How to Get Out of Compatibility Mode in Microsoft Word: Step-by-Step Guide

To get out of Compatibility Mode in Microsoft Word, you need to convert the document to the current version format. Simply open the document, go to the ‘File’ tab, click ‘Info’, choose ‘Convert’, and then save the document. This quick action will allow you to use all the features available in the latest version of Word.

After completing the action, the document will no longer be in Compatibility Mode. You’ll be able to access all the features and tools of the current Word version, and the “Compatibility Mode” message will disappear from the top of the Word window.


Have you ever opened a document in Microsoft Word and noticed the words “Compatibility Mode” at the top of the window? It can be puzzling to see, especially if you’re not sure why it’s there or what it means. Compatibility Mode is a feature that allows Word to open and edit documents created in older versions of the program. While it’s useful for ensuring that you don’t lose any content or formatting, it also limits the features and tools you can use. This is because the older document formats don’t support all the features found in the latest version of Word.

If you’re someone who frequently collaborates with others or receives documents from different sources, knowing how to get out of Compatibility Mode in Word is essential. It lets you make the most out of the program’s capabilities, and ensures that your documents are up-to-date. In this article, we’ll guide you through the simple steps to convert your document and leave Compatibility Mode behind. So, let’s dive right in and unlock the full potential of Microsoft Word.

Step by Step Tutorial to Get Out of Compatibility Mode in Microsoft Word

Before we begin, it’s important to understand that following these steps will convert your document to the latest Word format. This is essential if you want to access all the current features and tools.

Step 1: Open the Document

Open the document that is in Compatibility Mode.

Opening the document is the first step. If you’ve just opened Word and are looking at the recent documents screen, simply click on the document in question. If Word is already open, go to the ‘File’ tab, click ‘Open’, and navigate to your document.

Step 2: Access the Info Menu

Go to the ‘File’ tab and select ‘Info’.

Once the document is open, click on the ‘File’ tab at the top left corner of the window. This will take you to the backstage view. Here, you’ll see various options, such as New, Open, Save, and Print. Click on ‘Info’ to move to the next step.

Step 3: Convert the Document

Choose ‘Convert’ to update the document to the current Word format.

Under the ‘Info’ section, you’ll see the ‘Convert’ button. Clicking this button will start the conversion process. A dialog box may appear, explaining what conversion means and asking for your confirmation. Go ahead and agree to convert the document.

Step 4: Save the Document

Save the document to apply the changes.

After you click ‘Convert’, the document will be updated to the current Word format. However, for the changes to take effect, you need to save the document. You can simply click the save icon, or go to ‘File’ and then ‘Save As’ to save a new copy of the document in the updated format.


Full Feature AccessBy getting out of Compatibility Mode, you can use all the new and improved features that Microsoft Word has to offer. This includes better collaboration tools, advanced editing capabilities, and more.
Improved StabilityThe latest version of Word is generally more stable and has better performance. Converting your document can result in a smoother and more reliable experience.
Future-ProofingUpdating your document ensures that it’s compatible with future versions of Word. This is essential for maintaining access to your files long-term.


Incompatibility with Older VersionsOnce you convert your document, it may not be compatible with older versions of Word. This could be an issue if you’re sharing the document with someone who hasn’t updated their software.
Potential Formatting ChangesConversion can sometimes cause minor changes to the document’s formatting. It’s a good idea to review your document after conversion to ensure everything looks as expected.
Learning CurveWith access to new features comes the need to learn how to use them. Some users may find this overwhelming or time-consuming.

Additional Information

Understanding the Compatibility Mode in Microsoft Word is key to making the most out of your document editing experience. Compatibility Mode is meant to preserve the layout and formatting of documents created in older versions of Word. However, it does limit your ability to use newer features that can make your work more efficient and visually appealing.

When you’ve successfully converted your document, make sure to take a quick tour of the features now available to you. Explore the ‘Design’ tab for new formatting options, check out ‘Review’ for advanced proofing tools, or dabble with ‘Insert’ to add online videos or 3D models. Remember, the aim is not just to get out of Compatibility Mode, but to enhance your productivity and creativity with Microsoft Word.

Also, keep in mind that while converting your document is generally safe and straightforward, it’s always wise to keep a backup of the original file. This way, if anything unexpected happens during the conversion process, you’ll still have access to the unaltered document.


  1. Open the document in Compatibility Mode.
  2. Go to the ‘File’ tab and select ‘Info’.
  3. Choose ‘Convert’ to update the document format.
  4. Save the document to apply the changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Compatibility Mode in Microsoft Word?

Compatibility Mode is a setting that allows you to open and edit documents created in older versions of Word. While it preserves the original format, it restricts access to some of the newer features.

Will converting my document affect its content?

Converting your document should not affect the content. However, you may notice slight changes in formatting, which you can easily adjust.

Can I convert a document if I’m not the original author?

Yes, you can convert any document you can open in Word, regardless of who created it.

What happens if I need to send the document to someone using an older version of Word?

If you need to share the document with someone using an older version, you can save the document in a compatible format after converting it.

Is it necessary to convert every document I open in Compatibility Mode?

It’s not mandatory, but converting documents ensures you have access to all the latest features and improvements in Word.


Getting out of Compatibility Mode in Microsoft Word is a breeze, but it’s also a gateway to unlocking the full potential of your document editing experience. By following the few simple steps outlined above, you can bring your documents into the present and take advantage of all the innovative features Microsoft Word has to offer.

Remember, staying up-to-date with your software isn’t just about keeping up with technology – it’s about optimizing your productivity and making your work shine. So go ahead, convert those documents, and watch your Word skills soar to new heights!