insert pictures, you can continue to work with the document in Word Online in compatibility mode, and there's no need to convert the document.

If you want to convert the document, you must have Word 2010 or later installed. Follow these steps:

  1. With the document open in Word Online click Edit in Word.

  2. In Word, click the File tab.

  3. On the Info tab, click Convert.

  4. If you are alerted about converting documents, click OK.

  5. Press Ctrl+S to save the document back on the website.


    • This procedure is necessary only for documents that were saved to be compatible with the Word97-2003 file format. Documents saved in the Word 2007 file format support all the editing features of Word Online, even though they run in compatibility mode when they are first opened in Word 2010 and later.

    • When you use Word Online to open a document that was saved in the .doc format, you can view the document only. When you go to edit the document in the browser, Word Online prompts you to convert the file. When you click Convert, Word Online makes a copy of the file in .docx format. Click Edit to continue edit the .docx copy in Word Online.

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