How to Use Compatibility Checker in Excel (with Easy Steps)

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Fortunately, many of us use Excel in our business organizations. In any business organization, we use Excel to organize data as per need and make databases for the future. Usually, Compatibility Mode is a viewing mode in various Excel files. In general, Microsoft Excel includes multiple versions. However, it ensures that the file can be viewed in newer or older versions of Excel. In this article, I will show you a step-by-step procedure of how to use the compatibility checker in Excel. Hence, read through the article to learn more and save time.

How to Use Compatibility Checker in Excel: Step-by-Step Procedure

In a scenario, you have an Excel file that is saved in an older version of Excel, such as Excel 1997 to 2003, and you are using the latest version or a newer version of Excel. For instance, if you open the Excel file saved in the Excel version of 2003 in Microsoft Excel 365 or any other version except 2003, the selected file will open automatically in Compatibility Mode or vice versa. After opening the file, you see the workbook name at the top of the workbook in “filename-Compatibility Mode” format. However, you can easily check the compatibility in Excel. Hence, read through the following part in order to learn more.

📌 Step 1: Select Excel File

For the purpose of demonstration, I have used the following sample file and dataset.

Compatibility Checker in Excel Sample Dataset

📌  Step 2: Go to Compatibility Checker

  • Initially, select the File tab.

Check Compatibility in Excel

  • Next, click on the Info option.

  • Afterward, select Check Compatibility from the Check for Issues drop-down menu.

Go to Compatibility Checker in Excel

📌 Step 3: Check Compatibility in Excel

  • Firstly, the Compatibility Checker dialog box will appear.

  • Secondly, press Select versions to show.

Check Compatibility in Excel

  • Thirdly, uncheck or check the versions, and you can change the versions of the compatibility according to your choice.

  • Lastly, press OK in order to close the Compatibility Checker.

Read More: How to Change Compatibility Mode in Excel

Final Output

At last, you will get your desired compatibility. But remember that this is the process of checking and changing the compatibility of your Excel files.

How to Fix Compatibility Issues in Excel

Sometimes, you may find some compatibility issues. Generally, it occurs when you use the latest version of Excel and need to run the file in older versions of Excel. Fortunately, you can easily find and fix those issues by utilizing the Compatibility Checker in Excel. Hence, follow the steps mentioned below in order to complete the operation properly.

📌 Steps:

  • In the beginning, go to the compatibility checker following the Step 1 and 2 mentioned above.
  • Then, check an older version. Here, I have selected Excel 97-2003.

Check Compatibility in Excel

  • Next, it will show the issues in the Summary section.

Fix Compatibility Issues in Excel

  • However, you can check the details of your issue from the Help option.


In this case, the issue is not serious as it is a Minor loss of fidelity. Fortunately, you can solve it easily by saving the file to .xls format.

  • After that, hit the F12 key to open the Save As dialog box.
  • Now, select Excel 97-2003 Workbook from Save as type.

  • In the end, click on Save to save the file, and it may fix the compatibility issues for the older versions.

⧭ Things to Remember

  • First of all, you can save any workbook in the older version (i.e., Excel 97-2003 Workbook(*.xls)) of Excel using current versions of Excel (i.e., Excel 2007 (*.xlsx) and onwards) using the Save As option.
  • Secondly, delete the old format file in order to avoid interchanging while using the file after converting the file from the old file format to the current file format.
  • Finally, you can fix the issues by utilizing the Compatibility Checker, which may arise if you run the file in older versions of Excel.

Download Practice Workbook

You can download the workbook used for the demonstration from the download link below.


These are all the steps you can follow to use the compatibility checker in Excel. Overall, in terms of working with time, we need this for various purposes. I have shown multiple methods with their respective examples, but there can be many other iterations depending on numerous situations. Hopefully, you can now easily create the needed adjustments. I sincerely hope you learned something and enjoyed this guide. Please let us know in the comments section below if you have any queries or recommendations.

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Mehedi Hasan
Mehedi Hasan

Mehedi Hasan, a BSc graduate in Naval Architecture & Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, plays a pivotal role as an Excel & VBA Content Developer at ExcelDemy. Fueled by a profound passion for research and innovation, he actively engages with Excel. In his capacity, Mehedi not only adeptly tackles intricate challenges but also showcases enthusiasm and expertise in navigating tough situations with finesse, underscoring his unwavering dedication to consistently delivering exceptional and high-quality content. He... Read Full Bio

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