The file extension DOC refers to document files which are created with Microsoft Office versions up to 2003. Microsoft Word is a word processor and is one of the applications offered in the Microsoft Office suite. Files which end in .doc format are documents created with older versions of MS Office.
If someone has sent you a DOC file and you are wondering what the file is as well as what program created it, chances are you probably have one of the newer versions of MS Office, such as 2007 and higher, or perhaps you have a different word processing program, such as Microsoft Works.
How to Open DOC Files
To open a DOC file, first you can try double clicking on it to allow your PC to find the corresponding application that created it. If this program cannot be found, then it will be necessary to find another method for opening the file.
With Microsoft Office 2007 or higher, you should be able to open a DOC file. The only thing that can happen is that you will receive a message that states some of the formatting may be changed before the document opens in Compatibility Mode. Regardless, you can still view a DOC file in Microsoft Word 2007 or higher.
If you do not have Microsoft Office installed and you are using another word processor program such as Microsoft Works, it may be necessary to download a different program in order to open a DOC file. Although Microsoft Works looks very similar to Microsoft Word, it uses a different format for creating files, which means the file extensions end in .wps.
In this case, you can download an office suite program, such as OpenOffice, which contains a built-in word processor that is capable of reading word processing documents in a variety of different formats. It is a free program that can be downloaded from OpenOffice.org.
Once you download and install the program, right click on the DOC file and then choose Open With from the drop-down menu. Browse to OpenOffice and click on it to open the file with the DOC extension.
You can also choose to download a File Viewer from the Microsoft website at office.microsoft.com. It will allow you to open and view the contents of the DOC file without having to download a complete office suite of applications. Note that a File Viewer will only allow you to view and print the file and you will need a program such as OpenOffice to perform any edits once you open the file.