I need to create a smart looking Word document which will accurately render consistently in Word. Unfortunately the document needs to be a word document, it can not be a PDF.

I know that documents created in LibreOffice and opened in Word, and vice versa sometimes reformat and don't look quite right on the other word processor, but I don't know how consistent it is in word.

Assuming I'm going to be doing quite a lot of formatting, tables and possibly including some graphics, is the rendering entirely consistent between various versions of Word? (eg if a document is written in word 2010 - which is what the local library claims to have installed - will it display identically in newer versions? Likewise if I draft something in Word 2016, will it display identically in Word 2010 and Word 2013). From a view/formatting perspective, is there any difference if I do this work online in Office 365 (from my Linux desktop)?

FWIW, I'm not worried about versions of Word older then 2010.


Word is surprisingly good at maintaining compatibility between versions. In general opening an older Word document in one version of Word will show it exactly as it was originally intended. The exception is the change in default format between Word 2003 and Word 2007 from .doc to .docx, which you are not concerned about.

In general I'd simply recommend using a recent version of Word and saving it in its default format. At this stage anyone who uses Word should be able to open a .docx as the last version not to support it was Word 2003.


You can use the built in compatibility checker 1 2 for your document if you are unsure:

  1. Click the File tab, and then click Info.

  2. Click Check for Issues, and then click Check Compatibility.

Any issues between the versions are listed under Summary in the Compatibility Checker window.

This is supported in the following software: Excel for Office 365, Word for Office 365, PowerPoint for Office 365, Excel 2019, Word 2019, PowerPoint 2019, Visio Professional 2019, Visio Standard 2019, Excel 2016, Word 2016, PowerPoint 2016, Visio 2013, Visio Professional 2016, Visio Standard 2016, Excel 2013, Word 2013, PowerPoint 2013, Excel 2010, Word 2010, PowerPoint 2010, Excel Starter 2010, Visio Online Plan 2 and Word Starter 2010

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.