[Fix] Microsoft Word Always Shows “[Compatibility Mode]” Text in Titlebar

Recently an AskVG reader "Prajwal" contacted me regarding an strange problem in Microsoft Office suite. Here is the email content:

Whenever I open Office Word 2013 (blank document), it always opens in compatibility mode. It doesn't happen in PowerPoint or Excel programs. Can you help me in solving this problem?

Its a known problem in Microsoft Word program and I have received lots of emails in past regarding the same issue.

"Compatibility Mode" was a new feature introduced by Microsoft in Office 2007 version. It was developed to support old documents and files which were created using previous versions of Office suite such as Office 2003, etc. When you try to open a document created in older version of Word in a new version of Word program, the document window shows [Compatibility Mode] text in titlebar as shown in following screenshot:


But the problem occurs when the [Compatibility Mode] text always appears in titlebar of all Word documents whether its a new document or an existing document.

This problem can occur in any version of Microsoft Word which provides Compatibility Mode feature such as Word 2007, 2010 or 2013.

If you are also facing this issue, following methods will definitely help you in fixing it:

  • METHOD 1: Using Microsoft Word Options
  • METHOD 2: Deleting Default Document Template
  • METHOD 3: Using Registry Editor

METHOD 1: Using Microsoft Word Options

It might be possible that you changed the default file format to save new documents in Word which caused this issue. Follow these steps to restore the default file save format:

1. Open Microsoft Word, click on File Menu or ORB and then click on Options.

2. Now go to "Save" tab and select "Word Document (*.docx)" from the drop-down list given in "Save files in this format" section.


3. Apply the changes and restart Word. Now it should not show [Compatibility Mode] text in titlebar.

PS: Also try to uncheck "Open e-mail attachments and other uneditable files in reading view" option present in General tab.

METHOD 2: Deleting Default Document Template

If the above method doesn't work, it might be possible that you upgraded Office suite from an older version in your system instead of a clean install. Sometimes upgrading from previous version can make the default document template file corrupt and it starts creating all new documents in Compatibility Mode.

In such situation, you'll need to reset the default template for creating new documents using following steps:

1. Type %appdata%\Microsoft\Templates in RUN dialog box and press Enter. It'll open Templates folder in Windows Explorer.

2. Look for Normal.dotm file in the folder. Either delete the file or rename it to some other name.


3. That's it. Open Word and it'll automatically create a new Normal.dotm file in Templates folder which will solve the issue.

METHOD 3: Using Registry Editor

If above mentioned 2 methods don't work for you, here is a Registry tweak to fix the issue:

1. Type regedit in RUN dialog box and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.

2. Now go to following key:

for Office 2007: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Options
for Office 2010: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Word\Options
for Office 2013: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Word\Options

3. In right-side pane, look for a DWORD CompatMode. If you find it, delete it. If it doesn't exist, create a new DWORD and set its name to CompatMode and set its value to 0


4. Close Registry Editor and restart Word. It should solve the problem.

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Posted in: Microsoft Office, Troubleshooting

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