Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007 and 2010. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Formatting Differences between Word Versions.

Formatting Differences between Word Versions

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 8, 2021)


Greg's office has a mixture of machines, all running different versions of Word. Some are running Word 2000, some Word 2003, some Word 2007, and others Word 2010. The folks in the office frequently have to exchange documents for editing. Whenever Greg receives a document prepared with an older version of Word and opens it in Word 2010, the line spacing and even the font spacing are frequently different, so much so that the pagination can be completely different on the two versions. Greg is wondering what causes this and if there is a cure.

There are a lot of factors that go into determining how Word renders a document—so many that it is sometimes hard to pinpoint the cause for any given problem. There are a couple of things you can check out, however.

One possible cause is the printer drivers used on the different machines. Different printer drivers can render different fonts in subtly different ways, which can affect pagination over the course of a document. Check to make sure that the two machines have the same version of printer driver, and that they are both using the same printer driver.

Once the printer drivers are the same, you will need to make sure that both versions of Word use the printer driver to do their layout. In Word 2010, follow these steps:

  1. Display the File tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the Options button. Word displays the Word Options dialog box.
  3. Click Advanced at the left side of the dialog box.
  4. Scroll to the bottom of the options and use the Lay Out This Document As If Created In drop-down list to choose which version of Word should be considered the standard for layout.
  5. Click OK.

Now, in the other machines in the office, display the compatibility options and make sure that they are set the same way you set them in Word 2010. (How you display and change the compatibility options depends on the version of Word you are using. In most versions through Word 2003 display the Compatibility tab of the Options dialog box. In Word 2007 display the Word Options dialog box and click Advanced at the left side. The compatibility options are at the bottom of those displayed on the screen.) Hopefully the printed versions on the two machines will now be much closer to identical.

If that still doesn't work, then you might try round-tripping the document through the RTF filter. Save the document in RTF format, then reload it from the RTF file. This may help to clear up any formatting idiosyncrasies that may have crept into the document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (10418) applies to Microsoft Word 2007 and 2010. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Formatting Differences between Word Versions.

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. ...


Saving in Two Locations

When you save a workbook to disk, you may want to automatically save a duplicate workbook in a separate location. This ...

Discover More

Turning Off Capital Corrections

If you type two capital letters at the beginning of a word, Word assumes that you made a typing error and will attempt to ...

Discover More

Comparing Document Versions

Do you need to compare two versions of a document to each other? Word provides a tool that can make this easy, as ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Working with Other People's Files

When you get files from other people, you may want a quick way to apply your formatting to their text. Provided that the ...

Discover More

Automatic AutoCorrect Exceptions for Beginning Sentences

When automatically capitalizing the beginning of sentences, Word relies on how you historically have done your typing. ...

Discover More

Formatting Page Numbers

Need to format the page numbers you added to your document? Word makes it easy, using the same techniques you use to ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven less than 7?

2021-07-23 11:05:51


Or... get everyone on the same version of Word. Or at least something from this decade, for instance.

2021-07-12 17:52:37


"Lay Out This Document As If Created In " is only available in Compatibility options if the file is an older .doc file or if it is opened in the compatibility mode.

2017-10-26 17:30:12


Don't see this in Office 2016

2014-06-01 16:20:41

Rohn S

Here is the lowdown for some of the changes to Office 2013.

Short form, they dumbed it down to fit on a 7" "smart" phone. Thanks for nothing on my 27" monitor ... <sigh>

"Office 2013 has undergone a substantial shift to a relatively new display facility, Direct2D, and a new text facility, DirectWrite. These are the display facilities that are used on Windows Phone 8, the new Windows RT slates, and optionally on Windows 7 & 8. Up through Office 2010, the Windows Graphics Device Interface (GDI) and complex script support by Uniscribe were used."

full Story :

2012-11-01 15:46:35


Hi Allen,

Stuck with this problemn since 2 days. Any help appreciated.

We have an RTF template say A.rtf. The invoices for our client are generated
using this template.

I want to replace a line in that template with an image.

The last time somebody eidted the RTF was an year back, that guy left the

Before that the same operation was performed on that templte 2.5 yr back.
That guy does not remember the exact procedure now.

He used Word 2003. I am using Word 2007.

I tried lot of ways to edit the RTf, but am unable to do so. I am able to edit the
file as such, but dont know why the code which further refers this RTF gives errors.

Ideally, if an replace the Text in this RTF at the exact same location, we are not
expecting any the further code to give errors.

I see this as some sort of RTF format or some other issue.

Deadline approching very fas

This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.


FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.