I have an ordered list where the text is displaying on the next line from the number in IE 8 (but not other browsers). If I switch on Compatibility View it looks correct. While I think I'll be able to debug this particular issue and fix it, does anyone know of a fairly complete description of what the Compatibility View does, so that next time I can maybe speed up resolution?


2 Answers 2


Compatibility View renders the page as if it was Internet Explorer 7 (including JavaScript). There are a few differences between IE8 with CV and pure IE7 but essentially it is the same.

You can also force IE8 to use CV with this meta tag:

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=EmulateIE7" />

If you are having problems, I'd suggest first checking you have a legitimate doctype in your HTML (the simplest one is <!DOCTYPE html> which forces standards mode). That will solve 90% of your problems, especially with IE6.

  • Thanks. I'm using Drupal with a decent theme, so at least doctypey errors are not a headache:)
    – Andy
    Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 11:44
  • This link is also quite useful.
    – Andy
    Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 11:53

Compatibility View in IE8 basically renders the page as it would appear in IE7. IE8 is far more standards compliant than IE7, but pages designed for IE7 may not appear correctly using IE8 standards mode, thus compatibility mode was introduced to make the page fall-back to the IE7 way of rendering.

If you really want the detail of what is going on then read Just The Facts: Recap of Compatibility View from the IE MSDN blog.

Incidentally, if you hit F12 whilst using IE8 you will see the developer toolbar. At the top there are two options to change the document mode and the browser mode which will let you explore how a page appears using the compatibility view options.

  • Thanks, useful link. Problem already solved, but as mentioned, was more interested in Compatibility View than fixing this particular issue.
    – Andy
    Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 11:42

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