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*Details: File format summary



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Name Microsoft Word Document
Version 97-2003
Other names Microsoft Word for Windows Document (97-XP)
Identifiers MIME:  application/msword
Apple Uniform Type Identifier:
PUID:  fmt/40
Classification Word Processor
Disclosure None
Description With the release of Word 97, Microsoft revised the native binary word processing format, which is based on its generic OLE2 Compound Document Format. The format is proprietary and Microsoft does not make details of its structure public. The information here is derived primarily from's reverse-engineered documentation of the format and should not therefore be regarded as definitive. A Word document is stored as a ‘WordDocument’ stream within a Compound Document Format file. The format remained unchanged with the releases of Word 2000, 2002 and 2003. An alternative extension of .wbk refers to a backup file of a Word document, however there is no material or structural difference between a .wbk file and the .doc file it is a backup of.
Orientation Binary
Byte order Little-endian (Intel)
Related file formats Has lower priority than Microsoft Word Document Template (97-2003)
Has lower priority than Microsoft Word Document (Password Protected) (97-2003)
Has lower priority than Microsoft Word Document Template (Password Protected) (97-2003)
Has priority over OLE2 Compound Document Format  
Has priority over Microsoft Word (Generic) (6.0-2003)
Is subsequent version of Microsoft Word Document (6.0/95)
Is subtype of OLE2 Compound Document Format  
Technical Environment  
Supported until  
Format Risk  
Developed by Microsoft Corporation
Supported by Microsoft Corporation
Source Digital Preservation Department / The National Archives
Source date 11 Mar 2005
Source description This format can be identified via a container signature in DROID version 6 or later. The PRONOM database cannot currently represent container signatures.
Last updated 19 Apr 2012
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