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Microsoft Word FREE Tutorials
Download FREE Microsoft Word Tutorials and Training Manuals in .pdf format developed by
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What is Microsoft Word?
Microsoft Word is a word processing application from Microsoft. It was originally written by Richard Brodie for IBM PCs running DOS in 1983. Later versions were created for the Apple Macintosh (1984), SCO UNIX, OS/2 and Microsoft Windows (1989). It later became part of the Microsoft Office suite, and Microsoft refers to the Windows version of Word as Microsoft Office Word in this context to indicate its inclusion in the suite, although it is still also sold as a standalone product or bundled with Microsoft Works.
Word document format (.DOC) as of the early 2000s was the de facto standard of document file format. Though usually just referred to as "Word document format", this term refers primarily to the format used by default in Word version 97-2003. In addition to the default Word binary format, there are actually a number of optional alternate file formats that Microsoft has used over the years. Rich Text Format (RTF) was an early effort to create a format for interchanging formatted text between applications. RTF remains an optional format for Word that retains most formatting and all content of the original document. Later, after HTML appeared, Word supported HTML as an additional full-fidelity roundtrip format similar to RTF, with the additional capability that the file could be viewed in a web browser. Word 2007 (currently in beta) uses the new Microsoft Office Open XML format as its default format, but retains the older Word 97-2003 format as an option. It also supports (for output only) PDF and XPS format, which is much like an open-source PDF system. However, due to disagreements with Adobe, the "Save As PDF" feature will only be available as a free download from Microsoft's web site, not included in the box.
The document formats of the various versions of Word change in subtle and not so subtle ways; 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. Wordart also changed drastically in a recent version causing documents that used it to get messed up when moving in either direction. The DOC format of Word 97 was publicly documented by Microsoft, but later versions have been kept private, available only to partners, governments and institutions.
People who don't use MS Office sometimes find it difficult to use a Word document. Various solutions have been created. Since the format is the de-facto standard, many word processors such as AbiWord or OpenOffice.org need file import and export filters for Microsoft Word's document file format to compete. Furthermore, there is Apache Jakarta POI, which is an open-source Java library that aims to read and write Word's binary file. Most of this interoperability is achieved through reverse engineering since documentation of the file format, while available to partners, is not openly available. For the last 10 years Microsoft has also made available free viewer programs for Windows that can read Word documents without a full version of the MS Word software.
The aforementioned Word format is a binary format. Microsoft has stated that they will move towards an XML-based file format for their office applications: Microsoft Office Open XML. Word 2003 has an XML file format as an option using a publicly documented schema called WordprocessingML, endorsed by such institutions as the Danish Government.
It is possible for a user to write a plug-in to allow Word to understand any file format. When Microsoft was not the market leader and Word Perfect was, an SDK was developed to allow advanced users to give support to other formats. This SDK is called the WinWord Converter SDK and is still available at the Microsoft web site, though is not maintained. The "professional" edition of Word 2003 includes the ability to handle non-Microsoft XML data schemas directly in Word.