How to Check You File Compatibility with Earlier Versions of Excel

Some new features in later version of Excel cannot work in earlier versions. Therefore, you need to check the compatibility of certain Excel files.

Suppose you have created a file in Excel 2010, and you need to send it to other people. However, the version he uses is Excel 2003. When he opens it in his application, he may see some errors in certain cells. To avoid such confusion, you could check the compatibility before sending the file to him.

Activate Compatibility Checker

Here we present the steps to check compatibility.

  1. Click “File” in the ribbon.
  2. Next click the button “Check for Issues”.
  3. In the submenu, choose the option “Check Compatibility”. Thus, you have activated the “Compatibility Checker”.Compatibility Checker

Check Compatibility

Now in the compatibility checker, you can check the occurrences that may appear in earlier versions.

  1. Click the button “Select versions to show”.Select Versions to Show
  2. And then choose the Excel version that you need. You can also keep the default setting.
  3. Therefore, all the issues relating to compatibility will be listed in the summary part.

There are two different kinds of occurrences: Significant loss of functionality and Minor loss of fidelity. Usually the compatibility issues will have relations with formulas. For each issue, there will be a thorough explanation. If you click the “Find”, you will directly move to the target area and the cursor will position at the target range. Thus, you can make some modifications to inform the receiver. Besides, if you need more information on a particular problem, you can click “Help”.

  1. To make sure that there will be no problem on compatibility for other people, you can check the option “Check compatibility when saving this workbook”.Check Compability

On the other hand, if the file format is an earlier version, such as Excel 97-2003 workbook, the compatibility checker will automatically pop up when you save the file.

  1. Except for checking those occurrences one by one, you can also create a compatibility report. Just click the button “Copy to New Sheet”, and then the sheet will be created in your file.Compatibility Report

In this report, all the problems will appear in it. And in column E, the cells will link to the original places. Thus, you can refer to this report to check compatibility easily.

Take Actions to a Suspicious Excel File

Excel has long been victim to malicious virus and malware. Whenever you find your file suspicious, you need to be more cautious. Even a tiny sign can be the precursor of a severe Excel corruption. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is to figure out the reason behind the unusual behavior. If you are not sure how to deal with Excel corruption, you can seek to an Excel repair tool for help. With its potent function and the advanced technology, almost all the problems in Excel can be handled easily.

Author Introduction:

Anna Ma is a data recovery expert in DataNumen, Inc., which is the world leader in data recovery technologies, including word recovery and outlook repair software products. For more information visit

One response to “How to Check You File Compatibility with Earlier Versions of Excel”

  1. This is useful info, of which I will take note. However, first choice should surely be to distribute an Excel file containing hard data only – no embedded formulas. In this case, version checking is not necessary.

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