Microsoft Word’s native file formats are denoted either by a .doc or .docx file 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 4 and 5 for Mac
  3. Word 6 and Word 95 for Windows; Word 6 for Mac
  4. Word 97, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2010 for Windows; Word 98, 2001, X, and 2004 for Mac

The newer “.docx” extension signifies the Office Open XML international standard for Office documents and is used by Word 2007 and 2010 for Windows, Word 2008 and 2011 for the Macintosh, as well as by a growing number of applications from other vendors, including OpenOffice.org Writer, an open source word processing program.

Microsoft does not guarantee the correct display of the document on different workstations, even if the two workstations use the same version of Microsoft Word, primarily due to page layout depending on the current printer. This means it is possible the document the recipient sees might not be exactly the same as the document the sender sees.


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