If you want to use the modern features of Word 2019 or Office 365, you need to update your Word documents if they are based on an older version of Word software. The update ensures that your documents are compatible with newer versions of Word and that you can use the new formatting and other tools available in the latest versions of the software.
Converting an old Word document to a newer version takes just a few clicks if Word software is installed on your computer. When the file is converted, you will see that it has a new extension that only new Word files use.
Upgrade Word documents with Word
If you have Microsoft Office installed on your computer, you probably also have Word installed. You can use this software without any add-ons to update your Word documents.
Right-click the document you want to convert and select Open With and then Word. This will ensure that the file is opened in the correct software.
When the document opens, click the File tab in the upper left corner. Then select the Info tab in the left sidebar and click Convert in the right pane.
A dialog box will appear on your screen asking you to confirm your action. Here’s what he basically wants to tell you:
- Your old document will be replaced with a new, updated one.
- Minor layout changes will be made.
- Click Tell Me More if I would like to know more about the process. Also, if you do not want to see this dialog for future conversions, please check the box.
- Finally, click OK to start the conversion.
Another way to refresh your document is to use Word’s save menu. While the document is open, click the File tab and select Save As.
Then select your Word document from the Format drop-down menu and click Save. Keep in mind that this does not replace the old version of the document, but rather creates a completely new copy of the document based on the newer Word software.
You can follow the steps above to update as many old Word documents to newer versions as you like.
Also, since it’s just a matter of a few clicks and you have the option to turn off the dialog box, you can easily convert multiple documents in a short period of time.
Upgrade Word documents to Microsoft Word Online
If you don’t have Word software installed on your computer and you prefer to use the online Word application, you can also use it to convert Word documents.
An online application provides almost the same functionality and interface as a stand-alone one.
Open a modern web browser and go to the Office for the web site. Once there, log into your account if you haven’t already.
When the main interface loads, select the Start New option and select Download and Open. This will allow you to download the old Word file from your computer.
Go to the folder where your document is located and select it to upload it to the Internet.
When the file is downloaded and opened on your screen, click on the “Edit Document” option and then select “Edit in Browser”.
A message will appear stating that it will first convert your file and then allow you to edit it. It also says that a copy of your original document will be created.
Click “Convert” on the invitation.
If you’d like to see the changes to the layout, click View. Or click “Edit” to start editing the document.
To get a copy of your document for offline access, click the File menu and select Save As and then Download a Copy.
Click Download on the next screen to start downloading the document to your computer.
The downloaded document should be an updated version of your old Word document.
Now that your documents are up to date, you can freely use any modern Word features in them. You can use new editing tools, use a new file extension, etc. without worry.
However, keep in mind that if you need to send the file to someone and they are using an older version of the software, they will not be able to see the new changes made to the document.
What is Microsoft Word Compatibility Mode?
When you open an older version of a document in the latest version of Word software, you’ll find text that says “Compatibility Mode” next to the document’s title at the top. Have you ever wondered what this text means?
Compatibility Mode is actually the mode used in newer versions of Word to ensure that when old documents are edited, they are not changed with the latest editing tools in the program.
This is because Word doesn’t want you to add features to your old documents that older versions of Word don’t understand. For example, if you add a new formatting option available in Word 2016 to a Word 2004 document, the Word 2004 version does not recognize the formatting. Then he can show the cipher text document and so on.
Compatibility Mode ensures that this doesn’t happen and you can only use formatting tools and other tools that are fully compatible with your current version of the Word document.