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

In this article, we demonstrate how to remove Compatibility Mode in Excel. Compatibility Mode is a viewing mode in Excel for all versions of Excel files. As Microsoft Excel has multiple versions, Compatibility Mode ensures the viewability of an Excel workbook (older or newer) in any Excel version (old or new). For instance, if we open an Excel file saved in the Excel version of 2007 in Excel 2019 or any other version except 2007, the Excel file will open in Compatibility Mode. This phenomenon also occurs in vice versa.

compatibility mode-How to Remove Compatibility Mode in Excel

Download Excel Workbook

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

Checking Compatibility Mode in Excel

In a scenario, you get an Excel file saved in older versions of Excel (i.e., Excel 1997 to 2003) from external sources other than what you are using. After opening the workbook, you see the workbook name at the top of the workbook in filename-Compatibility Mode format. See the following screenshot to clarify the instance.

Checking compatibility mode

You can also see the Accessibility customize bar status option indicating Unavailable as the dataset is in Compatibility Mode.

Finding Compatible Mode Type or Excel Version of a File

We know just by looking at the Worksheet that any file is in Compatible Mode. However, it doesn’t indicate which Compatible Mode is the Workbook or Excel file in. To find the Compatible Mode type or Excel version of the file follow the below sequence,

Go to the File ribbon as depicted in the following screenshot.

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 (from the options).

Check Compatibility option

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

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 Excel newer versions, Excel shows Compatibility Mode note after the file’s name at the top of any workbooks.

2 Easy Ways to Remove Compatibility Mode in Excel

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

Let’s say after opening a dataset, we encounter Compatibility Mode appearing in the tail of the file name. Therefore, it’s obvious that the file is saved in a different version of Excel than ours. It’s quite risky to work with the dataset as it is in the Compatible Mode. Because we won’t be able to use all the new features that are available in the current versions of Excel. As a result, we have to move from Compatibility Mode to Normal Mode by saving the Excel file in newer file formats like .xlsx.

Step 1: Hover to the File ribbon as depicted in the screenshot.

save as option-How to Remove Compatibility Mode in Excel

Step 2: Afterward Select Save As option > Select a Location (i.e., This Computer) (where you want to store the file) > Select Excel Workbook (*.xlsx) as the saving format.

Selecting file format

You can see the previous version of the file is in the Excel older version (i.e., Excel 97-2003 Workbook (*.xlsx)).

Step 3: Click on Save.

file saving

Excel saves a duplicate of the file in the new format (i.e., Excel Workbook(*.xlsx)) and you can find the duplicate in the stored folder.

duplicate file

Step 4: Open the duplicate newer Excel file you just saved in Step 3. You see no Compatibility Mode written in the file name similar to the image below.

Final result-How to Remove Compatibility Mode in Excel

You also see the Accessibility status as Good to go since the file is in the new format (i.e., xlsx Excel format). And you can apply all the features available in your Excel version to the workbook.

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

In the previous method, we created a duplicate version of a Worksheet to deal with the Compatibility Mode. In this case, we convert the old format saved file version to the current file format. By converting the file to the current file format (i.e., xlsx or others), we’ll be able to use all the features available in the current version of Excel. To convert the file format to the current format, follow the below steps.

Step 1: Move the mouse cursor to the File ribbon option. Select File.

Convert file format-How to Remove Compatibility Mode in Excel

Step 2: Clicking on the File ribbon takes you to the Excel Option Menu. Select Info (from the left side of the window) > Select Convert (indicating Compatibility Mode on the right side of the window).

Info options

Step 3: Excel pops up a window saying Excel converts the Workbook to the current file format…. Click OK.

Confirmation window

Step 4: Clicking OK the previous step brings up another window saying Excel has converted… the file to the current file format.

Click YES.

Converting to current format

Now, after getting back to the worksheet, you see that all the steps lead to removing the Compatibility Mode and enabling the file to use all new features of the current Excel version.

Final result-How to Remove Compatibility Mode in Excel

To ensure the conversion, you can check whether the Compatibility Mode note is still in the tail of the file name or not and the Accessibility status. You can see the Compatibility Mode note has been removed and the Accessibility status says good to go indicating the removal of Compatibility Mode.

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⧭ Things Keep in Mind

🔁 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.

🔁 After converting the file from the old file format to the current file format, delete the old format file in order to avoid interchanging while using the file.


In this article, we discuss Compatibility Mode and its removal. We use Excel’s Save As as an option to save a duplicate of any older formatted file in the current format. However, the Convert option offers direct conversion of the formatted file to the current format. You can use any of the two methods depending on how you want your workbook exported. Hope this article provides all the necessary aspects to understand and remove the Compatibility Mode. Comment if you have further inquiries or have something to add.

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Maruf Islam

Maruf Islam

My self, Maruf Islam, an engineer and Excel & VBA Content developer on Exceldemy. I enjoy solving problems, finding workable solutions, and most of the part I really like to take on challenges. On Exceldemy I write articles discussing various way outs of Microsoft Excel's stuck ons.

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