Changing the Default Document Format

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated July 14, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


Normally, Word saves your documents in what is known as "Word format." That means that the documents are stored in a format based on XML. This format may not be easily understood by other versions of Word, nor by other programs.

If you do a lot of work creating documents for other versions of Word or other programs, you may want to specify a different default file format for your documents. Word makes this easy by following these steps:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. Click the Save option at the left side of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Save option of the Word Options dialog box.

  4. Use the Save Files In This Format drop-down list to select a default file format.
  5. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5983) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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