The way Word lays out a page has changed with almost every version. Depending on what you do, you may like the new or prefer the old. For this reason, and for backwards compatibility, all the accumulated changes have been kept as growing list of “compatibility layout options”. The user can activate/de-activate these for each document individually, or as a group.
The following screen shot shows part of the options list for Word 2010. Changing the selection in “Lay out this document as if created in:” will change numerous settings to emulate the layout used in the selected version. Or, if you’re interested in only one setting, such as the bottommost “Don’t use HTML paragraph autospacing”, you just check that box. (This option adds “Space Before” and “Space After” settings, rather than applying just one of the settings.)
In Word 2013, if you create a new document from a 2013 version of Normal.dotm, you get a greatly reduced list of compatibility layout options and no possibility to work with the old ones. They also aren’t available through the object model. If you try to apply one, you get Run-time error 6313 “One of the values passed to this property or method is out of range for this file format.”
Here’s how the same dialog looks in 2013. There are only the seven “Layout options” and nothing in “Compatibility options” You’d think perhaps you could somehow scroll down, but you can’t.
If you need to use the old layout options in Word 2013 you can either
- Start with a document or template created in an older version of Word OR
- You can save a Word 2013 document to the Word 97-2003 file format (which will enable the options) and then save it to *.docx, being careful to retain compatibility mode with older versions.
Now you can use full list of the Layout options.
(The dropdown list “Compatibility Options for” contains an entry “All New documents” giving the impression that you could somehow use this, starting from a document in “Compatibility Mode” in order to get to these options and set some as a default. But that is not the case – the list of options simply disappears when that entry is selected.)
A related problem is how Word 2013 deals with tab stops positioned in the right margin. A Word 2013 document doesn’t allow or honour tab stops positioned in the right margin unless they’re in a table. If you open a document from an older version of Word the tab stops are respected and you can tab to them until the document is saved in such a way as to remove “Compatibility Mode” from the title bar. At this point, any text that was positioned at such a tab stop is moved to a new line, as shown in the next screen shot. The only solution is to retain Compatibiliy Mode, as described above.