How to Remove Compatibility Mode in Excel (2 Easy Ways)

Opening an Excel file that was originally saved in an older version of Excel (i.e., Excel 1997 to 2003) will require Excel to open the workbook in filename-Compatibility Mode format as shown in the following screenshot.

Checking compatibility mode

You can also see the Accessibility is Unavailable as the dataset is in Compatibility Mode. 

Finding Compatible Mode Type or Excel Version of a File


  • Go to File on the Ribbon.

Finding Compatibility Mode

  •  Select the Info option (on the left side of the window).
  • Choose the Check for Issues option (on the right side of the window).
  • Select Check Compatibility.

Check Compatibility option

  • The Compatibility Checker window opens.
  • In the window, you see the saved file version in Excel as shown below.

Compatibility checker window

Excel Common File Types Regarding Excel Versions

Excel Version for Common File File Extension
Excel 1997-2003 .xls
 Excel Workbook (newer version) .xlsx
Excel Macro-Enabled Workbook (newer version) .xlsm

If any file saved with the .xls extension gets opened in a newer Excel version, Excel shows the Compatibility Mode note after the file’s name at the top of any workbooks.

Method 1: Using Save As Option to Remove Compatibility Mode in Excel


  • Select File on the ribbon.


save as option-How to Remove Compatibility Mode in Excel

  • Select Save As.
  • Select a Location.
  • Select Excel Workbook (*.xlsx) as the format.


Selecting file format

  • Click Save.

file saving

Excel will save a duplicate of the file in the new format (*.xlsx) and you can find the duplicate in the stored folder.

duplicate file

  • Open the duplicate newer Excel file. There is no Compatibility Mode as shown below.

Final result-How to Remove Compatibility Mode in Excel

The Accessibility status is Good to go as the file is in the new format (i.e., xlsx Excel format).

Read More: How to Remove Dotted Lines in Excel

Method 2 – Using Convert Option (Leaving Compatibility Mode) to Remove Compatibility Mode in Excel


  • Select File on the ribbon.

Convert file format-How to Remove Compatibility Mode in Excel


  • Select Info.
  • Select Convert.


Info options


  • Click Ok in the dialog box that appears.


Confirmation window


  • Click YES in the next dialog box.

Converting to current format

Compatibility Mode has been removed from the file.

Final result-How to Remove Compatibility Mode in Excel


Read More: How to Remove Panes in Excel

⧭ Things Keep in Mind

You can save any workbook as an 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.

After converting the file from the old file format to the current file format, delete the old file to avoid mix ups while using the file.

Download Excel Workbook

We add an Excel workbook saved in older format to practice the described methods below.


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Maruf Islam
Maruf Islam

MARUF ISLAM is an excellent marine engineer who loves working with Excel and diving into VBA programming. For him, programming is like a superhero tool that saves time when dealing with data, files, and the internet. His skills go beyond the basics, including ABACUS, AutoCAD, Rhinoceros, Maxsurf, and Hydromax. He got his B.Sc in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering from BUET, and now he's switched gears, working as a content developer. In this role, he creates techy content... Read Full Bio

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