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© Ugur Akinci
When you open a Word file in MS Word 2013, you’ll sometimes see a “Comparability Mode” note right next to the file name:
This means the file was originally created in an older version of MS Word.
Working in Compatibility Mode
If you continue to work in Compatibility Mode and save your changes, you can still open and view the file in an earlier version of MS Word with all the present features and last-saved edits.
Converting to MS Word 2013
However, if you wish, you can also convert the file to Word 2013 by clicking File > Info >Compatibility Mode:
WARNING: However, once you do that, none of the changes you make in Word 2013 will be available in an earlier version of Word. When you open the same file in an earlier version, the 2013-version changes will not be available and there may even be certain layout changes to the document. So convert the file only if your readers will not try to open it in an earlier version of Word.
Checking for Compatibility
Word provides a very useful tool to check the 2013 features in the file that would not be compatible with an earlier version of Word.
Select File > Info > Check for Issues:
Click Check for Compatibility to display the Compatibility Checker dialog box:
From the drop-down list select the earlier version of Word you like and Word 2013 will display if there are any incompatibilities or not. In the above example, there are no compatibility issues, which means, if I save this file as a Word 2013 document the reader should be able to open and read it in any earlier version of Word.
Here is another document with one Word 97-2003 compatibility issue caught by Word 2013: