DOC VS DOCX: What's The Difference?

Microsoft Word, which is part of the Microsoft Office suite of products, is responsible for both the DOC and DOCX file extensions. This is why both of these file formats are so widely used.

DOC VS. DOCX Format: Key Differences

Word has supported the DOC file extension for a long time, but the last time it was included in Word was in 2003. In 2007, Word received another upgrade, and the default file extension for word processing was changed to DOCX. When it comes to the DOC vs. DOCX debate, it all boils down to the age of the MS Word application that developed the initial document.

DOC Format: A History

In the initial edition of Word for MS-DOS almost 30 years ago, the DOC format and file extension were introduced. The format was exclusive since it was designed specifically for Microsoft's proprietary document processor: Word was the only software that officially supported DOC files until Microsoft published the specification in 2006.

After 2008, Microsoft has released and revised the DOC format definition for usage in other applications multiple times, albeit the open documentation does not cover all of Word's sophisticated functionalities.

Later Origins Of Office Open XML (DOCX)

The DOC file format was a Microsoft-only format. As a result, other forms of word processing software frequently had difficulties reading DOC files since they couldn't read them. Microsoft sought to build an open standard format for a new word processing file extension.

Microsoft advocated for the adoption of an even broader open standard in the early 2000s, under pressure from the free and open-source Open Office and its rival Open Document Format (ODF). The result was the creation of the DOCX file format.

With the 2007 edition of Word, the XML-based DOCX format became the default format to save files.

Choosing Between DOC & DOCX

For almost every circumstance, DOCX is a superior option. The format produces files that are smaller, lighter, and simpler to read and transport. The Office Open XML standard is open, which means it can be read by almost any word processor, including Google Docs. The only reason to utilize the older DOC file format anymore is to recover files older than 10 years or to operate with a word processor that is much out of date. In any scenario, re-saving the file in DOCX or another current format like ODF for simple conversion is recommended.

Frequently Asked Questions

Google Docs & DOCX Compatibility

A question that is frequently asked is whether Google Docs is compatible with Docx, and the answer is Yes! It is possible to use Google Docs to open and edit Microsoft Word documents. Moreover, it is also possible to save and export your Google doc as a Word document with the .docx extension.

Is a Word Document a .DOC File?

Yes, and no. While .DOC was the standard format for the earlier versions of Microsoft, more recent versions save the files in .DOCX format. So while Word is capable of opening .DOC files, the default file extension will depend upon how old your version of Microsoft Word is.

How Can I Tell if a Word Document is DOC or DOCX?

On Windows 10, you can check the file extension of any file or document by following the steps outlined below.

  1. Open file explorer by pressing start in the taskbar. Then select Windows System, and then File Explorer.
  2. In File Explorer, go to the View tab.
  3. To show file extensions, check the box next to File name extensions.