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Compatibility: Your Common Microsoft Office Issues Solved

Compatibility issues with different versions of Microsoft Office are common reasons customers call My Choice Software after purchase, so here are a few things to keep in mind when you are upgrading to new software.

compatibility, microsoft office, office 2016, office 2013, office 2010, office 2007, my choice software

Sometimes when a customer buys a version of Microsoft Office from My Choice Software, he or she may face some hindrance with either installing the new software or accessing files once installed. Sometimes the answer lies in the customer’s machine or the customer’s lack of knowledge about the new software, and our representatives do their best to fill in the gaps. One of the more common calls we receive regard compatibility between different versions of Microsoft Office. However, these issues can be avoided by just remembering a few key things when you are upgrading to a new version:

Office 2013 and Office 2016 Do Not Play Well Together

If you have Office 2013 installed on your machine currently, or have standalone programs from Office 2013 (such as Word 2013), you may run into problems when attempting to install Office 2016. Unfortunately, you cannot run certain Office 2013 applications alongside those in Office 2016.

Many of you may have seen the error message “Stop, you should wait to install Office 2016” pop up on your screen during installation. This message indicates that you will have to uninstall your remaining Office 2013 applications before proceeding to install Office 2016. For example, if you have Word 2013 on your computer, it will have to be uninstalled to make room for Word 2016 since it is part of the Office 2016 suite.

However, a notable exception is that if your 2013 software is not part of the Office 2013 suite (such as Project 2013 or Visio 2013), then you can install Office 2016 without a compatibility issue. This issue may still occur with earlier versions of Office (2007, 2010), so be aware that you may have to uninstall those earlier applications as well if they conflict with Office 2016.

32-bit vs. 64-bit: Which Do You Choose?

For every kind of Microsoft Office, there is a 32-bit version and a 64-bit version. Which version you should get depends on the type of machine you are using, so be sure to check the user manual for your computer to find out which version is best. Your current software is also a good indicator of which version is acceptable for your machine.

What is the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit systems? A layman explanation would be that a 64-bit system allows users to transfer more data, adding more capacity. A 32-bit application could work with a 64-bit capable system, but a 64-bit application would not be compatible with a 32-bit only system.

The compatibility issues arise when you attempt to start mixing the two versions on one machine. For example, if you have been using a 64-bit system, make sure that the software version you are buying and installing is a 64-bit version. When you reach checkout, be sure to check if the software version you are purchasing is compatible with your system.

Office 2016: For Windows or Mac?

Another accidental compatibility issue that comes up often is installing Office 2016 on a PC or Mac. The cross-platform compatibility of Office 365 software suites may have contributed to this confusion among some customers, so we would like to clear the air. Since Office 2016 is a perpetual license, you buy the software once at a single price.

However, Office 2016 is not eligible for significant feature upgrades like Office 365 suites, which is a subscription-based solution. Additionally, Office 2016 has two platform versions: one made for PCs running Windows, and one made for Mac running iOS. Since the two operating systems differ vastly, so does the software they accept. Before making your purchase at checkout, ensure that you are buying the correct version for your machine type.

  • “Office 2016” - meant for PCs running Windows
  • “Office 2016 for Mac” - meant for Macs running iOS

Opening different file versions in Microsoft Word

As with any other kind of product you buy, newer versions gain new features that the older versions did not have. For Microsoft Office, it’s applications gain new tools and features that were not available or as advanced in older versions. Compatibility issues arise when attempting to open or edit documents in apps such as Word.

Much in the same way Word 2003 could not open the newer .DOCX file type from Word 2007 forward, many features prevalent in Word 2013 and Word 2016 will either not be accessible at all or be very limited when opened in Word 2007 or Word 2010. Customers should be aware of the following limits in backward compatibility between Word 2007/2010 and Word 2013/2016:

Limits on documents created in Word 2013/2016 and opened in Word 2010

  • Apps for Office will not run
  • Videos are converted to images with hyperlinks to the web video
  • All replies to comments become top-level individual comments
  • Comments marked “Done” become regular comments
  • By default, headings are expanded, and properties are removed
  • Repeating section content controls become static text
  • XML mappings on rich text content controls are removed

Limits on documents created in Word 2013/2016 and opened in Word 2007

  • Apps for Office will not run
  • Videos are converted to images with hyperlinks to the web video
  • All replies to comments become top-level individual comments
  • Comments marked “Done” become regular comments
  • By default, headings are expanded, and properties are removed
  • Newer numbering formats become standard numerals (1,2,3, etc.)
  • Shapes and text boxes become effects available in Word 2007
  • Text effects are removed
  • Alternative text on tables is removed
  • OpenType features are removed
  • WordArt effects are removed
  • Repeating section content controls become static text

Limits on documents created in Word 2010 and opened in Word 2007

  • Newer numbering formats become standard numerals (1,2,3, etc.)
  • Shapes and text boxes become effects available in Word 2007
  • Text effects are removed
  • Alternative text on tables is removed
  • OpenType features are removed
  • WordArt effects are removed
  • Repeating section content controls become static text
  • Blocking author feature is removed

If you are ever in need of more advanced training in your purchased software, My Choice Software offers software training courses to help you become an expert. Contact us today about our services and any other compatibility issues you may come across; we’re here to help!


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