I upgraded from Word 2007 to Word 2010. Save defaults to the latest Word format, but when I create a new document, it shows as being in Compatibility mode. Why?
Most users think of pre-Word 2007 *.doc files as being in Compatibility mode, and *.docx files as being Word 2007 and Word 2010 files. But, it’s not that simple. Word 2010 introduced several new features that were not present in Word 2007, most notably improvements to the graphics capabilities. As a result. Word 2010 *.docx files do not share the identical format with Word 2007 *.docx files, despite the fact that they both use .docx as the extension.
As a result, there are two Compatibility modes—not just one: We now have doc for Word 97-2003 files, and docx for Word 2007 files. When the latter format is in effect, the docx extension is used, but you will still see [Compatibility Mode] in Word’s title bar. Hence, if you edit a docx file created in Word 2007 using Word 2010, you see Compatibility Mode in the title bar.
“Okay,” you might wonder. “But, why does it say “Compatibility Mode” even for brand new documents I create using Word 2010.”
This occurs because the underlying document template—usually Normal.dotm—is still in Word 2007 format! To resolve this issue, edit Normal.dotm itself and convert it to Word 2010 format.
To edit Normal.dotm, you need to open it as you would open an ordinary document file. If you use Windows Explorer and double-click on Normal.dotm, Word will create a new document based on it, rather than edit that file. Instead, open Normal.dotm from Word 2010 itself. In Windows 7, Normal.dotm usually is stored in a folder named:
except that your user name probably isn’t Herb. You can navigate there manually, but it’s usually easiest to use a default location shortcut that Word creates for you. Press Ctrl+O (File – Open) in Word. You should see a list of locations at the left, including one called Templates, as shown here.
This is the default location for user templates in Word 2010. Click on that location (or, if you don’t see Templates, then navigate to that location). Among the files shown at the right, you should see Normal.dotm. Click on it, and then click on Open. Or, if you want to convert a different document template file, then open it instead.
At that top of Word’s window, you will see the name of the template followed by [Compatibility Mode]. Choose File – Convert, as shown here:
Word prompts you to confirm the conversion. Tick the “Do not ask…” box if you’re so inclined. Personally, I need to know whenever this happens, so I leave it unticked. Then click OK.
At the top of Word’s window, [Compatibility Mode] will now go away. You should now close the template file, saying Yes if prompted to save it.
Finally, create a new file based on the template you just edited to confirm that the conversion worked. If you just converted Normal.dotm, then when you press Ctrl+N (the shortcut for creating a new document based on Normal.dotm), you should get a new document (Document #), but should no longer see [Compatibility Mode] in the title bar.