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Formatting Differences between Word Versions

Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Formatting Differences between Word Versions.

Greg's office has a mixture of machines, some running Office 2000 and others running Office 2003. The folks in the office frequently have to exchange documents for editing. Whenever Greg receives a document prepared with Word 2000 and opens it in Word 2003, 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 2003, follow these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Compatibility tab is displayed.
  3. Using the Recommended Options For drop-down list, choose Microsoft Word 2000. This ensures that Word 2003 will be consistent with some of the rendering options used in Word 2000.
  4. Scroll through the list of options and make sure that the Use Printer Metrics to Lay Out Document check box is selected.
  5. Click OK.

Now, in Word 2000, follow steps 1, 2, 4, and 5. 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 (358) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Formatting Differences between Word Versions.

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Comments for this tip:

deku    24 May 2016, 07:49
Hey Allen
Do you still looking here?

I've problem with rtf files saved in Word 2003 and 2010.
The problem is with INCLUDEPICTURE field.

In 2003 is ok, but in 2010 is problem - generated file is different and in 2010 after including picture I dont'have INCLUDEPICTURE field (I have picture).

1) when I create file in 2003 and open in 2003 there is ok
2) when I create file in 2003 and open in 2010 there is ok
3) when I create file in 2010 and open in 2003 there is ok
4) when I create file in 2010 and open in 2010 there is NOT ok!!!

What's the different? I'll try explain but my english is not very good.

In 2003 I'm creating new empty file and I puting-in an image using:
Insert>Image>from file> Insert (connect with file) (I'm not sure translation - I have different language)

In document is created field (Alt+F9 to switch field codes):
{ INCLUDEPICTURE "C:\\....\\myFile.png" \* MERGEFORMAT \d }

But after similar procedure in 2010 there is not field! I see only image!

The funny thing is that, when I create empty file in 2003, save in 2003 and open in 2010 and insert image - there is ok!

Do you have any solution to have field?
David Jarratt    23 Jan 2014, 14:56
I use Microsoft Office 2007. When I use the Microsoft translator and print the document the text is very small, much smaller than the typed document.

When not using the translator the print is normal.

How can I over come this with the translator documents.

Many Thanks David Jarratt.
oliver    09 Jul 2013, 00:01
They just went off on one tangent - my problem is when I am working on a script say, or book, I save what I have written and close it. The next day I open it up from my desktop and the words, sentences and paragraphs are scrambled.

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