Create a document to be used by previous versions of Word

Although people who use previous versions of Microsoft Office Word and have installed the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats can open documents that are saved in the Microsoft Office Word 2007 format, they may not be able to change some items that were created by using new or enhanced features. For example, if you use a previous version of Word to open a document that contains equations, the equations will become images that cannot be edited.

To create a document that will be used in a previous version of Microsoft Office Word, you can work in Compatibility Mode. Compatibility Mode ensures that no new or enhanced features in Office Word 2007 are available while you are working in a document, so that people who are using previous versions of Word will have full editing capabilities.

Note: The File menu has been replaced with the Microsoft Office Button Office button image .

Turn on Compatibility Mode

When you create a new document that will be used in a previous version, you can turn on Compatibility Mode by saving the file in Word 97-2003 format.

  1. Open a new document.

  2. Click the Microsoft Office Button Office button image , and then click Save As.

  3. Select Word 97-2003 Document in the Save as type list.

  4. In the File name box, type a name for the document.

  5. Click Save.

Document elements that behave differently in Compatibility Mode

The following is a list of document elements that behave differently or aren't available when you work in Compatibility Mode.

Office Word 2007 element

Behavior in Compatibility Mode

Relative positioning text boxes

Only absolute positioning is available.


Only absolute tabs are available.

Theme colors

Are unavailable.

Theme fonts

Are unavailable.

Theme effects

Are unavailable.

Content controls

Are unavailable. However, legacy controls are available.


Only a limited set of diagram types is available.


Are unavailable.

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