Use Word 2007 to open documents created in previous versions of Word

When you open a document in Microsoft Office Word 2007 that was created in Microsoft Office Word 2003, Word 2002, or Word 2000, Compatibility Mode is turned on, and you see Compatibility Mode in the title bar of the document window. Compatibility Mode ensures that no new or enhanced features in Office Word 2007 are available while you are working with a document, so that people who are using previous versions of Word will have full editing capabilities.

You can work in Compatibility Mode or you can convert your document to the Office Word 2007 file format. The Word Convert command clears the compatibility options so that the document layout appears as it would if it had been created in Word 2007. If the file is in .doc format, the Convert command also upgrades the file to the .docx format.

Converting your document allows you to access the new and enhanced features in Office Word 2007. However, people who are using previous versions of Word may be prevented from or have difficulty editing certain portions of the document that were created by using new or enhanced features in Office Word 2007.

 Note   The File menu has been replaced with the Microsoft Office ButtonButton image.

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Work in Compatibility Mode

When you open a Word 97–2003 document in Office Word 2007, Compatibility Mode is turned on, and you see Compatibility Mode in the title bar of the document window. In Compatibility Mode, you can open, edit, and save Word 97–2003 documents but you won't be able to use any of the new Office Word 2007 features.

Document elements that behave differently in Compatibility Mode

The following elements will be permanently changed when you are working in Compatibility Mode, and you cannot convert them to Office Word 2007 elements even if you convert your document later.

Office Word 2007 element Behavior in Compatibility Mode
Heading and body fonts Converted to static formatting.
Relative text boxes Converted to absolute positions.
Margins Converted to absolute tabs.
Bibliography Converted to static text.
Citations Converted to static text.
Placeholder text in citations Converted to static text.
Placeholder text in content controls Converted to static text.
Themes Permanently converted to styles. If the file is later opened in Office Word 2007, you cannot automatically change the style by using themes.
Theme colors Permanently converted to styles. If the file is later opened in Office Word 2007, you cannot automatically change the style by using theme colors.
Theme fonts Permanently converted to styles. If the file is later opened in Office Word 2007, you cannot automatically change the style by using theme fonts.
Theme effects Permanently converted to styles. If the file is later opened in Office Word 2007, you cannot automatically change the style by using theme effects.
Content controls Permanently converted to static text.

The following document elements will be changed when you are working in Compatibility Mode, but you can convert them to Office Word 2007 elements if you convert your document later.

Office Word 2007 element Behavior in Compatibility Mode
Office Art Only a limited set of diagram types is available..
Diagrams Converted to images that cannot be edited.
Equations Become graphics and cannot be changed.

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Convert a document to Office Word 2007

The Word Convert command clears the compatibility options so that the document layout appears as it would if it had been created in Word 2007.

  1. Click the Microsoft Office Button Button image, and then click Convert.
  1. In the Microsoft Office Word dialog box, click OK.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • To replace the original file with a file in the Office Word 2007 file format, click the Microsoft Office ButtonButton image, and then click Save.
    • To save the original document in its original file format and create another document in the Office Word 2007 file format, click the Microsoft Office Button, click Save As, and then type a new name for the file.

 Note   If the original .doc file is saved in a location other than your local drive, Word keeps the original .doc file and creates a new .docx file when you click Convert.

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Applies to:
Word 2007