File Extension DOC
File extension DOC is most commonly associated with documents produced by Microsoft Word, the popular word processing application bundled with all versions of Microsoft Office. Many other applications also use the DOC file extension as a generic term to define a document of some form, though its use is not widespread.
DOC files were originally used by WordPerfect, a word processing application used extensively in the 1980's. However, the DOC file extension has been almost exclusively used by Microsoft Word since its introduction in the 1990's, and is now the most widely recognised file format for word processed documents which is reflected by its support in the majority of word processing applications.
Early versions of the DOC file format contained primarily formatted text, though development of the format have allowed DOC files to contain a wide variety of embedded objects such as tables and charts from other applications as well as media such as sounds, videos, images and diagrams. DOC files can also contain mail merge information, which allows a word-processed template to be used in conjunction with a spreadsheet or database. This is particularly useful when creating mailing labels or letters, where the same document albeit with a different name or address on each one if required.
DOC files can be opened using the latest version of most popular word processing applications such as Microsoft Word and OpenOffice.org Writer. Wordpad in Windows can also be used to open DOC files, though formatting and embedded object support is limited. Older versions of Microsoft Word can be used to open files created in newer versions with the aid of a freely available compatibility pack, though formatting or embedded item information may be lost in the conversion process. As of Microsoft Office 2007, an File extension XML-based file format called File extension DOCX is the native Microsoft Word format. This is a different file format which is not compatible with older word processing applications. Documents must be saved in 97-2003 DOC format in order for them to be backwards compatible.