Compatible

(n) Indicates that a product can work with or is equivalent to another, better-known product. The term is often used as a shorthand for IBM-compatible PC, a computer that is compatible with an IBM PC. Another term for a compatible is clone.

(adj) The ability of one device or program to work with another device or program. The term compatible implies different degrees of partnership. For example, a printer and a computer are said to be compatible if they can be connected to each other. An IBM compatible PC, on the other hand, is a computer that can run the same software as an IBM PC.

Compatibility of two devices, such as printers, usually means that they react to software commands in the same way. Some printers achieve compatibility by tricking the software into believing that the printer is a different machine. This is called emulation.

Be aware, however, that hardware compatibility does not always extend to expansion slots. For example, two compatible printers may not accept the same font cartridges. Complete hardware compatibility is denoted by the term plug compatible.

Software products are compatible if they use the same data formats. For example, many programs are compatible with dBASE. This means that the files they produce can easily be transformed into a dBASE database or that they can import dBASE files.

Webopedia Staff
Since 1995, more than 100 tech experts and researchers have kept Webopedia’s definitions, articles, and study guides up to date. For more information on current editorial staff, please visit our About page.

Top Articles

The Complete List of 1500+ Common Text Abbreviations & Acronyms

Text Abbreviations reviewed by Web Webster   From A3 to ZZZ we list 1,559 SMS, online chat, and text abbreviations to help you translate and understand...

Windows Operating System History & Versions

The Windows operating system (Windows OS) refers to a family of operating systems developed by Microsoft Corporation. We look at the history of Windows...

How to Create a Website Shortcut on Your Desktop

Website Shortcut on Your Desktop reviewed by Web Webster   This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a website shortcut on your desktop using...

Generations of Computers (1st to 5th)

Reviewed by Web Webster Learn about each of the 5 generations of computers and major technology developments that have led to the computing devices that...

Monday.com

Monday.com is a cloud-based work operating system that can be used for a...

Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol...

The secure socket tunneling protocol (SSTP) is a VPN protocol where...

Telecommunication

Telecommunication refers to telephony and cellular network technology. However, the broader definition includes...