Microsoft Word

word processor software part of Microsoft 365

Microsoft Word or MS Word (often called Word) is a graphical word processing program that users can type with. It is made by the computer company Microsoft. Its purpose is to allow users to type and save documents.

Microsoft Word
Stable release
Microsoft Office 2016, Microsoft Office 2019, or as part of Microsoft 365
Operating systemMicrosoft Windows
TypeWord processor
WebsiteWord Home Page - Microsoft Office Online

Similar to other word processors, it has helpful tools to make documents.

Microsoft Word is a part of Microsoft Office, but can also be bought separately.



The program was first released in 1981. Many of the ideas and features in Microsoft Word came from Bravo, the first graphical writing program. Microsoft bought the Bravo program, and changed its name to Microsoft Word. When it first came out, it was not very popular, and did not sell as well as other writing programs like WordPerfect. Although it was not very popular when it came out, it had a feature called WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), which meant that people can change the visual style of writing (e.g. bold, italics), by selecting and formatting text, when in other programs like WordPerfect, people had to add special 'codes' to change the style of writing. WYSIWYG is now a common feature of all computer writing programs.



There are versions for Microsoft Word for other operating systems as well as Microsoft Windows. New versions support fewer operating systems, although they always support Windows.

  • Word for Windows 1.1, for Windows 3.0 came out in March, 1990.
  • Word for Windows 1.1a, for Windows 3.1 came out in June, 1990.
  • Word for Windows 2.0, came out in 1991.
  • Word for Windows 6.0, came out in 1993.
  • Word for Windows 95 (sometimes called Word 7), came out in 1995.
  • Word 97 (sometimes called Word 8), came out in 1997.
  • Word 2000 (sometimes called Word 9), came out in 1999.
  • Word 2002 (sometimes called Word 10 or Word XP), came out in 2001.
  • Word 2007 which required Windows XP Service Pack 2.
  • Word 2019 which is latest version of Microsoft Word to support Windows XP Professional 64-bit edition.
  • Word 1.0 for Mac came out on January 18, 1985.
  • Word 3.0 for Mac came out on January 31, 1987. (There was no "2.0" version.)
  • Word 4.0 for Mac came out on November 6, 1990.
  • Word 5.1 for Mac came out in 1992.
  • Word 2001 was released in 2000.
  • Word 2004 was released in May 2004.
  • Word 2008 was released on January 15, 2008.
  • Word 2011 was released in October 2010.



The program is very popular.

Without configuration the program saved the document in a proprietary file format, so other programs could not open it. When the user sent his document to a friend, the friend needed a copy of Microsoft Word to read the document. Then that friend would probably also save documents in the same secret format of Word. This gave Microsoft Word a dominant position.

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