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In today's post I am going to talk about opening or creating older file formats (.doc, .dot, .xml [Word 2003 XML Format]) in Word 2007. Opening or creating any of these older file formats in Word will result in Word being in Compatibility Mode. Going back to the first post on compatibility in Word 2007, I am referring to the left side of the diagram.
Compatibility Mode ensures that documents created from older versions of Word will look the same in Word 2007. This mode also ensures that the editing environment of Word 2007 is similar to Word 2003. While in Compatibility Mode, you will not be able to add content that was not available in previous versions of Word.
Compatibility Mode enables the following scenarios:
In order to accomplish the above two scenarios some new features in Word 2007 are disabled while in Compatibility Mode. There are several visual cues that will tell you that you're working in Compatibility Mode. To watch a video of Compatibility Mode go here.
Hovering over disabled features will reveal a tooltip that indicates that the feature of interest is disabled and the reason why it is disabled.
Hovering over these features will reveal a tooltip indicating that functionality of the feature is limited compared to using the feature in Full Functionality Mode.
I will talk more about this new command in my next post.
There are several ways you can get into Compatibility Mode:
I would like to talk more about #5 and #4 since it may not be very intuitive as to why we are supporting Compatibility Mode with our new Open XML Formats (.docx). One of the main reasons we have Compatibility Mode is to ensure that the visual layout of a document is consistent across different versions of Word. By definition of Compatibility Mode, #5 ensures that the document will look the same in Word 2007 as it did in previous versions of Word.
#4 ensures that the document will look and be edited the same way when saved as one of the Open XML Formats as compared to one of the older file formats, like .doc. When performing a Save As operation to one of the new Open XML Formats you will be shown the following checkbox in the Save As dialog:
By checking the checkbox you are telling Word to maintain the layout of the document as compared with Word 97-2003. By not checking this checkbox, there is a chance that the document layout will change when saving an old file format to one of the Open XML Formats.
Why would you want to do this? Imagine you have an old .doc file that you have worked on really hard where the layout of the document is of utmost importance. If you want to take advantage of our new Open XML Formats (for file size reduction, security, robustness, etc.) and want to maintain layout of the document, then this option is your best friend.
There are three types of features in Word 2007: features that work exactly the same as older versions of Word (like tables, bold, italics, etc), features that are new to Word 2007 (like equations, themes, content controls, etc), features that are improved in Word 2007 (like Charts, diagrams, etc.). The latter two are features that are affected by Compatibility Mode. Features that are new to Word 2007 are disabled, which means those features are grayed out in the UI. Features that have been improved in Word 2007 have limited functionality in Word 2007, which means the Word 2003 version of the feature is used. In both cases, a tooltip will be shown to you when you hover over a feature.
Here is a table that lists those affected features:
New Features to Word 2007
Features Improved in Word 2007
Themes – Themes
Themes – Colors
Themes – Fonts
Themes – Effects
Content Controls – Rich Text
Content Controls – Plain Text
Content Controls – Picture
Content Controls – Combo Box
Content Controls – Drop Down List
Content Controls – Date Picker
While in Compatibility Mode, if you choose to use SmartArt or Charts you will be given the Word 2003 version of the feature. For example, if you use SmartArt in Compatibility Mode you will be shown the Diagram Gallery dialog from Word 2003:
instead of the Word 2007 SmartArt dialog, which is shown in Full Functionality Mode:
In my next post, I will talk about how to get out of Compatibility Mode and what it means to Convert a document saved in one of our old file formats to one of our new Open XML Formats.
Let me know if you have any specific questions or comments that you would like me to address here or in future posts.
You list "equations" as a new feature in Word 2007. I may be confused here but there has long been an equations feature in Word. Does this mean that you can't create equations in Word 2007 while it is compatibility mode?
That’s a great question Michael. In Word 2007 we have created built-in support for writing and editing equations. This equation feature is brand new to Word and is disabled in Compatibility Mode. Previous versions of Word used the Microsoft Equation 3.0 add-in or the Math Type add-in. Equation 3.0 is still available in Office Word 2007 in Compatibility Mode or otherwise. Zeyad Rajabi (MS)
I am wondering if all the compatibility features are available in automation? What I need to do is to open a .doc file in automation with the PIAs of Word 2007 or open a .docx file in automation with the PIAs of Word 2003 (with the compatibility pack).
Yannic - You should be able to complete the two scenarios you mention in Word 2007 and Word 2003. Zeyad Rajabi (MS)