[Fixed] Excel Compatibility Mode Not Responding

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In this article, we will learn what to do if compatibility mode is not responding in Excel. Compatibility mode is a very important mode in Excel. We can use the same Excel file in various versions of Excel for this compatibility mode. But, compatibility mode may not work sometimes due to some issues. So, without delay, let’s explore the reason behind not responding to compatibility mode with solutions

What Is Compatibility Mode in Excel?

Compatibility mode is a way that an Excel file can be viewed. When an Excel file is saved to an older version than the current one, it goes into compatibility mode. When a file is in compatibility mode, it may not be able to show all kinds of data and formulas correctly. For example, if you save a new feature in Excel 365, it might not work with Excel 2016 or Excel 2013. Because of this, every Excel user needs to check and change the compatibility mode.

Excel Compatibility Mode Is Not Responding: 2 Reasons with Solutions

For demonstrating the steps we will use the following dataset. The dataset contains information about the sales of a shop. In the scenario, the Excel file is saved in older versions of Excel (i.e., Excel 1997 to 2003). After opening the workbook, you see the workbook name at the top of the workbook in file name – Compatibility Mode format.

excel compatibility mode not responding

Reason 1: MS Office Is Not Working

Excel can sometimes get stuck when you open a file from a previous version. This could happen if MS Office crashed. It can also happen if you are using a cracked version of MS Office, and your cracked file goes missing. So, MS Office needs to be repaired.

2 Reasons with Solutions for Excel Compatibility Mode Not Responding

Solution: Repair MS Office

  • Firstly, go to Settings and choose Apps from the option.

  • In the next step, the Settings window will open up.
  • Then, click on Apps & features in the window.

  • After that, look for Microsoft Office in the Apps & features.
  • Here, the Microsoft Office name can be changed depending on version to version.
  • As we are using version 2019, our app name is below as a figure.
  • After selecting, click on Modify.
  • Later, the repair window will appear.
  • Here, select Online Repair > Repair to start the process.

2 Reasons with Solutions for Excel Compatibility Mode Not Responding

Reason 2: Unable to Edit in Compatibility Mode

Working with the dataset in the Compatible Mode is quite risky. Because we won’t be able to use all the new features in the current versions of Excel. Because of this, sometimes we might not be able to edit the file in compatibility mode. Therefore, we need to switch from Compatibility Mode to Normal Mode.

Solution: Change Compatibility Mode

Now, we will change Compatibility Mode to Normal Mode.

  • Firstly, open the file of the older version.
  • Instantly, you can see that the workbook name has Compatibility Mode just beside the file name.
  • Also, you will notice that the Accessibility is showing Unavailable at the bottom which denotes that it is in compatibility mode.

2 Reasons with Solutions for Excel Compatibility Mode Not Responding

  • For converting the mode, we have to go to the File tab on the workbook.

  • Instantly, a new window will open up.
  • Then, select Info >> Convert from this window.
  • This step automatically starts the conversion process.

  • After selection, you will be directed to the file location.
  • Here, select Excel Workbook as the Save as type to save the file as the current version of Excel.
  • Afterward, click on Save.

2 Reasons with Solutions for Excel Compatibility Mode Not Responding

  • After that, you will find a confirmation message.
  • Now, click Yes and the conversion process will be completed.

  • Finally, observe the Excel worksheet.
  • You will see that the Excel file has been converted to Normal Mode.

How to Fix Compatibility Issues in Excel

Occasionally, you may encounter compatibility difficulties. It usually happens when you use the most recent version of Excel and need to execute a file in an older version of Excel. Fortunately, you can quickly identify and resolve these difficulties by using Compatibility Checker. As a result, follow the steps outlined below to ensure a successful operation.


  • We will use the following Excel file created on Microsoft Office 2019 version.
  • So, we will convert this file to MS Office 1997-2003 version to that we can access the file in very older generations of MS Office.

How to Fix Compatibility Issues in Excel

  • Firstly, select the File tab on the workbook.

  • Instantly, a new window will open up.
  • After that, we will select the Info option in the present window.
  • Now, in the Info window, select Check Compatibility from the Inspect Workbook drop-down menu.

How to Fix Compatibility Issues in Excel

  • Now, the Compatibility Checker window will turn up.
  • Here, we want access of older-generation MS Office.
  • For this reason, click on the drop-down menu of Select versions to show.
  • Then, unselect every version except Excel 19972003.

  • Now, the window will show the issues.
  • 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.
  • In the following step, we will save this file.
  • Therefore, hit the F12 key to open the Save As dialog box.
  • Now, select Excel 972003 Workbook from Save as type to save as that type of Excel file.
  • Then, click Save.

How to Fix Compatibility Issues in Excel

  • After saving, the previous message box can be seen.
  • Press Continue to access the file.
  • Now, you can easily open this Excel file in the older 1997-2003 generation Excel App.

How to Open Excel in Safe Mode

Sometimes, there might have been some issues regarding opening an Excel file. You can open the Excel file in Safe Mode. Let’s see the steps below to open Excel in safe mode:


  • Suppose, we want to open the following Fix Compatibility Mode named file.
  • So, select the file.
  • After that, hold on the Ctrl button and press Enter.
  • Then, the following message box will open up and we will click Yes.

How to Open Excel in Safe Mode

  • As a result, Microsoft Excel will open the file in safe mode.
  • You can see Safe Mode on your workbook name on the top toolbar.

Download Practice Workbook

To practice by yourself, download the following workbook.


In this article, we have demonstrated step-by-step procedures to fix the problem of Excel Compatibility Mode not Responding. There is a practice workbook at the beginning of the article. Go ahead and give it a try. Last but not least, please use the comment section below to post any questions or make any suggestions you might have.

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Sudipta Chandra Sarker
Sudipta Chandra Sarker

Hello! Welcome to my Profile. Currently, I am working and doing research on Microsoft Excel. Here I will be posting articles related to this. My educational degree is BSc in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Bangladesh. I have a great interest in research and development. I always try to gather knowledge from various sources and try to make innovative solutions.

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