DOC - Microsoft Word Binary File Format

What is a DOC file

Utilized in PC word processing, the DOC (Document) file is most commonly associated with Microsoft Word. Originally a plain-text document, today users can insert hyperlinks, images, and change margin, alignment, and more. At its creation, DOC files were utilized for all word processing needs on a personal computer. Microsoft Word chose the DOC file extension as their default in the 1990’s, but in recent years this file type became less popular (similar file extensions replaced the DOC extension). More recently, DOC files are used for plain text files instead of more complicated files with rich text and heavy formatting.

The DOC file extension is used for word processing, including Microsoft Word Binary File Format. Most DOC files are compatible with every version of Microsoft Word, but because of the binary coding, not all features are available in every version of Microsoft Word or programs like Open Office and Apple Pages. Therefore, some rich text and styles of word processing do not transfer, but a plain-text version can be opened. DOC files are useful for creating documents that contain tables, graphs, images, videos, and audio, and can be used in conjunction with various templates for tables, charts, and graphs. What DOC files gain in capabilities the lose in compatibility with other programs when not formatted properly due to a lack of reverse engineering.

Here's a small, but not exhaustive list of programs that can open DOC documents:

  • Microsoft Word (97-2010)
  • WordPerfect
  • AbiWord
  • Apple Pages
  • AppleWorks
  • KWord
  • Microsoft Word
  • StarOffice
  • IBM Lotus Symphony
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