Short History of Microsoft Word


Since making its debut in 1983, the Microsoft Word word processing application has been through 12 version upgrades and, at the time of publication, is in its 13th version as part of the Microsoft Office 2010 suite. As a member of the Office package, Word is teamed with several of the company's other productivity applications, including Publisher, Excel and PowerPoint.


  • Originally known as the "Bravo" product, the groundwork for the Word software was brought to Microsoft in 1981 from the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center by Charles Simonyi. In 1982, Microsoft formed the Word development team and, in 1983, the first version of Word for the disk operating system (DOS) was released. In its initial version, the program was built on the philosophy of "what you see is what you get," promising users that what appeared onscreen would appear in print. After two more version releases, Word for Windows 1.0 was released in 1989.


  • Microsoft's Word 2.0 for Windows was released in 1991 and, in 1993, Word 6.0 for Windows hit the market. The company opted to renumber the version sequencing with Word 6.0 so it would match the numbering sequence of the original DOS versions. In 1995, Microsoft created the Office suite that included Word 7.0, renamed Word 95. This started the trend of Word versions containing a year instead of a version number in its official moniker. Word 97 and Word 2000 were released in 1997 and 1999, respectively.


  • Since the start of the 21st century, the Microsoft Word application has been upgraded and released in four versions: Word 2002 -- also known as Word XP because of the Office XP label -- Word 2003, Word 2007 and Word 2010. With the introduction of Word 2007, the program received a major facelift that completely changed the user interface. Several advanced applications also began appearing with Word 2007, including Extensible Markup Language (XML) editing capabilities and grammar and spell check in foreign languages.

Word 2010

  • Released in 2009, Microsoft's Word 2010 comes with a variety of upgrades, such as text effects, collaboration capabilities and enhanced navigational tools. Word 2010 enables users to create eye-catching text content through several effects, including gradient fills and reflections. The software is the first in its line to allow multiple users to simultaneously access, write and edit the same document from various locations. Word 2010 also enables users to organize and browse a document's content from a single window, saving time and effort of having to sift through extensive content to find desired information.

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