Microsoft Office open documents created in older versions of Microsoft Office. However, they are opened in “Compatibility Mode,” and not all the features of the new version of Office are available for the older document. To use the newer features of Office on an older document, you must first convert the document to the newer version.

All versions of Office have a Convert feature, which is only available when an older document is open that can be converted. However, it is accessed and used slightly differently in each version. We will show you how to convert an older Word 2003 document into a Word 2007 , Word 2010 or Word 2013/2016 document.

The method for converting old Office documents to the newer versions of Office is the same for all Office applications.

NOTE: This procedure for converting an old Word document into the new format, replaces the original document. If you want to preserve the original document, make a backup copy of it before beginning the procedure.

Convert Document  into Word 2010, 2013, 2016

To convert am older document to Word 2010, 2013, or 2016 format, open the document in the newer version of Word and click the File tab. The Info tab should be highlighted and on the right-hand side you will see a Convert button.

Convert button on File screen in Word 2010

A warning dialog box from Word will display . Click the Tell Me More button if you want to read more about converting old Word documents. If you don’t want to see this dialog box every time you convert a document, select the Do not ask me again about converting documents check box so there is a check mark in the box. Click OK to continue with the conversion.

Warning dialog box about converting the document

To close Word, click the File tab again and click on Exit.

Closing Word 2010

Even if you didn’t make any changes to the document, Word prompts you to save the document because the conversion changed it. Click Yes to save the converted document.

Do you want to save changes dialog box in Word 2010

NOTE: Once you have converted the document and saved it in the new format, the document cannot be opened in the older version of Word again unless you specifically save it in that format again.

Convert Document into Word 2007

When you open an older document in Word 2007, the phrase “[Compatibility Mode]” displays in the title bar at the end of the filename.

NOTE: This is true for all versions of Word.

"[Compatibility Mode]" on title bar in Word 2007

To convert the document to Word 2007 format, click the Office button when the document is open in Word 2007.

Clicking the Office button in Word 2007

Click the Convert option.

Selecting Convert option in Word 2007

The same warning dialog box displays as mentioned above. Click the Tell Me More button if you want to read more about converting old Word documents.

Warning dialog box about converting the document

Notice that the phrase “[Compatibility Mode]” is gone from the title bar of Word.

"[Compatibility Mode]" gone from title bar in Word 2007

Close Word by clicking the Office button and then clicking the Exit Word button on the Office menu.

Closing Word 2007

Again, even if you didn’t make any changes to the document, Word prompts you to save the document because the conversion changed it. Click Yes to save the converted document.

Do you want to save changes dialog box in Word 2007

The document now has the .docx extension instead of the .doc extension.

Converted Word 2007 document

 

This same procedure applies to other Office programs like Excel, etc. Normally, you won’t see any differences between the files after converting, unless the document is very complex. Enjoy!