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13th January
2010
written by Rob C

Recently one of the Micro Force staff was attempting to do a VLookUp using an Excel 2007 file and a file created in an earlier version of Excel.  The VLookUp would not work and we were at a loss as to why.  We soon realized it was a compatibility issue between the Excel 2007 and the older spreadsheet.  Problem solved and steps were taken to complete the VLookUp but I was not done looking into this.

So I checked the Microsoft Office Online site and what I found out was interesting.  As we learned, there is a backwards compatibility issue between Excel 2007 and older versions.  What I also learned is that when opening an excel file from an older version in 2007, you are not alerted by the program that there will be limitations to using the older file as it is automatically opened in ‘Compatibility Mode’.  The only indication that something is different is in that the words Compatibility Mode will appear in brackets after the file name.

Compatibility Mode, as described on the Microsoft Office Online Site, is turned on automatically and unlike other Office programs you cannot turn compatibility mode off or on manually.  Additionally, if you do a help search for ‘Compatibility Mode’ in Excel you will get a laundry list of issues and functionalities that are not available in Compatibility Mode.  The one I could not find was VLookUp, which obviously is also unavailable.  So, if the next time you are working with older excel files in Excel 2007 and something doesn’t work you are working in Compatibility Mode and you have to re-save the old file in 2007 format to complete your task.

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