Turn Off Compatibility Mode in Word (2007-2016)

A common Microsoft Word issue is when every new document is created in compatibility mode. This is readily viewable as Word appends [Compatibility Mode] next to the document name in the title bar.

It seems this is caused by older versions of MS Word that were either previously installed or that still exist in ones system. Say for example you had Word 2007 then decided to install Word 2013. New documents on Word 2013 will be created in compatibility mode.

This is because the more recent version of Word is using an older template from the previous or an existing prior version to create the new documents. To resolve this issue, the older template has to be updated to a newer template that corresponds with the current installation.

Stop New Documents From Being Created in Compatibility Mode

Compatibility Mode in Word 2013 Document

  • This will work on all newer versions of Word (2007, 2010, 2013 & 2016) and applies to users running Windows Vista or later
  • TIP: The steps below can also be viewed on this video tutorial.

1. Exit Word if it’s running

2. Launch the Run dialog using Win Key + R. Type %appdata% and press Enter. Alternatively, you can just open the "roaming" folder by following this path:
where C is the Windows Partition and username is your Window's account username.
3. In the roaming folder open the Microsoft folder then Templates

4. In the Templates folder find a file called Normal.dotm and rename it to something you like, for instance OldNormal.dotm.
  • Note: If you don't have extensions enabled in Windows Explorer, the file in question appears as Normal in which case you should rename it to something like OldNormal.

5. That's it. Word shouldn't create documents in compatibility mode anymore.

If you’ve problems following any of the steps, please refer to the youtube video I’ve linked to at the start of the steps. A subscribe to this blog's channel would be highly appreciated if you find the content there relevant to you. If you’ve any questions just leave them in the comments and I’ll get to them as soon as I can.

Kelvin is a writer and registered nutritionist based in Nairobi. Passionate about writing and helping people solve problems, he's been actively blogging since 2014 on tech, nutrition and "pseudo poetry".

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