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: Setting a Default Document Format.

Setting a Default Document Format

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 18, 2014)

Normally, Word saves your documents in what is known as Word format. Technically, this means different things for different versions of Word. One simple way of looking at it, however, is that it means your documents are stored in a peculiar way that is understood by your version of Word, but may not be understood by other programs.

If you do a lot of work creating documents for other versions of Word or other programs, you may want to specify a different default file format for your documents. Word makes this easy by following these steps:

  1. Choose Options from the Tools menu. Word displays the Options dialog box.
  2. Make sure the Save tab is selected. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Save tab of the Options dialog box.

  4. Use the Save Word Files As drop-down list to select a default file format.
  5. Click on OK.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1253) 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: Setting a Default Document Format.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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