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Stop Word from Opening Documents in Compatibility Mode

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 one’s system.

A screenshot showing compatibility mode in Microsoft Word's title bar.

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.


The steps below will work on all newer versions of Word (2007 and later) and applies to users running Windows Vista or later.

  1. Exit Word if it’s running.
  2. Launch the Run dialog using Win Key + R then type %appdata% and press Enter. Alternatively, you can just open the roaming folder by following this path: C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming 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 or just delete it if you know you won’t need to roll back to this template. Please note that 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. Open a document with Word to confirm that compatibility mode has been disabled.

If you’ve problems following any of the steps, please refer to the YouTube video I’ve embedded at the start of the steps. A subscribe to this blog’s channel would also be much appreciated.



    1. Kelvin Administrator

      It’s not to disable the feature entirely, but rather to stop documents from being opened in compatibility mode.

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Kelvin Kathia

Kelvin Kathia is a writer that's passionate about sharing solutions to everyday tech problems. He's the founder and editor of Journey Bytes, a tech blog and web design agency. Feel free to leave him comments or questions regarding this post, or by leaving him a message on the contact page. If you found his content helpful, a donation is much appreciated.