Tech Tips Home
The Best Tech Tips And Daily Deals
Newsletter On The Internet!

WorldStart Tech Tip And Store Search
Email: Password: Login Remember Me

Like what you see here? Subscribe to the Tech Tips newsletter!   Email: Subscribe

Word Document Formats – What Do They Mean?


If you use Microsoft Word, you’ll see that you have the option to save documents in several formats.


Many of you have asked what these formats are, and what the difference is between them. Below I’ve got a list of the types of files available in Word and what they mean.

Word Document– Word files will show up as .docx files. This is the default file format for Word 2007 and beyond. In addition to text, .docx files can contain styles, objects, styles formats, and images. All of these separate items are compressed together into one file.

Word Macro-Enabled Document – These files have the .docm extensions. The documents contain macros. Macros are a set of instructions that can perform a task. For example, a macro could allow you to change all of your text to a different font and size with a single keystroke.

Word 97-2003 Document – This is the file format used for earlier versions of Word. In addition to text, these files can contain formatting information and can also contain active hyperlinks.

Word 97-2003 Template – This allows you to turn a document into a template that will work in Word 97 – 2003

PDF – stands for Portable Document Format. This format can be read on computers, smartphones, and tablets.

XPS Document – This file format keeps the document formatting and makes file sharing easier. It is difficult to change the data in the file and you can only open them with a program that can read .xps documents

Single File Web Page, Web Page, Web Page, filtered – these formats save a document in the form of a .html file. These are designed for being read on the web. These files can include images, sounds and more.

Rich Text Format – .rtf is a format originally implemented by Microsoft. It allowed products to be shared across various platforms. You can include photos in rich text documents.

Plain Text – .txt files contain the text but do not transfer formatting, hyperlinks or photos.

Word XML Document, Word 2003 XML Document, Stirct Open XML Document – The .xml extension stands for Extensible Markup Language and is used for including data in files. XML is similar to HTML.

OpenDocument Text -Open Document text is an open-source format used for programs like Open Office and Libre Office. .odt files are compatible between these open-source programs and Microsoft Word.  Some formatting may be lost if a Word file is saved in this format.

Works 6-9 Document – .wps is the default format for Microsoft Works version 6-9.0. It does not include the advanced formatting options found in Word documents.

~ Cynthia

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Responses to “Word Document Formats – What Do They Mean?”

  1. Ron MVP says:

    I am guessing that you have the option to show file extensions in Explorer turned off. Because in my Word, both 2010 and 2016, the extensions are shown after the text description.

    PS you missed DOTM and Strict Open XML (docx)

    You incorrectly lump Single file web page (MHT / MHTML) and HTM/HTML web pages

    You incorrectly lumped Strict Open XML (docx) with XML (and you misspelled Strict ). I found this article that describes Strict XML:

    MHT/MHTML is also an IE specific file format that embeds pictures in the single file

    It would be nice if you more clearly defined the difference between a “normal” Web page and Filtered Web page. In my experience, the HTML generated for the normal web page is really crappy, full of ‘extra’, redundant, html. The filtered page have the same layout with much less HTML, making them easier to edit by hand.

    HTML pages that include pictures put the pictures in a separate file/folder that has the same name with the “_files” suffix added.

    In my “personalized” copy of your aticle, I have put the file extensions before the text names and highighted them.

    Other than that, keep up the good work.

  2. Gord says:

    Great explanation and very clear. Thank you, great work

  3. claude says:

    Great work for most readers. For the strict purists, it was not detailed enough, but then they did not need the descriptions. For the rest of us, thanks for the information! Claude

Leave a Reply

Like these tips? Get them for FREE in your email!

WorldStart's Tech Tips Newsletter

  • Tech Tips Daily - Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

  • Tech Tips Weekly - If you don't want our Tech Tips newsletter every day, then sign up for this weekly newsletter to get the best information of the week. Sent on Fridays.

Other Newsletters

  • WorldStart's Daily Deals - Every week, we send out great deals in our Daily Deals newsletter. Many of these deals are exclusively for our Daily Deals newsletter subscribers and can't be found with our regular specials.

  • Just For Grins - Each issue includes a couple clean jokes, some funny quotes, and a hilarious reader's story. Newsletter is sent five days a week.

Enter Email Address:


Your e-mail address is safe with us!
We only use it to send you the newsletters you request. It is NEVER disclosed to a third party for any reason, ever! Plus, if you decided you don't like our newsletters (don't worry, you'll love them), unsubscribing is fast and easy.

Free Newsletter Signup

Tech Tips Daily

Become a tech pro! Get the very best tech and computer help sent directly to your email every weekday!

Tech Tips Weekly

The week's best in tech and computer help. Get your issue sent to your email every Friday!

WorldStart's Daily Deals

The very best deals on the Internet! Get a new set of incredible sales every day of the week!

Just For Grins

Clean jokes, funny quotes, and hilarious comics. Sent 5 times a week straight to your email.


Love Worldstart? Refer A Friend!

WorldStart's Premium Membership

Tip Archive