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DOC, short for document, is a term that can be confusing. It is used to identify Microsoft Word Documents because they use a .doc extension and it is also used to identify an eBook format originally used on PalmOS devices by Aportis and called variously DOC, Aportis DOC, and most recently PalmDoc or PalmDOC.

[edit] Microsoft Word DOC files

When DOC is used to refer to Microsoft Documents is can refer to any of several versions of .doc files from the original DOS files to Word 2003 files. (The native format for Word 2007 is Microsoft Office XML, DOCX). There is no guarantee that a product that claims to read DOC files will be able read any particular version of doc file or support all of the features of that version.

To aid in the exchange of doc files between programs every Word version since Word 97 has been able to save their doc files in a Word 97 format. Saving a Word file in this format will lose any of the database features that were added to the file format after Word 97.

Word .doc files are used as an source format for some eBook files. In addition there are converters that will convert .doc files directly into a particular eBook format. Many of these converters actually require that a copy of word be present on the system to help with the conversion.

Some users might wonder why .doc isn't used more often as an eBook format. This is because using Word to read the document is not a very satisfying experience since it is so easy to accidentally change the document and scrolling is not the best way to read a book. Some versions of Word have a review mode that can provide a reasonable reading experience for these documents. Having said that, there are some eBook Readers that do support doc file reading however the additional complexity of the format can cause slow page turns.

There are many other word processing programs that can read and write files that are .doc compatible however some of the .doc features may or may not be supported. This can cause problems when trying to read a .doc file with one of these programs. In addition the eBook translation programs will not look for one of these programs to aid in the translation. The main work around is to use RTF files as source documents. This format is designed to allow the exchange of documents between different programs and operating systems. All Word programs can save files in RTF format. Every change to the DOC file format has a corresponding change to the RTF format. Readers that use RTF will ignore anything they do not understand. Editors will remove anything they do not understand in an RTF.

Word is also considered part of the suite called Microsoft Office files.

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