What is Microsoft Word?

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Updated: 08/03/2018 by Computer Hope

Sometimes called Winword, MS Word, or Word, Microsoft Word is a word processor published by Microsoft. It is one of the office productivity applications included in Microsoft Office. Originally developed by Charles Simonyi and Richard Brodie, it was first released in 1983.

Microsoft Word is available for the Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS, Android, and Apple iOS. It could also be run on the Linux operating system using WINE.

What is Microsoft Word used for?

Microsoft Word allows you to create professional-quality documents, reports, letters, and résumés. Unlike a plain text editor, Microsoft Word has features including spell check, grammar check, text and font formatting, HTML support, image support, advanced page layout, and more.

What does the Microsoft Word editor look like?

Below is an overview of a Microsoft Word 2010 document.

Microsoft Word document diagram

Where do you find or start Microsoft Word?

If you have Microsoft Word or the entire Microsoft Office package installed on Microsoft Windows, you can find Microsoft Word in your Start Menu.

Keep in mind that new computers do not include Microsoft Word. It must be purchased and installed before it can be run on your computer. If you do not want (or cannot afford) to purchase Microsoft Word, you can use a limited version for free at www.office.com.

Note: there are also free word processing programs you can try that are very similar to Microsoft Word.

If Microsoft Word is installed on your computer, but you can’t find it in your Start Menu, use the following steps to manually launch Microsoft Word:

  1. Open My Computer.
  2. Click on or select the C: drive. If Microsoft Office is installed on a drive other than the C: drive, select that drive instead.
  3. Navigate to the Program Files (x86) folder, then the Microsoft Office folder.
  4. In the Microsoft Office folder, if there is a root, open that folder. Then open the OfficeXX folder, where XX is the version of Office (e.g., Office16 for Microsoft Office 2016). If there is no root folder, look for and open a folder having “Office” in the name.
  5. Look for a file named WINWORD.EXE and click or double-click that file to start the Microsoft Word program.

What type of files can Microsoft Word create and use?

Early versions of Microsoft Word primarily created and used the .doc file extension, while newer versions of Word create and use the .docx file extension.

More recent versions of Microsoft Word can create and open the following types of files:

  • .doc, .docm, .docx
  • .dot, .dotm, .dotx
  • .htm, .html
  • .mht, .mhtml
  • .odt
  • .pdf
  • .rtf
  • .txt
  • .wps
  • .xps
  • .xml

Example of a Microsoft Word .doc file

You can download an example of a Microsoft Word .doc document by clicking the Microsoft Word .doc file link.

Desktop publishing, Editor, Google Docs, Software terms, Word processor, Word processor terms, WordPad

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