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Jan's Working with Words

    AutoTools: Make Changes

Sometimes you have a document that you need to edit. Maybe someone else wrote the basic document and you need to proof it and format it. Or perhaps you have an old document that needs to be updated or corrected.

In this section, you will learn how to add, delete, modify, and move text. Then you learn how to apply new formatting to the whole document at once.

For Your Information: File Format Versions

What happens when you try to open a old file in a newer version of the program? Or the other way around, open a new file in an older version of the program? It depends, of course!

No new file format: All works as expected!
Just because the program is a new version does not mean that the file format is also new. That's good!

Microsoft Office versions 97 through 2003 all used the same file formats (.doc for Word).  Office 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016 all use the same new file formats (.docx for Word). There are a few new features in these versions so you may still get prompted to save in the 'new' format, even though the extension is the same.

NEW file format in OLD program:
Usually it won't open!

For example, Word 97 through Word 2003 cannot open a document saved in the docx format by Office 2007 or later.

Work around: There is a compatibility pack Icon: Off site from Microsoft that you can download and install that will let an older version of Word open a file in the docx format, but you must save it with the old file format. Any features that were new to the new file format would, of course, be lost.

Icon: WarningNo round-tripping: Suppose you have a Word 2007, 2010, 2013, or 2016 file and you open and save it in an older version of Word. Later you open it again in the original version of Word. Problems! Some features are frozen instead of updating automatically. Some parts may now be a graphic. The document will not behave as a normal document would. It can be quite frustrating if you do not realize why!

Microsoft has a table on the page about the Compatibility Pack that explains what you lose Icon: Off site.

OLD file format in NEW program:
Most programs are backwards compatible. They want you to at least be able to open documents that were written in the old versions of the program. Sometimes you are forced to save any changes in the new file format. That may not be so good!

Microsoft Office 2007, 2010,2013, and 2016 allow you to work with and save your documents in either the new or the old file format. A document in the old format has an note on the Title bar: [Compatibility Mode]. Newer features will be not be available in Compatibility Mode. Those buttons and controls will be grayed out.

  • Advantage to sticking with old file format:
    People who are still using an older version of the program can open and work with your document. Very important if the document has to go back and forth!
  • Disadvantage to sticking with old file format:
    New features of the program won't be available while editing or when viewing and editing later with the new program.