History of Microsoft Word
The first version of Microsoft Word was developed by Charles Simonyi and Richard Brodie, former Xerox programmers hired by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1981. Both programmers worked on Xerox Bravo, the first WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) word processor. The first Word version, Word 1.0, was released in October 1983 for Xenix and MS-DOS; it was followed by four very similar versions that were not very successful. The first Windows version was released in 1989, with a slightly improved interface. When Windows 3.0 was released in 1990, Word became a huge commercial success. Word for Windows 1.0 was followed by Word 2.0 in 1991 and Word 6.0 in 1993. Then it was renamed to Word 95 and Word 97, Word 2000 and Word for Office XP (to follow Windows commercial names). With the release of Word 2003, the numbering was again year-based. Since then, Word 2007, Word 2010, Word 2013, and most recently, Word 2016 have been released for Windows.
In 1986, an agreement between Atari and Microsoft brought Word to the Atari ST. The Atari ST version was a translation of Word 1.05 for the Apple Macintosh; however, it was released under the name Microsoft Write (the name of the word processor included with Windows during the 80s and early 90s). Unlike other versions of Word, the Atari version was a one time release with no future updates or revisions. The release of Microsoft Write was one of two major PC applications that were released for the Atari ST (the other application being WordPerfect). Microsoft Write was released for the Atari ST in 1988.
Word 1990 to 1995
The first version of Word for Windows was released in 1990 at a price of US$498, but was not very popular as Windows users still comprised a minority of the market. The next year, Windows 3.0 debuted, followed shortly afterwards by WinWord 1.1 which was updated for the new OS (WinWord 1.0 had been designed for Windows 2.x and could not operate in protected mode on 286 and up PCs). The failure of WordPerfect to produce a Windows version proved a fatal mistake. The following year, WinWord 2.0 was released which had further improvements and finally solidified Word's marketplace dominance. WinWord 3.0 came out in 1992 and was designed for the newly released Windows 3.1, also requiring a 386-based PC for the first time.
The early versions of Word also included copy protection mechanisms that tried to detect debuggers, and if one was found, it produced the message "The tree of evil bears bitter fruit. Only the Shadow knows. Now trashing program disk." and performed a zero seek on the floppy disk (but did not delete its contents).
After MacWrite, Word for Macintosh never had any serious rivals, although programs such as Nisus Writer provided features such as non-continuous selection, which were not added until Word 2002 in Office XP. Word 5.1 for the Macintosh, released in 1992, was a very popular word processor, owing to its elegance, relative ease of use and feature set. However, version 6.0 for the Macintosh, released in 1994, was widely derided, unlike the Windows version. It was the first version of Word based on a common code base between the Windows and Mac versions; many accused it of being slow, clumsy and memory intensive.
With the release of Word 6.0 in 1993 Microsoft again attempted to synchronize the version numbers and coordinate product naming across platforms; this time across the three versions for DOS, Macintosh, and Windows (where the previous version was Word for Windows 2.0). There may have also been thought given to matching the current version 6.0 of WordPerfect for DOS and Windows, Word's major competitor. However, this wound up being the last version of Word for DOS. In addition, subsequent versions of Word were no longer referred to by version number, and were instead named after the year of their release (e.g. Word 95 for Windows, synchronizing its name with Windows 95, and Word 98 for Macintosh), once again breaking the synchronization.
When Microsoft became aware of the Year 2000 problem, it released the entire DOS port of Microsoft Word 5.5 instead of getting people to pay for the update. As of February 2014, it is still available for download from Microsoft's web site.
Word 6.0 was the second attempt to develop a common code base version of Word. The first, code-named Pyramid, had been an attempt to completely rewrite the existing product. It was abandoned when it was determined that it would take the development team too long to rewrite and then catch up with all the new capabilities that could have been added in the same time without a rewrite. Supporters of Pyramid claimed that it would have been faster, smaller, and more stable than the product that was eventually released for Macintosh, and which was compiled using a beta version of Visual C++ 2.0 that targets the Macintosh, so many optimizations have to be turned off (the version 4.2.1 of Office is compiled using the final version), and sometimes use the Windows API simulation library included. Pyramid would have been truly cross-platform, with machine-independent application code and a small mediation layer between the application and the operating system.
More recent versions of Word for Macintosh are no longer ported versions of Word for Windows.
Later versions of Word have more capabilities than merely word processing. The drawing tool allows simple desktop publishing operations, such as adding graphics to documents.
Word 97 had the same general operating performance as later versions such as Word 2000. This was the first copy of Word featuring the Office Assistant, "Clippit", which was an animated helper used in all Office programs. This was a takeover from the earlier launched concept in Microsoft Bob. Word 97 introduced the macro programming language Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) which remains in use in Word 2016.
Word 98 for the Macintosh gained many features of Word 97, and was bundled with the Macintosh Office 98 package. Document compatibility reached parity with Office 97 and Word on the Mac became a viable business alternative to its Windows counterpart. Unfortunately, Word on the Mac in this and later releases also became vulnerable to future macro viruses that could compromise Word (and Excel) documents, leading to the only situation where viruses could be cross-platform. A Windows version of this was only bundled with the Japanese/Korean Microsoft Office 97 Powered By Word 98 and could not be purchased separately. It was then released in the same period as well.
Word 2001/Word X
Word 2001 was bundled with the Macintosh Office for that platform, acquiring most, if not all, of the feature set of Word 2000. Released in October 2000, Word 2001 was also sold as an individual product. The Macintosh version, Word X, released in 2001, was the first version to run natively on (and required) Mac OS X.
Word 2002 was bundled with Office XP and was released in 2001. It had many of the same features as Word 2000, but had a major new feature called the 'Task Panes', which gave quicker information and control to a lot of features that were before only available in modal dialog boxes. One of the key advertising strategies for the software was the removal of the Office Assistant in favor of a new help system, although it was simply disabled by default.
For the 2003 version, the Office programs, including Word, were rebranded to emphasize the unity of the Office suite, so that Microsoft Word officially became Microsoft Office Word.
A new Macintosh version of Office was released in May 2004. Substantial cleanup of the various applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and feature parity with Office 2003 (for Microsoft Windows) created a very usable release. Microsoft released patches through the years to eliminate most known macro vulnerabilities from this version. While Apple released Pages and the open source community created NeoOffice, Word remains the most widely used word processor on the Macintosh.
The release includes numerous changes, including a new XML-based file format, a redesigned interface, an integrated equation editor and bibliographic management. Additionally, an XML data bag was introduced, accessible via the object model and file format, called Custom XML - this can be used in conjunction with a new feature called Content Controls to implement structured documents. It also has contextual tabs, which are functionality specific only to the object with focus, and many other features like Live Preview (which enables you to view the document without making any permanent changes), Mini Toolbar, Super-tooltips, Quick Access toolbar, SmartArt, etc.
Word 2007 uses a new file format called docx. Word 2000-2003 users on Windows systems can install a free add-on called the "Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack" to be able to open, edit, and save the new Word 2007 files. Alternatively, Word 2007 can save to the old doc format of Word 97-2003.
Word 2008 was released on January 15, 2008. It includes some new features from Word 2007, such as a ribbon-like feature that can be used to select page layouts and insert custom diagrams and images. Word 2008 also features native support for the new Office Open XML format, although the old doc format can be set as a default.
The release of Word 2013 has brought Word a cleaner look and this version focuses further on Cloud Computing with documents being saved automatically to OneDrive (previously Skydrive). If enabled, documents and settings roam with the user. Other notable features are a new read mode which allows for horizontal scrolling of pages in columns, a bookmark to find where the user left off reading their document and opening PDF documents in Word just like Word content. The version released for the Windows 8 operating system is modified for use with a touchscreen and on tablets. It is the first version of Word to not run on Windows XP or Windows Vista.
In 2016, Microsoft Word 16 was released. It is the modern newest version of the word processing application. New features include the tell me, share and faster shape formatting option too. Other useful features include the work together in real time which allows users to store documents on Share Point or OneDrive, improved version history and smart lookup tool as well. As normal, several editions of the program were released as well, including one for home. Business people can download the business edition.
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