How to Change a New Word Document to an Old Version

Written by chloe lewis
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Microsoft Word has many versions, beginning with 1983 under the moniker "Mulit-Tool Word." Unfortunately, the numerous incarnations have not all been compatible. Documents created with Word 2007 for Windows and Word 2008 for Macintosh have a default file format, ".docx," which is not compatible with earlier versions of the program using ".doc" file extensions. However, both Word 2007 and Word 2008 provide an option to save individual files in the older format, or to change the default file extension used when saving all files.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


    Word 2007 (Microsoft Windows)

  1. 1

    Open Word 2007, and open the document you wish to convert from ".docx" to an earlier format.

  2. 2

    Click the "Office" button in the upper left corner of the screen.

  3. 3

    Move your pointer to "Save As" and a side menu will pop out.

  4. 4

    Select the option for "Word 97-2003." This will save your file in .doc format.

    Word 2008 (Mac OS)

  1. 1

    Open Word 2008, and open the document in you wish to convert from ".docx" to an earlier format.

  2. 2

    Click "File" from the top menu.

  3. 3

    Select "Save as."

  4. 4

    From "Format" select the document type you wish to save the file as, "Word 97-2004 Document (.doc)" being the most common.

Tips and warnings

  • When you convert a Word document from ".docx" to an older file type such as ".doc" you may lose some formatting changes. In Word 2008, run the "Compatibility Report" option under the "Save As" menu to determine the effects, if any, the file type conversion will have. In Word 2007, click the "Office" button in the toolbar, and navigate to "Prepare," then click "Run Compatibility Checker."
  • To have Word 2007 default to ".doc" instead of ".docx," click on the "Office" button. Then click the "Word Options" button. Select "Save" from the options bar on the left, and select "Word 97-2003" from the "Save files in this format" drop down section. Click "OK." Now your files will save as ".doc" by default.

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