Open a Word 2010 document in an earlier version of Word

To open Microsoft Word 2010 .docx or .docm files by using Microsoft Office Word 2003, Word 2002, or Word 2000, you need to install the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats and any necessary Office updates. By using the Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel and PowerPoint Open XML File Formats, you can open, change some items, and save Word 2010 documents in earlier versions of Word.

In this article


Install the Compatibility Pack

You can download the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats from Office.com.

With the Compatibility Pack, you can use some earlier versions of Word to open Word 2010 documents that were saved in .docx and .docm formats. You cannot open Word 2010 template files that were saved in .dotx or .dotm format.

Top of Page Top of Page

Features that behave differently in earlier versions

Although you can open Word 2010 files in earlier versions of Word, you may not be able to change some items that were created by using the new or enhanced features in Word 2010. For example, equations will become images that cannot be changed. The following is a list of document elements that are changed when they are opened in an earlier version of Word.

 Note   If you are using Microsoft Word Starter 2010, be aware that not all the features listed for Word 2010 are supported in Word Starter. For more information about the features available in Word Starter, see Word Starter feature support.

Word 2010 element Change when opened in Word 2007 Change when opened in Word 97-2003
New numbering formats New numbering formats are converted to Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, ...). New numbering formats are converted to Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, ...).
New shapes and text boxes Shapes and text boxes are converted to effects available in this format. Shapes and text boxes are converted to effects available in this format.
Text effects Effects on text are permanently removed unless the effects are applied by using a custom style. If they are applied by using the style, the text effects will appear again when the document is reopened in Word 2010. Effects on text are permanently removed unless the effects are applied by using a custom style. If they are applied by using the style, the text effects will appear again when the document is reopened in Word 2010.
Alternative text on tables Tables lose alternative-text information. Tables lose alternative-text information.
OpenType features New type features are removed. New type features are removed.
Blocking authors Blocks applied to regions of the document will be removed. Blocks applied to regions of the document will be removed.
New WordArt effects Effects on text are permanently removed. Effects on text are permanently removed.
New content controls Permanently converted to static content. Permanently converted to static content.
Word 2007 Content controls No change. Permanently converted to static text.
Themes No change. Permanently converted to styles. If the file is later opened in Word 2010, you cannot automatically change the style by using themes.
Major/minor fonts No change. Permanently converted to static formatting. If the file is later opened in Word 2010, heading and body fonts won't automatically change if you use a different style.
Tracked moves No change. Permanently converted to insertions and deletions.
Tabs No change. Alignment tabs will be converted to traditional tabs.
SmartArt graphics No change. Become a single object that cannot be edited unless no changes are made and it is reopened in Word 2010.
Charts and diagrams No change. Some charts and diagrams will be converted to images that cannot be changed. Data beyond supported rows is lost.
Open XML Embedded objects No change. Converted to static content.
Building blocks No change. Building Blocks and AutoText entries may lose some information.
Bibliography No change. Permanently converted to static text.
Citations No change. Permanently converted to static text.
Equations No change. Become graphics and cannot be changed. Any comments, endnotes, or footnotes in the equations will be permanently lost when the document is saved.
Relative text boxes No change. Permanently converted to absolute positioning.

 Note   In addition to the changes listed in the table, the following items behave differently when you open a Word 2010 .docx or .docm file in Word 2000:

  • Macros and macro signatures will be removed.
  • Mail merge data will be lost and you will not be able to connect to data sources.
  • You will not be able to open password-protected files, even if you know the password.

Top of Page Top of Page

 
 
Applies to:
Word 2010