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Copyright © 1999-2003 by Howard Kaikow. All rights reserved.
Date: 11 February 1999 (Last revised 9 November 2002)
From: Howard Kaikow <>
Subject: Saving Word documents as an earlier version

As newer versions of Word have more features than earlier versions of Word, there are inherent problems in saving a Word document as an earlier version of Word and expecting to be able to edit/view the document in earlier versions with no problems. Note that saving as RTF does not eliminate these problems.

A simple example is the following.

When Word 97 (or later version) saves a document in the format of an earlier version of Word, Word fields may be included in the document that have no equivalent in earlier versions of Word.

In a number of cases, the text will look OK, but as soon as you try to update the fields in your document, things go awry.

Suppose you have a paragraph using the Heading 1 style as follows:

1.7 How to cook pizza

Word 97 (and later versions) have additional option switches for the REF field. If you insert a cross reference to a paragraph number in Word 97, the default would be:

{ REF bookmark \r }

This will display "1.7" in your document.

When Word 97 saves the document as an earlier, say, Word 95 format, that field remains in the document and the document will look fine until you update the field. Since Word 95 has no idea what \r means, the field gets updated as if it were

{ REF bookmark }

After the field is updated, this will display "How to cook pizza" in your document.