Using compatibility mode in Word Online

When you use Microsoft 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 Web App 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 Word 2013 installed. Follow these steps:

  1. With the document open in Word Online click Open 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 or Word 2013.

    • When you use Word Online to open a document that was saved in the .doc format, you can view the document only. To edit it in the browser, click Convert and Edit, and then click Convert. The original file is closed, and Word Online prompts you to view or edit a copy of the file in the new file format. Click Edit to continue editing in Word Online.

Expand your skills
Explore training
Get new features first
Join Office Insiders

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you for your feedback! It sounds like it might be helpful to connect you to one of our Office support agents.