Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word (or simply Word) is a word processor developed by Microsoft. It was first released on October 25, 1983[7] under the name Multi-Tool Word for Xenix systems.[8][9][10] Subsequent versions were later written for several other platforms including IBM PCs running DOS (1983), Apple Macintosh running the Classic Mac OS (1985), AT&T Unix PC (1985), Atari ST (1988), OS/2 (1989), Microsoft Windows (1989), SCO Unix (1994), and macOS (formerly OS X; 2001).

Commercial versions of Word are licensed as a standalone product or as a component of Microsoft Office, Windows RT or the discontinued Microsoft Works suite. Microsoft Word Viewer and Office Online are freeware editions of Word with limited features.

Microsoft Word
Microsoft Office Word (2018–present)
A story being written and formatted in Word, running on Windows 10
A story being written and formatted in Word, running on Windows 10
Initial releaseOctober 25, 1983 (as Multi-Tool Word)
Stable release(s)
Office 3651906 (16.0.11727.20244) / July 9, 2019[1]
One-time purchase2019 (16.0) / September 24, 2018[2]
Operating system
PlatformIA-32, x64, ARM
TypeWord processor
Microsoft Word for Mac
Microsoft Word for Mac 2016 on OS X Yosemite
Microsoft Word for Mac 2016 on OS X Yosemite
Stable release
16.27 (Build 19071500) / July 16, 2019[4]
Operating system
TypeWord processor
LicenseProprietary software plus services
Microsoft Word for Android
Screenshot of Microsoft Word for Android 16
Screenshot of Microsoft Word for Android 16
Developer(s)Microsoft Corporation
Stable release
16.0.11727.20104 / June 16, 2019[5]
Operating systemAndroid Marshmallow and later
LicenseProprietary commercial software
Microsoft Word for iOS
Developer(s)Microsoft Corporation
Stable release
2.27 / July 15, 2019[6]
Operating systemiOS
LicenseProprietary commercial software



In 1981, Microsoft hired Charles Simonyi, the primary developer of Bravo, the first GUI word processor, which was developed at Xerox PARC.[11] Simonyi started work on a word processor called Multi-Tool Word and soon hired Richard Brodie, a former Xerox intern, who became the primary software engineer.[11][12][13]

Microsoft announced Multi-Tool Word for Xenix[11] and MS-DOS in 1983.[14] Its name was soon simplified to Microsoft Word.[8] Free demonstration copies of the application were bundled with the November 1983 issue of PC World, making it the first to be distributed on-disk with a magazine.[8][15] That year Microsoft demonstrated Word running on Windows.[16]

Unlike most MS-DOS programs at the time, Microsoft Word was designed to be used with a mouse.[14] Advertisements depicted the Microsoft Mouse, and described Word as a WYSIWYG, windowed word processor with the ability to undo and display bold, italic, and underlined text,[17] although it could not render fonts.[8] It was not initially popular, since its user interface was different from the leading word processor at the time, WordStar.[18] However, Microsoft steadily improved the product, releasing versions 2.0 through 5.0 over the next six years. In 1985, Microsoft ported Word to the classic Mac OS (known as Macintosh System Software at the time). This was made easier by Word for DOS having been designed for use with high-resolution displays and laser printers, even though none were yet available to the general public.[19] Following the precedents of LisaWrite and MacWrite, Word for Mac OS added true WYSIWYG features. It fulfilled a need for a word processor that was more capable than MacWrite.[20] After its release, Word for Mac OS's sales were higher than its MS-DOS counterpart for at least four years.[11]

The second release of Word for Mac OS, shipped in 1987, was named Word 3.0 to synchronize its version number with Word for DOS; this was Microsoft's first attempt to synchronize version numbers across platforms. Word 3.0 included numerous internal enhancements and new features, including the first implementation of the Rich Text Format (RTF) specification, but was plagued with bugs. Within a few months, Word 3.0 was superseded by a more stable Word 3.01, which was mailed free to all registered users of 3.0.[19] After MacWrite Pro was discontinued in the mid-1990s, Word for Mac OS never had any serious rivals. Word 5.1 for Mac OS, released in 1992, was a very popular word processor owing to its elegance, relative ease of use and feature set. Many users say it is the best version of Word for Mac OS ever created.[19][21]

In 1986, an agreement between Atari and Microsoft brought Word to the Atari ST[22] under the name Microsoft Write. The Atari ST version was a port of Word 1.05 for the Mac OS[23][24] and was never updated.

The first version of Word for Windows was released in 1989. With the release of Windows 3.0 the following year, sales began to pick up and Microsoft soon became the market leader for word processors for IBM PC-compatible computers.[11] In 1991, Microsoft capitalized on Word for Windows' increasing popularity by releasing a version of Word for DOS, version 5.5, that replaced its unique user interface with an interface similar to a Windows application.[25][26] When Microsoft became aware of the Year 2000 problem, it made Microsoft Word 5.5 for DOS available for download free. As of July 2018, it is still available for download from Microsoft's web site.[27] In 1991, Microsoft embarked on a project code-named Pyramid to completely rewrite Microsoft Word from the ground up. Both the Windows and Mac OS versions would start from the same code base. It was abandoned when it was determined that it would take the development team too long to rewrite and then catch up with all the new capabilities that could have been added in the same time without a rewrite. Instead, the next versions of Word for Windows and Mac OS, dubbed version 6.0, both started from the code base of Word for Windows 2.0.[21]

With the release of Word 6.0 in 1993, Microsoft again attempted to synchronize the version numbers and coordinate product naming across platforms, this time across DOS, Mac OS, and Windows (this was the last version of Word for DOS). It introduced AutoCorrect, which automatically fixed certain typing errors, and AutoFormat, which could reformat many parts of a document at once. While the Windows version received favorable reviews (e.g., from InfoWorld[28]), the Mac OS version was widely derided. Many accused it of being slow, clumsy and memory intensive, and its user interface differed significantly from Word 5.1.[21] In response to user requests, Microsoft offered Word 5 again, after it had been discontinued.[29] Subsequent versions of Word for macOS are no longer direct ports of Word for Windows, instead featuring a mixture of ported code and native code.

Word for Windows

MS Word 2007
Microsoft Word 2007

Word for Windows is available stand-alone or as part of the Microsoft Office suite. Word contains rudimentary desktop publishing capabilities and is the most widely used word processing program on the market. Word files are commonly used as the format for sending text documents via e-mail because almost every user with a computer can read a Word document by using the Word application, a Word viewer or a word processor that imports the Word format (see Microsoft Word Viewer).

Word 6 for Windows NT was the first 32-bit version of the product,[30] released with Microsoft Office for Windows NT around the same time as Windows 95. It was a straightforward port of Word 6.0. Starting with Word 95, releases of Word were named after the year of its release, instead of its version number.[31]

Word 2010 allows more customization of the Ribbon,[32] adds a Backstage view for file management,[33] has improved document navigation, allows creation and embedding of screenshots,[34] and integrates with Word Web App.[35]

Word for Mac

The Mac was introduced January 24, 1984 and Microsoft introduced Word 1.0 for Mac a year later, January 18, 1985. The DOS, Mac, and Windows versions are quite different from each other. Only the Mac version was WYSIWYG and used a Graphical User Interface, far ahead of the other platforms. Each platform restarted their version numbering at "1.0" ( There was no version 2 on the Mac, but version 3 came out January 31, 1987 as described above. Word 4.0 came out November 6, 1990, and added automatic linking with Excel, the ability to flow text around graphics and a WYSIWYG page view editing mode. Word 5.1 for Mac, released in 1992 ran on the original 68000 CPU, and was the last to be specifically designed as a Macintosh application. The later Word 6 was a Windows port and poorly received. Word 5.1 continued to run well till the very last Classic MacOS. Many people continue to run Word 5.1 to this day under an emulated Mac classic system for some of its excellent features like document generation and renumbering or to access their old files.

Microsoft Word for Mac 2011
Microsoft Word 2011 running on OS X

In 1997, Microsoft formed the Macintosh Business Unit as an independent group within Microsoft focused on writing software for Mac OS. Its first version of Word, Word 98, was released with Office 98 Macintosh Edition. Document compatibility reached parity with Word 97,[29] and it included features from Word 97 for Windows, including spell and grammar checking with squiggles.[36] Users could choose the menus and keyboard shortcuts to be similar to either Word 97 for Windows or Word 5 for Mac OS.

Word 2001, released in 2000, added a few new features, including the Office Clipboard, which allowed users to copy and paste multiple items.[37] It was the last version to run on classic Mac OS and, on Mac OS X, it could only run within the Classic Environment. Word X, released in 2001, was the first version to run natively on, and required, Mac OS X,[36] and introduced non-contiguous text selection.[38]

Word 2004 was released in May 2004. It included a new Notebook Layout view for taking notes either by typing or by voice.[39] Other features, such as tracking changes, were made more similar with Office for Windows.[40]

Word 2008, released on January 15, 2008, included a Ribbon-like feature, called the Elements Gallery, that can be used to select page layouts and insert custom diagrams and images. It also included a new view focused on publishing layout, integrated bibliography management,[41] and native support for the new Office Open XML format. It was the first version to run natively on Intel-based Macs.[42]

Word 2011, released in October 2010, replaced the Elements Gallery in favor of a Ribbon user interface that is much more similar to Office for Windows,[43] and includes a full-screen mode that allows users to focus on reading and writing documents, and support for Office Web Apps.[44]

File formats

Native file formats
.doc icon
.docx icon
Left: The icon for .doc files that comes with Microsoft Office 2019.
Right: The icon for .docx files, as seen on Microsoft OneDrive. The icon seen in Microsoft Office 2019 is slightly more colorful.
DOCLegacy Word document
DOTLegacy Word templates
WBKLegacy Word document backup
DOCXXML Word document
DOCMXML Word macro-enabled document
DOTXXML Word template
DOTMXML Word macro-enabled template
DOCBXML Word binary document

Filename extensions

Microsoft Word's native file formats are denoted either by a .doc or .docx filename extension.

Although the .doc extension has been used in many different versions of Word, it actually encompasses four distinct file formats:

  1. Word for DOS
  2. Word for Windows 1 and 2; Word 3 and 4 for Mac OS
  3. Word 6 and Word 95 for Windows; Word 6 for Mac OS
  4. Word 97 and later for Windows; Word 98 and later for Mac OS

The newer .docx extension signifies the Office Open XML international standard for Office documents and is used by Word 2007 and later for Windows, Word 2008 and later for macOS, as well as by a growing number of applications from other vendors, including Writer, an open source word processing program.[45][46]

Binary formats (Word 97–2007)

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the default Word document format (.DOC) became a de facto standard of document file formats for Microsoft Office users. There are different versions of "Word Document Format" used by default in Word 97–2007.[47] Each binary word file is a Compound File,[48] a hierarchical file system within a file.[49] According to Joel Spolsky, Word Binary File Format is extremely complex mainly because its developers had to accommodate an overwhelming number of features and prioritize performance over anything else.[49]

As with all OLE Compound Files, Word Binary Format consists of "storages", which are analogous to computer folders, and "streams", which are similar to computer files. Each storage may contain streams or other storages. Each Word Binary File must contain a stream called "WordDocument" stream and this stream must start with a File Information Block (FIB).[50] FIB serves as the first point of reference for locating everything else, such as where the text in a Word document starts, ends, what version of Word created the document and other attributes.

Word 2007 and later continue to support the DOC file format, although it is no longer the default.

XML Document (Word 2003)

The XML format introduced in Word 2003[51] was a simple, XML-based format called WordprocessingML.

Cross-version compatibility

Opening a Word Document file in a version of Word other than the one with which it was created can cause incorrect display of the document. The document formats of the various versions change in subtle and not so subtle ways (such as changing the font, or the handling of more complex tasks like footnotes). Formatting created in newer versions does not always survive when viewed in older versions of the program, nearly always because that capability does not exist in the previous version.[52] Rich Text Format (RTF), an early effort to create a format for interchanging formatted text between applications, is an optional format for Word that retains most formatting and all content of the original document.

Third-party formats

Plugins permitting the Windows versions of Word to read and write formats it does not natively support, such as international standard OpenDocument format (ODF) (ISO/IEC 26300:2006), are available. Up until the release of Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Office 2007, Word did not natively support reading or writing ODF documents without a plugin, namely the SUN ODF Plugin or the OpenXML/ODF Translator. With SP2 installed, ODF format 1.1 documents can be read and saved like any other supported format in addition to those already available in Word 2007.[52][53][54][55][56] The implementation faces substantial criticism, and the ODF Alliance and others have claimed that the third-party plugins provide better support.[57] Microsoft later declared that the ODF support has some limitations.[58]

In October 2005, one year before the Microsoft Office 2007 suite was released, Microsoft declared that there was insufficient demand from Microsoft customers for the international standard OpenDocument format support, and that therefore it would not be included in Microsoft Office 2007. This statement was repeated in the following months.[59][60][61][62] As an answer, on October 20, 2005 an online petition was created to demand ODF support from Microsoft.[63]

In May 2006, the ODF plugin for Microsoft Office was released by the OpenDocument Foundation.[64] Microsoft declared that it had no relationship with the developers of the plugin.[65]

In July 2006, Microsoft announced the creation of the Open XML Translator project – tools to build a technical bridge between the Microsoft Office Open XML Formats and the OpenDocument Format (ODF). This work was started in response to government requests for interoperability with ODF. The goal of project was not to add ODF support to Microsoft Office, but only to create a plugin and an external toolset.[66][67] In February 2007, this project released a first version of the ODF plugin for Microsoft Word.[68]

In February 2007, Sun released an initial version of its ODF plugin for Microsoft Office.[69] Version 1.0 was released in July 2007.[70]

Microsoft Word 2007 (Service Pack 1) supports (for output only) PDF and XPS formats, but only after manual installation of the Microsoft 'Save as PDF or XPS' add-on.[71][72] On later releases, this was offered by default.

Features and flaws

Among its features, Word includes a built-in spell checker, a thesaurus, a dictionary, and utilities for manipulating and editing text. The following are some aspects of its feature set.


Several later versions of Word include the ability for users to create their own formatting templates, allowing them to define a file in which the title, heading, paragraph, and other element designs differ from the standard Word templates.[73] Users can find how to do this under the Help section located near the top right corner (Word 2013 on Windows 8).

For example, is the master template from which all Word documents are created. It determines the margin defaults as well as the layout of the text and font defaults. Although is already set with certain defaults, the user can change to new defaults. This will change other documents which were created using the template, usually in unexpected ways.[74]

Image formats

Word can import and display images in common bitmap formats such as JPG and GIF. It can also be used to create and display simple line-art. Microsoft Word added support[75] for the common SVG vector image format in 2017 for Office 365 ProPlus subscribers and this functionality was also included in the Office 2019 release.


An example image created with WordArt

WordArt enables drawing text in a Microsoft Word document such as a title, watermark, or other text, with graphical effects such as skewing, shadowing, rotating, stretching in a variety of shapes and colors and even including three-dimensional effects. Users can apply formatting effects such as shadow, bevel, glow, and reflection to their document text as easily as applying bold or underline. Users can also spell-check text that uses visual effects, and add text effects to paragraph styles.


A Macro is a rule of pattern that specifies how a certain input sequence (often a sequence of characters) should be mapped to an output sequence according to defined process. Frequently used or repetitive sequences of keystrokes and mouse movements can be automated. Like other Microsoft Office documents, Word files can include advanced macros and even embedded programs. The language was originally WordBasic, but changed to Visual Basic for Applications as of Word 97.

This extensive functionality can also be used to run and propagate viruses in documents. The tendency for people to exchange Word documents via email, USB flash drives, and floppy disks made this an especially attractive vector in 1999. A prominent example was the Melissa virus, but countless others have existed.

These macro viruses were the only known cross-platform threats between Windows and Macintosh computers and they were the only infection vectors to affect any macOS system up until the advent of video codec trojans in 2007. Microsoft released patches for Word X and Word 2004 that effectively eliminated the macro problem on the Mac by 2006.

Word's macro security setting, which regulates when macros may execute, can be adjusted by the user, but in the most recent versions of Word, is set to HIGH by default, generally reducing the risk from macro-based viruses, which have become uncommon.

Layout issues

Before Word 2010 (Word 14) for Windows, the program was unable to correctly handle ligatures defined in TrueType fonts.[76] Those ligature glyphs with Unicode codepoints may be inserted manually, but are not recognized by Word for what they are, breaking spell checking, while custom ligatures present in the font are not accessible at all. Since Word 2010, the program now has advanced typesetting features which can be enabled:[77] OpenType ligatures,[78] kerning, and hyphenation. Other layout deficiencies of Word include the inability to set crop marks or thin spaces. Various third-party workaround utilities have been developed.[79]

In Word 2004 for Mac OS X, support of complex scripts was inferior even to Word 97,[80] and Word 2004 does not support Apple Advanced Typography features like ligatures or glyph variants.[81]

Bullets and numbering

Microsoft Word supports bullet lists and numbered lists. It also features a numbering system that helps add correct numbers to pages, chapters, headers, footnotes, and entries of tables of content; these numbers automatically change to correct ones as new items are added or existing items are deleted. Bullets and numbering can be applied directly to paragraphs and convert them to lists.[82] Word 97 through 2003, however, had problems adding correct numbers to numbered lists. In particular, a second irrelevant numbered list might have not started with number one, but instead resumed numbering after the last numbered list. Although Word 97 supported a hidden marker that said the list numbering must restart afterwards, the command to insert this marker (Restart Numbering command) was only added in Word 2003. However, if one were to cut the first item of the listed and paste it as another item (e.g. fifth), then the restart marker would have moved with it and the list would have restarted in the middle instead of at the top.[83]

Users can also create tables in Word. Depending on the version, Word can perform simple calculations — along with support for formulas and equations as well.


Available in certain versions of Word (e.g., Word 2007), AutoSummarize highlights passages or phrases that it considers valuable and can be a quick way of generating a crude abstract or an executive summary.[84] The amount of text to be retained can be specified by the user as a percentage of the current amount of text.

According to Ron Fein of the Word 97 team, AutoSummarize cuts wordy copy to the bone by counting words and ranking sentences. First, AutoSummarize identifies the most common words in the document (barring "a" and "the" and the like) and assigns a "score" to each word – the more frequently a word is used, the higher the score. Then, it "averages" each sentence by adding the scores of its words and dividing the sum by the number of words in the sentence – the higher the average, the higher the rank of the sentence. "It's like the ratio of wheat to chaff," explains Fein.[85]

AutoSummarize was removed from Microsoft Word for Mac OS X 2011, although it was present in Word for Mac 2008. AutoSummarize was removed from the Office 2010 release version (14) as well.[86]

Password protection

There are three password types that can be set in Microsoft Word:

  • Password to open a document[87]
  • Password to modify a document[87]
  • Password restricting formatting and editing[88]

The second and the third type of passwords were developed by Microsoft for convenient shared use of documents rather than for their protection. There is no encryption of documents that are protected by such passwords, and Microsoft Office protection system saves a hash sum of a password in a document's header where it can be easily accessed and removed by the specialized software. Password to open a document offers much tougher protection that had been steadily enhanced in the subsequent editions of Microsoft Office.

Word 95 and all the preceding editions had the weakest protection that utilized a conversion of a password to a 16-bit key.

Key length in Word 97 and 2000 was strengthened up to 40 bit. However, modern cracking software allows removing such a password very quickly – a persistent cracking process takes one week at most. Use of rainbow tables reduces password removal time to several seconds. Some password recovery software can not only remove a password, but also find an actual password that was used by a user to encrypt the document using brute-force attack approach. Statistically, the possibility of recovering the password depends on the password strength.

Word's 2003/XP version default protection remained the same but an option that allowed advanced users choosing a Cryptographic Service Provider was added.[89] If a strong CSP is chosen, guaranteed document decryption becomes unavailable, and therefore a password can't be removed from the document. Nonetheless, a password can be fairly quickly picked with brute-force attack, because its speed is still high regardless of the CSP selected. Moreover, since the CSPs are not active by the default, their use is limited to advanced users only.

Word 2007 offers a significantly more secure document protection which utilizes the modern Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) that converts a password to a 128-bit key using a SHA-1 hash function 50000 times. It makes password removal impossible (as of today, no computer that can pick the key in reasonable amount of time exists), and drastically slows the brute-force attack speed down to several hundreds of passwords per second.

Word's 2010 protection algorithm was not changed apart from increasing number of SHA-1 conversions up to 100000 times, and consequently, the brute-force attack speed decreased two times more.


BYTE in 1984 criticized the documentation for Word 1.1 and 2.0 for DOS, calling it "a complete farce". It called the software "clever, put together well, and performs some extraordinary feats", but concluded that "especially when operated with the mouse, has many more limitations than benefits ... extremely frustrating to learn and operate efficiently".[90] PC Magazine's review was very mixed, stating "I've run into weird word processors before, but this is the first time one's nearly knocked me down for the count" but acknowledging that Word's innovations were the first that caused the reviewer to consider abandoning WordStar. While the review cited an excellent WYSIWYG display, sophisticated print formatting, windows, and footnoting as merits, it criticized many small flaws, very slow performance, and "documentation apparently produced by Madame Sadie's Pain Palace". It concluded that Word was "two releases away from potential greatness".[91]

Compute!'s Apple Applications in 1987 stated that "despite a certain awkwardness", Word 3.01 "will likely become the major Macintosh word processor" with "far too many features to list here". While criticizing the lack of true WYSIWYG, the magazine concluded that "Word is marvelous. It's like a Mozart or Edison, whose occasional gaucherie we excuse because of his great gifts".[92]

Compute! in 1989 stated that Word 5.0's integration of text and graphics made it "a solid engine for basic desktop publishing". The magazine approved of improvements to text mode, described the $75 price for upgrading from an earlier version as "the deal of the decade", and concluded that "as a high-octane word processor, Word is definitely worth a look".[93]

During the first quarter of 1996, Microsoft Word accounted for 80% of the worldwide word processing market.[94]

Despite its commercial success, it has also been argued in the scientific community that Word might not be well-suited for large-scale projects with high typographical demands, due to issues such as file compatibility, poor typography, low image quality and limited feature scalability.[95]

Release history

Legend: Old version, no support Older version, still supported Current stable version Latest preview version Future release
Word 2010
Microsoft Word 2010 running on Windows 7
Microsoft Word for Windows release history
Year Released Name Version Comments
1989 Word for Windows 1.0 Old version, no longer supported: 1.0 Code-named Opus [96]
1990 Word for Windows 1.1 Old version, no longer supported: 1.1 For Windows 3.0.[97] Code-named Bill the Cat
1990 Word for Windows 1.1a Old version, no longer supported: 1.1a On March 25, 2014 Microsoft made the source code to Word for Windows 1.1a available to the public via the Computer History Museum.[98][99]
1991 Word for Windows 2.0 Old version, no longer supported: 2.0 Included in Office 3.0.
1993 Word for Windows 6.0 Old version, no longer supported: 6.0 Version numbers 3, 4 and 5 were skipped, to bring Windows version numbering in line with that of DOS Mac OS and WordPerfect (the main competing word processor at the time). Also a 32-bit version for Windows NT only. Included in Office 4.0, 4.2, and 4.3.
1995 Word for Windows 95 Old version, no longer supported: 7.0 Included in Office 95
1997 Word 97 Old version, no longer supported: 8.0 Included in Office 97
1998 Word 98 Old version, no longer supported: 8.5 Included in Office 97
1999 Word 2000 Old version, no longer supported: 9.0 Included in Office 2000
2001 Word 2002 Old version, no longer supported: 10.0 Included in Office XP
2003 Microsoft Word 2003 Old version, no longer supported: 11.0 Included in Office 2003
2006 Microsoft Word 2007 Old version, no longer supported: 12.0 Included in Office 2007; released to businesses on November 30, 2006, released worldwide to consumers on January 30, 2007. Extended support until October 10, 2017.
2010 Word 2010 Older version, yet still supported: 14.0 Included in Office 2010
2013 Word 2013 Older version, yet still supported: 15.0 Included in Office 2013
2016 Word 2016 Older version, yet still supported: 16.0 Included in Office 2016
2019 Word 2019 Current stable version: 16.0 Included in Office 2019
Microsoft Word for classic Mac OS and macOS release history
Year Released Name Version Comments
1985 Word 1 Old version, no longer supported: 1.0
1987 Word 3 Old version, no longer supported: 3.0
1989 Word 4 Old version, no longer supported: 4.0 Part of Office 1.0 and 1.5
1991 Word 5 Old version, no longer supported: 5.0
  • Part of Office 3.0
  • Requires System 6.0.2, 512 KB of RAM (1 MB for 5.1, 2 MB to use spell check and thesaurus), 6.5 MB available hard drive space[19]
1992 Word 5.1 Old version, no longer supported: 5.1
  • Part of Office 3.0
  • Last version to support 68000-based Macs[19]
1993 Word 6 Old version, no longer supported: 6.0
  • Part of Office 4.2
  • Shares code and user interface with Word for Windows 6
  • Requires System 7.0, 4 MB of RAM (8 MB recommended), at least 10 MB available hard drive space, 68020 CPU[19]
1998 Word 98 Old version, no longer supported: 8.5
2000 Word 2001 Old version, no longer supported: 9.0
2001 Word v. X Old version, no longer supported: 10.0
2004 Word 2004 Old version, no longer supported: 11.0 Part of Office 2004
2008 Word 2008 Old version, no longer supported: 12.0 Part of Office 2008
2010 Word 2011 Old version, no longer supported: 14.0 Part of Office 2011. Version number 13 was superstitiously skipped because of potential triskaidekaphobia.[100]
2015 Word 2016 Older version, yet still supported: 16.0 Part of Office 2016. Version number 15 was skipped.
2019 Word 2019 Current stable version: 16.0 Part of Office 2019
Word for MS-DOS release history
Year released Name Version Comments
1983 Word 1 Old version, no longer supported: 1.0 Initial version of Word
1985 Word 2 Old version, no longer supported: 2.0
1986 Word 3 Old version, no longer supported: 3.0
1987 Word 4 Old version, no longer supported: 4.0
1989 Word 5 Old version, no longer supported: 5.0
1991 Word 5.1 Old version, no longer supported: 5.1
1991 Word 5.5 Old version, no longer supported: 5.5 First DOS version to use a Windows-like user interface
1993 Word 6 Old version, no longer supported: 6.0 Last DOS version.
Word release history on other platforms
Platform Year released Name Comments
Atari ST 1988 Microsoft Write Based on Microsoft Word 1.05 for Mac OS
OS/2 1989 Microsoft Word 5.0 Word 5.0 ran both under DOS and under OS/2 dual mode as a native OS/2 application
OS/2 1991 Microsoft Word 5.5 Word 5.5 ran both under DOS and under OS/2 dual mode as a native OS/2 application
OS/2 1990 Microsoft Word for OS/2 Presentation Manager version 1.1
OS/2 1991 Microsoft Word for OS/2 Presentation Manager version 1.2
SCO Unix 1994–1995 Microsoft Word for Unix version 5.1


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Further reading

  • Tsang, Cheryl. Microsoft: First Generation. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN 978-0-471-33206-0.
  • Liebowitz, Stan J. & Margolis, Stephen E. Winners, Losers & Microsoft: Competition and Antitrust in High Technology Oakland: Independent Institute. ISBN 978-0-945999-80-5.

External links

ActiveX Document

ActiveX Document (also known as DocObject or DocObj) is a Microsoft technology that allows users to view and edit Microsoft Word, Excel, and PDF documents inside web browsers. It defines a set of Component Object Model coding contracts between hosting programs like Internet Explorer or Microsoft Office Binder and hosted documents from programs like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Adobe Reader. This allows them to negotiate communications about commands like save and navigate, as well as merging user interface elements such as menu, to provide a unified user experience.

Initially designed for compound documents based on COM Structured Storage, the technology allows one single hosting program like Office Binder to contain unlimited type of documents. The server program that provides an ActiveX document can be an EXE or a DLL server.

Doc (computing)

In computing, DOC or doc (an abbreviation of "document") is a filename extension for word processing documents, most commonly in the proprietary Microsoft Word Binary File Format. Historically, the extension was used for documentation in plain text, particularly of programs or computer hardware on a wide range of operating systems. During the 1980s, WordPerfect used DOC as the extension of their proprietary format. Later, in 1983, Microsoft chose to use the DOC extension for their proprietary Microsoft Word format. These uses for the extension have largely disappeared from the PC world.

History of Microsoft Word

The first version of Microsoft Word was developed by Charles Simonyi and Richard Brodie, former Xerox programmers hired by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1981. Both programmers worked on Xerox Bravo, the first WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) word processor. The first Word version, Word 1.0, was released in October 1983 for Xenix and MS-DOS; it was followed by four very similar versions that were not very successful. The first Windows version was released in 1989, with a slightly improved interface. When Windows 3.0 was released in 1990, Word became a huge commercial success. Word for Windows 1.0 was followed by Word 2.0 in 1991 and Word 6.0 in 1993. Then it was renamed to Word 95 and Word 97, Word 2000 and Word for Office XP (to follow Windows commercial names). With the release of Word 2003, the numbering was again year-based. Since then, Windows versions include Word 2007, Word 2010, Word 2013, Word 2016, and most recently, Word for Office 365.

In 1986, an agreement between Atari and Microsoft brought Word to the Atari ST. The Atari ST version was a translation of Word 1.05 for the Apple Macintosh; however, it was released under the name Microsoft Write (the name of the word processor included with Windows during the 80s and early 90s). Unlike other versions of Word, the Atari version was a one time release with no future updates or revisions. The release of Microsoft Write was one of two major PC applications that were released for the Atari ST (the other application being WordPerfect). Microsoft Write was released for the Atari ST in 1988.

In 2014 the source code for Word for Windows in the version 1.1a was made available to the Computer History Museum and the public for educational purposes.

Ichitaro (word processor)

Ichitaro (一太郎, ichitarō) is a Japanese word processor produced by JustSystems, a Japanese software company. Ichitaro occupies the second share in Japanese word-processing software, behind Microsoft Word. It is one of the main products of the company. Its proprietary file extension is ".JTD". ATOK, an IME developed by JustSystems, is bundled with Ichitaro.

In the DOS era, Ichitaro had a considerable market share along with other rivals. However, as Windows became dominant, the market was largely taken over by Microsoft Word.

List of Microsoft Office filename extensions

The following is a list of Microsoft Office filename extensions, used in Microsoft Office software suite as of January 2017.

Lorem ipsum

In publishing and graphic design, Lorem ipsum is a placeholder text commonly used to demonstrate the visual form of a document without relying on meaningful content (also called greeking). Replacing the actual content with placeholder text allows designers to design the form of the content before the content itself has been produced.

The lorem ipsum text is typically a scrambled section of De finibus bonorum et malorum, a 1st-century BC Latin text by Cicero, with words altered, added, and removed to make it nonsensical, improper Latin.

A variation of the ordinary lorem ipsum text has been used in typesetting since the 1960s or earlier, when it was popularized by advertisements for Letraset transfer sheets. It was introduced to the information age in the mid-1980s by Aldus Corporation, which employed it in graphics and word-processing templates for its desktop publishing program PageMaker. Many popular word processors use this format as a placeholder. Some examples are Pages or Microsoft Word.

Mail merge

Mail merge consists in combining mail and letters and pre-addressed envelopes or mailing labels for mass mailings from a form letter.Microsoft Word can insert content from a database, spreadsheet, or table into Word documents.This feature is usually employed in a word processing document which contains fixed text (which is the same in each output document) and variables (which act as placeholders that are replaced by text from the data source).

Mail Merge is a powerful tool for writing a personalized letter or E-mail to many people at the same time. It imports data from another source such as Excel and then uses that to replace placeholders throughout our message with the relevant information for each individual we are messaging.

Melissa (computer virus)

The Melissa virus was a mass-mailing macro virus. As it was not a standalone program, it was not a worm. It targeted Microsoft Word and Outlook-based systems, and created considerable network traffic.

Around March 26, 1999, the Melissa virus was released by David L. Smith of Aberdeen Township, New Jersey. The virus itself was credited to Kwyjibo, who was shown to be the macrovirus writers VicodinES and ALT-F11 by comparing Microsoft Word documents with the same globally unique identifier — this method was also used to trace the virus back to Smith. On December 10, 1999, Smith pleaded guilty to releasing the virus and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, serving 20 months. He was also fined US $5,000. The arrest was the result of a collaborative effort involving (amongst others) the FBI, the New Jersey State Police, Monmouth Internet, and a Swedish computer scientist. David L. Smith was accused of causing $80 million worth of damages by disrupting personal computers and computer networks in business and government.

Microsoft Office 2007

Microsoft Office 2007 (codenamed Office 12) is a version of Microsoft Office, a family of office suites and productivity software for Windows, developed and published by Microsoft. It was released to manufacturing on November 3, 2006; it was subsequently made available to volume license customers on November 30, 2006, and later to retail on January 30, 2007, the same respective release dates of Windows Vista. It was preceded by Office 2003 and succeeded by Office 2010.

Office 2007 introduced a new graphical user interface called the Fluent User Interface, which uses ribbons and an Office menu instead of menu bars and toolbars. Office 2007 also introduced Office Open XML file formats as the default file formats in Excel, PowerPoint, and Word. The new formats are intended to facilitate the sharing of information between programs, improve security, reduce the size of documents, and enable new recovery scenarios.Office 2007 requires Windows XP with Service Pack 2, Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1, or a later version of Windows; it is the last version of Microsoft Office to run on Windows XP Professional x64 Edition.Office 2007 includes new applications and server-side tools, including Microsoft Office Groove, a collaboration and communication suite for smaller businesses, which was originally developed by Groove Networks before being acquired by Microsoft in 2005. Also included is Office SharePoint Server 2007, a major revision to the server platform for Office applications, which supports Excel Services, a client-server architecture for supporting Excel workbooks that are shared in real time between multiple machines, and are also viewable and editable through a web page.

With Microsoft FrontPage discontinued, Microsoft SharePoint Designer, which is aimed towards development of SharePoint portals, becomes part of the Office 2007 family. Its designer-oriented counterpart, Microsoft Expression Web, is targeted for general web development. However, neither application has been included in Office 2007 software suites.

Speech recognition functionality has been removed from the individual programs in the Office 2007 suite, as Windows Speech Recognition was integrated into Windows Vista. Windows XP users must install a previous version of Office to use speech recognition features.According to Forrester Research, as of May 2010, Microsoft Office 2007 is used in 81% of enterprises it surveyed (its sample comprising 115 North American and European enterprise and SMB decision makers).Mainstream support for Office 2007 ended on October 9, 2012, and extended support ended on October 10, 2017.

Microsoft Office 97

Microsoft Office 97 is a major milestone release of Microsoft Office, which includes hundreds of new features and improvements over its predecessor, Microsoft Office 95. Office 97 introduced "Command Bars," a paradigm in which menus and toolbars were made more similar in capability and visual design. It also featured natural language systems and sophisticated grammar checking. It was published on CD-ROM as well as on a set of 44 3½-inch floppy disks. Released on November 19, 1996, the suite runs on Windows NT 3.51 SP5, Windows 95, Windows NT 4.0 SP2, Windows 98, Windows 2000, and Windows Me. It is the last version to support Windows NT 3.51 as Office 2000 requires Windows 95, Windows NT 4.0 SP3 or a later version of Windows. Two service releases (SR-1 and SR-2) were released for Office 97. SR-2 solved the year 2000 problem in Office 97.Microsoft Office 97 is the first version of Office to feature the Office Assistant, a feature designed to assist users by the way of an interactive animated character, which interfaced with the Office help content. The default assistant was "Clippit", nicknamed "Clippy", a paperclip. The Office Assistant feature was also included in its successor, Office 2000, as well as in Office XP (hidden by default) and 2003 (not installed by default), before being removed entirely in Office 2007.

Office 97 is also the first Microsoft product to include product activation. The Brazilian versions of Office 97 Small Business Edition and Publisher 98 required it.Assisted support options and security updates for Office 97 ended on January 16, 2004. Mainstream hotfix support for Office 97 ended on August 31, 2001, while extended hotfix support ended on February 28, 2002.Two Office 97 applications featured easter eggs: Microsoft Word 97 contained a hidden pinball game and Microsoft Excel contained a hidden flight simulator.

Microsoft Office password protection

Microsoft Office password protection is a security feature to protect Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) documents with a user-provided password. As of Office 2007, this uses modern encryption; earlier versions used weaker systems and are not considered secure.

Office 2007–2013 employed 128-bit key AES password protection which remains secure. Office 2016 employed 256-bit key AES password protection which also remains secure.

The Office 97–2003 password protection used 40-bit key RC4 which contains multiple vulnerabilities rendering it insecure.

Microsoft Publisher

Microsoft Publisher is a desktop publishing application from Microsoft, differing from Microsoft Word in that the emphasis is placed on page layout and design rather than text composition and proofing.

Microsoft Word Viewer

Microsoft Word Viewer is a discontinued freeware program for Microsoft Windows that can display and print Microsoft Word documents. Word Viewer allows text from a Word document to be copied into clipboard and pasted into a word processor. The last version made was compatible with Word 2007.

According to the license terms of the Microsoft Word Viewer, the software may be installed and used only to view and screen print documents created with Microsoft Office software. The software may not be used for any other purpose. Users may distribute the software only with a file created with Microsoft Office software to enable recipient to view and print the file.In November 29, 2017, Microsoft had announced that Word Viewer would be retired on that month, no longer receive security updates nor be available to download, and recommended using Office Online, mobile versions of Word, and Office desktop apps for viewing and printing documents free of charge. Microsoft Office 2003 and newer versions are trialware and can also be used for viewing and printing during or after the trial period.

Microsoft hardware

Microsoft hardware has been developed since 1982, when the Microsoft Hardware division was formed to design a computer mouse for use with Microsoft Word for DOS. Since then, Microsoft has developed computer hardware, gaming hardware and mobile hardware. It also produced drivers and other software for integrating the hardware with Microsoft Windows.

Rich Text Format

The Rich Text Format (often abbreviated RTF) is a proprietary document file format with published specification developed by Microsoft Corporation from 1987 until 2008 for cross-platform document interchange with Microsoft products. Prior to 2008, Microsoft published updated specifications for RTF with major revisions of Microsoft Word and Office versions.

Most word processors are able to read and write some versions of RTF. There are several different revisions of RTF specification and portability of files will depend on what version of RTF is being used.It should not be confused with enriched text (media type "text/enriched" of RFC 1896) or its predecessor Rich Text (media type "text/richtext" of RFC 1341 and 1521), nor with IBM's RFT-DCA (Revisable Format Text-Document Content Architecture); these are completely different specifications.

Smart tag (Microsoft)

Smart tags are an early selection-based search feature, found in later versions of Microsoft Word and beta versions of the Internet Explorer 6 web browser, by which the application recognizes certain words or types of data and converts it to a hyperlink. It is also included in other Microsoft Office programs as well as Visual Web Developer. Selection-based search allows a user to invoke an online service from any other page using only the mouse. Microsoft had initially intended the technology to be built into its Windows XP operating system but changed its plans due to public criticism.

Thin space

In typography, a thin space is a space character that is usually ​1⁄5 or ​1⁄6 of an em in width. It is used to add a narrow space, such as between nested quotation marks or to separate glyphs that interfere with one another. It is not as narrow as the hair space.

In Unicode, thin space is encoded at U+2009   THIN SPACE (HTML   ·  ). Unicode's U+202F   NARROW NO-BREAK SPACE (HTML  ) is a non-breaking space with a width similar to that of the thin space.

In LaTeX and Plain TeX, \thinspace produces a narrow, non-breaking space. Outside of math formulae in LaTeX, \, also produces a narrow, non-breaking space, but inside math formulas it produces a narrow, breakable space.

In some versions of Microsoft Word, the symbol dialog (often available via Insert > Symbol or Insert > Special Characters), has both the thin space and the narrow no-break space available for point-and-click insertion. In Word's Symbol dialog, under font = "(normal text)", they are found in subset = "General Punctuation", Unicode character 2009 and nearby. Other word processing programs have ways of producing a thin space.

The International System of Units uses the thin space as a thousands separator. Neither a point nor a comma should be used as both of these are reserved for use as decimal markers.

Visual Basic for Applications

Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is an implementation of Microsoft's event-driven programming language Visual Basic 6, which was discontinued in 2008, and its associated integrated development environment (IDE). Although Visual Basic is no longer supported or updated by Microsoft, the VBA programming language was upgraded in 2010 with the introduction of Visual Basic for Applications 7 in Microsoft Office applications.Visual Basic for Applications enables building user-defined functions (UDFs), automating processes and accessing Windows API and other low-level functionality through dynamic-link libraries (DLLs). It supersedes and expands on the abilities of earlier application-specific macro programming languages such as Word's WordBASIC. It can be used to control many aspects of the host application, including manipulating user interface features, such as menus and toolbars, and working with custom user forms or dialog boxes.

As its name suggests, VBA is closely related to Visual Basic and uses the Visual Basic Runtime Library. However, VBA code normally can only run within a host application, rather than as a standalone program. VBA can, however, control one application from another using OLE Automation. For example, VBA can automatically create a Microsoft Word report from Microsoft Excel data that Excel collects automatically from polled sensors. VBA can use, but not create, ActiveX/COM DLLs, and later versions add support for class modules.

VBA is built into most Microsoft Office applications, including Office for Mac OS X (except version 2008), and other Microsoft applications, including Microsoft MapPoint and Microsoft Visio. VBA is also implemented, at least partially, in applications published by companies other than Microsoft, including ArcGIS, AutoCAD, CorelDraw, LibreOffice, Reflection, SolidWorks, and WordPerfect.


WordPad is a basic word processor that is included with almost all versions of Microsoft Windows from Windows 95 onwards. It is more advanced than Microsoft Notepad but simpler than the Microsoft Works Word Processor (now long obsolete) and Microsoft Word. It replaced Microsoft Write.

Hardware word processors (pre-PC)
Office suites
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