Microsoft Word

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Microsoft Word

Microsoft Office Word (2018 – present) .svg
Word 16.27 on Mac (July 2019)
Word 1906 on Windows (June 2019)
Word 2019 for macOS (above) and for Windows (below)
Basic data

developer Microsoft Corporation
Current  version Microsoft Office 2019
operating system current: Windows , macOS , Windows Phone , iOS , Android
historically (sometimes with different names): Xenix , DOS , AT&T Unix , Atari ST , SCO UNIX , OS / 2 , Mac OS , Windows RT
programming language C ++
category Word processing
License proprietary
German speaking Yes

Microsoft Word (or Word ) refers to a word processing program from Microsoft . It was introduced in 1983 as a multi-tool Word for the Xenix platform, but then also ported to PC DOS / MS-DOS of the IBM PC (1983), Apple Macintosh (1984), AT&T Unix (1985), Atari ST (1986) , SCO UNIX , OS / 2 and Windows (1989).

Word is part of the Microsoft Office package and is available in the desktop version for Windows and macOS , as well as in the mobile version as an app for Android and iOS . The current version for both operating systems is Microsoft Word 2019 .

Word is by far the most widely used word processing program in the world.


Microsoft's Word was based on the concept of the Bravo GUI word processor that ran on the Xerox Alto . Bravo writer Charles Simonyi moved from PARC to Microsoft in 1981 to become the lead developer of Multi-Tool Word . In 1983, Multi-Tool Word for Xenix and MS-DOS was announced. Microsoft promoted the product through demonstration disks that were distributed in the US computer magazine PC-World . With the constant further development, Word became a widespread software after it was initially unpopular under MS-DOS under the unusual operation compared to WordPerfect . Even in the first version, Word was designed to be operated with a mouse and, in conjunction with a graphics card that allowed graphics output (such as CGA or Hercules), on IBM -compatible devices, text markings such as bold or italic, but not the font or font sizes, represent directly. The port to the Macintosh appeared in 1985 . In contrast to the DOS version, the Macintosh version supported real WYSIWYG, similar to Apple's own word processor MacWrite . Version 1.05 was ported for the Atari ST in cooperation with Atari . The version sold under the name Microsoft Write was no longer updated. While the DOS variant had several competitors such as WordStar , WordPerfect or IBM PC Text , Word for Macintosh became dominant in 1992 with version 5.1 at the latest. The Macintosh version remained more expensive than the DOS version for years. The first Windows version appeared in 1989, the second in 1991. With Word 5.5 for MS-DOS, Microsoft adjusted the operation of the DOS version to the Windows version, which at that time was version 2.0. The DOS version now also had pull-down menus and a toolbar and could be edited using dialogs. In terms of functionality, however, Word 5.5 was roughly the same as Version 5.0, which had its own, also mouse-based operator concept. In 1993 Word 6 was released for DOS, Windows and Macintosh. For MS-DOS it was the last version. The DOS versions were sold until 1995. There were also versions for OS / 2 and SCO Unix .

Word for DOS

Word 5.5 for DOS

Word for DOS was one of the first popular word processors for the IBM PC . In conjunction with a graphics card, Word was able to display text layouts such as bold or italic, but not the font or font sizes, directly on IBM-compatible devices. Competitors like WordStar , WordPerfect or IBM PC Text , on the other hand, could only display pure text. Formatting appeared there either as colored text or markups were used.

Word for Windows

Word for Windows 1.1 (1991)

The first Windows version appeared in 1989 . In contrast to Word for DOS, Winword , as the program was called colloquially in the 1990s (after the executable file winword.exe), was based on WYSIWYG . Earlier Windows computers were at their performance limits, so Word for Windows also supported a Design view with a default font and hidden objects.

On March 25, 2014 Microsoft donated the source code for Microsoft Word for Windows 1.1a to the Computer History Museum . From there, the source code can be freely downloaded for scientific purposes under a Microsoft-specific license .

File format

.docFormat file icon
.docxFile icon of the format in Word 2013

The file name extensions used for Word up to version 2003 or 2004 are called .docfor documents and .dotfor document templates . The incompatibility of versions up to and including 7 ( Microsoft Office 95 ) and versions 8 and above ( Microsoft Office 97 ) is particularly noteworthy . It is based on the fact that Microsoft fundamentally changed the backup functionality, which amounted to the introduction of a new file format, but dispensed with changing the familiar file name extension.

Word can work with different file formats, but some important foreign formats were not supported up to Service Pack 2 from Word 2007 or Word 2010 for Windows to Word for macOS (Mac OS X, OS X). In the meantime, the specifications of the "old" formats have been released by Microsoft. Since the exchange of information from different, independent information systems is becoming increasingly important and various governments had threatened to no longer use the Microsoft Office package due to the proprietary format, a new interoperable document format was presented and released at the end of January 2005: WordprocessingML. Newer Microsoft Word versions support the XML- based WordprocessingML format , and documents in this format are easier to read, process and create, especially for third-party programs. However, these documents were then a lot larger because XML produced a large overhead .

Since Windows version 2007 and Mac version 2008, documents have been saved in the Office Open XML format by default . For reasons of compatibility , however, the old format is still supported. Documents in the new format have the file extension .docxand .docm(documents with macros). Since this format is based on XML , they are easier to read, process and create, especially for third-party programs. Document templates have the suffixes .dotxor .dotm. Because it is a ZIP- based compressed file format, these files are relatively compact. After installing a free " Compatibility Pack " for Microsoft Office in Word for Windows version 2000  or higher (official; Compatibility Pack 4 from January 6, 2010 also works with Word 97), these new file types can also be opened with older versions of Word, edited and saved. For macOS Microsoft offers a separately downloadable converter for Word 2004 that converts OpenXML documents into RTF files.

The Internet Media Type for old format documents is application/msword. For Office Open XML documents, it is application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.wordprocessingml.document.

Security aspects

File format

In the case of digital publication or data exchange of documents in Word format, insights into the most recent changes to the text are possible if the functions quick save, version tracking or change tracking were activated during editing. Furthermore, it may sometimes be possible to determine the original authors and the location of the files on the local computer. However, this information can easily be removed from the document.

Word offers to provide a document with read and / or write protection. A file protected in this way is unlocked via a password entered by the user . With old versions of Word (2003 and earlier) this protection could be broken relatively easily by an attacker without knowing the password. Newer versions of Word use a much better read protection. The write protection can still be bypassed relatively easily.


The automation and enhancement of Microsoft Word can be accomplished through Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) or under Windows through the use of Visual Studio Tools for Office . Before Word 97, automation could be achieved by using your own macro language ( WordBasic ).

Up to version 2004, Word for Macintosh supported VBA. In version 2008, automation was only possible with AppleScript . Word 2011 was delivered with VBA again. VBA is also an integral part of Word 2016.

Word 2013 for Windows RT does not support VBA and therefore only allows automation in the context of the Office apps introduced for the first time with Office 2013 (renamed as Add-Ins in Office 2016 ).


Versions for MS-DOS and compatibles

  • November 1983: Word 1
  • 1985: Word 2
  • 1986: Word 3
  • 1987: Word 4
  • 1989: Word 5
  • 1990: Word 5.5 ; Y2K-compatible version offered free of charge as part of a patch from 1999
  • 1993: Word 6

Macintosh versions

  • January 1985: Word 1 for Macintosh
  • 1987: Word 3
  • 1989: Word 4
  • 1991: Word 5
  • 1993: Word 6.0 Macintosh Edition
  • 1998: Word 98 Macintosh Edition
  • 2000: Word: mac 2001 ; the last version compatible with Mac OS 9
  • 2001: Word: mac vX ; the first version that Mac OS X requires
  • 2004: Word: mac 2004 ; Version for PowerPC computers, runs with the help of Rosetta also on Intel Macs (up to Mac OS X Snow Leopard , 10.6, 2009)
  • 2008: Word 2008 ; first version for Intel computers (native; as universal binary also last version that can be used on PowerPC Macs)
  • 2010: Word 2011
  • 2015: Word 2016 ; first x64 version ( 64-bit )

Versions for OS / 2

  • 1989: Word 5.0 (Family Mode)
  • 1991: Word 5.5 (Family Mode)
  • 1990: Word 1.1 for OS / 2
  • 1991: Word 1.2 for OS / 2

Versions for iOS

  • November 20, 2014: "Microsoft Word 1.3"
  • 2014: "Microsoft Word 1.4"
  • 2015: "Microsoft Word 1.5 to 1.16.3"
  • 2016: "Microsoft Word 1.17.1 to 1.18.5"

Versions for Xenix and other Unix systems

  • 1987: Word 3.0 for XENIX
  • 1991: Word 5.0 for UNIX
  • 1991: Word for UNIX Systems Release 5.1

Versions for Windows (16-bit)

  • November 1989: Word for Windows . It was released around the same time as Windows 2.11 and is one of the first applications - alongside Excel and Adobe PageMaker - for the same.
  • 1991: Word 2.0 for Windows ; with a scripting language called WordBasic , with which processes could be automated.
  • 1993: Word 6.0 for Windows (Word 3, 4 and 5 were skipped to unify the version number with the Mac and DOS versions, as well as the version numbers of WordPerfect , which was the main competitor of MS Word at the time); In Word 6 and higher, a backup function has been built in to prevent the loss of the document that has just been processed due to software errors or a crash in the computer system.

Versions for Windows (32-bit x86)

  • September 1994: Word 6 for Windows NT ; corresponds to Word 6 for Windows (16-bit), but was designed for Windows NT 3.5 and therefore had 32-bit code. Part of Office 4.2 for Windows NT, released before Windows 95 was released.
  • 1995: Word 95 (version 7); u. a. Part of Office 95.
  • 1997: Word 97 (version 8); u. a. Part of Office 97.
  • Summer 1999: Word 2000 (Version 9); u. a. Part of Office 2000.
  • Autumn 2001: Word XP , also Word 2002 (version 10); u. a. Part of Office XP.
  • October 21, 2003: Word 2003 (version 11); u. a. Part of Office 2003. The version 11.6113.5703 indicates the RTM version, after the installation of Service Pack  1, Word 2003 has the version 11.6359.6360.
  • November 30, 2006 (corporate customers) or January 29, 2007 (end users): Word 2007 (version 12), is part of Office 2007 , which was brought onto the market at the same time as Windows Vista .
  • May 15, 2010: Word 2010 (version 14); Part of Office 2010 .
  • January 29, 2013: Word 2013 (version 15); Part of Office 2013 .
  • September 29, 2015: Word 2016 (version 16); Part of Office 2016 .

As of version 7.0, the version numbers are used in the same way as other Office products such as Microsoft Excel , Microsoft PowerPoint , Microsoft Access , etc.

Versions for Windows (64-bit x86 or x64)

  • May 15, 2010: Word 2010 (version 14); Part of Office 2010
  • January 29, 2013: Word 2013 (version 15); Part of Office 2013
  • September 29, 2015: Word 2016 (version 16); Part of Office 2016

Versions for Windows RT (ARM, 32-bit)


  • Richard Hess: Word 2010 - easy and understandable . KnowWare-Verlag, Osnabrück, 2011, ISBN 978-87-91364-95-2 , p. 56 ( Table of Contents [PDF; 880 kB ; accessed on July 15, 2012]).
  • Richard Hess: Word 2010 for advanced users . KnowWare-Verlag, Osnabrück, 2011, ISBN 978-87-91364-96-9 , p. 64 ( table of contents (PDF; 815 kB) [accessed on July 15, 2012]).
  • Klaus Fahnenstich, Rainer G. Haselier: Microsoft Word 2010 - The manual . Microsoft Press, 2011, ISBN 978-3-86645-141-4 , pp. 825 ( Table of Contents [accessed July 25, 2011]).
  • Thorsten Weiß: Word 2010 for students and schoolchildren - technical work, study work, bachelor thesis, seminar paper . KnowWare-Verlag, Osnabrück, 2012, ISBN 978-3-943252-03-3 , p. 56 ( Table of Contents [PDF; 835 kB ; accessed on July 15, 2012]).

similar products

Web links

Commons : Microsoft Word  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. In which programming language is Microsoft Office written? . (accessed on August 12, 2019).
  2. Jared Spataro: Office 2019 is now available for Windows and Mac. Microsoft Corporation , September 24, 2018, accessed October 4, 2018 .
  3. Study on the market share of different office programs by country (accessed on November 24, 2012)
  4. ^ Hajo Schulz: Source texts for MS-DOS and Word for Windows published , Heise online, March 25, 2014. Accessed March 25, 2014
  5. Len Shustek: Microsoft Word for Windows Version 1.1a Source Code. March 24, 2014, accessed March 29, 2014 .
  6. As a result, different file types (formats) are available in word processing programs with the "Save (as)" function , which nevertheless have the same file name extensions .doc.
  7. Microsoft PressPass: Microsoft Expands List of Formats Supported in Microsoft Office
  8. Microsoft Office Binary
  9. Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack: Open and save files from 2007 Office programs with earlier versions of Excel, PowerPoint, and Word. In:
  10. HannesSchurig: 5 tricks to edit password-protected Word documents. In: IMA - Information times different. November 10, 2011, accessed March 24, 2014 .
  11. Office and SharePoint development in Visual Studio. In: Retrieved March 1, 2015 .
  12. ( Memento from August 18, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  13. ^ Microsoft
  15. SCO: Microsoft Word for UNIX Systems Release 5.1 ( Memento from August 20, 2008 in the Internet Archive )