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DOCX is the file name extension used to identify files in the Microsoft Office Open XML format (OOXML}. This is the native file format for Word 2007 and later. Word 2000, 2002 and 2003 can be updated to read and write this format with a free download from the Microsoft web site.



Microsoft released this format to meet the complaint that the earlier DOC format used in word was a closed binary format. Instead of adopting any industry standard they have chosen to develop their own format and then release it. They compete directly the the ODT format developed by Sun and IBM. Like the ODT format this format is also encapsulated in a ZIP file. Note that this format is different from the XML format released in word 2003.


There are multiple files in this format. They typically include:

  • [Content_Types].xml
  • _rels/.rels
  • word/_rels/document.xml.rels
  • word/document.xml
  • word/footnotes.xml
  • word/endnotes.xml
  • word/footer1.xml
  • word/theme/theme1.xml
  • word/settings.xml
  • word/webSettings.xml
  • word/styles.xml
  • word/numbering.xml
  • word/fontTable.xml
  • docProps/core.xml
  • docProps/app.xml

The document.xml file contains the text while the others contain metadata and word processing setup files.


A document containing: 'This word is bold.' would look like:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
<w:document xmlns:ve=""
  <w:pw:rsidR="00F25A57" w:rsidRDefault="00F25A57">
    <w:r><w:t xml:space="preserve">This </w:t></w:r>
    <w:r><w:t xml:space="preserve"> is bold.</w:t></w:r>
  <w:sectPr w:rsidR="00F25A57" w:rsidSect="00F25A57">
    <w:pgSz w:w="12240" w:h="15840"/>
    <w:pgMar w:top="1440" w:right="1800" w:bottom="1440" w:left="1800" w:header="720" w:footer="720" w:gutter="0"/>
    <w:cols w:space="720"/>
    <w:docGrid w:linePitch="360"/>

Other file extensions

  • .DOCM uses the same basic XML format as the Office Word 2007 XML document format, but can store VBA macro code. This file type is created when VBA macro code is present in the file.
  • .DOTX is the XML template format. (.DOTM is the form used to support VBA macro code)
  • Other office products use a format that is similar to the .DOCX format. Excel uses .xlsx and power point uses .pptx for the extension on these files. The same basic container mechanism is used and fundamental organization. Of course there are unique elements as needed for the product.

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