Software & Apps File Types 60 60 people found this article helpful How to Open, Edit, & Convert DOC Files You don't have to have Microsoft Word to access these documents By Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated November 20, 2019 File Types Design Cryptocurrency MS Office Windows Linux Google Drive Apps File Types Backup & Utilities View More Tweet Share Email A file with the DOC file extension is a Microsoft Word Document file. It's the default file format used in Microsoft Word 97-2003, while newer versions of MS Word (2007+) use the DOCX file extension by default. Microsoft's DOC file format can store images, formatted text, tables, charts, and other things common for word processors. This older DOC format differs from DOCX mainly in that the latter uses ZIP and XML to compress and store the contents while DOC does not. Lifewire / Theresa Chiechi DOC files have nothing to do with DDOC or ADOC files, so you might double-check that you're reading the file extension carefully before trying to open it. How to Open a DOC File Microsoft Word (version 97 and above) is the primary program used for opening and working with DOC files, but it isn't free to use (unless you're on the MS Office free trial). However, there are free alternatives to Microsoft Office that include support for DOC files, like LibreOffice Writer, OpenOffice Writer, and WPS Office Writer. Both of these applications can not only open DOC files but also edit them and save them back to the same format, and the former two can even save the DOC file to Microsoft's newer DOCX format. DOC Files. If you don't have a word processor installed on your computer, and you don't want to add one, Google Docs is a nice alternative to MS Word that lets you upload DOC files to your Google Drive account to view, edit, and even share the file through your web browser. It's much faster to go this route instead of installing a word processor application, plus there are added benefits (but also drawbacks) that you can read about in this review of Google Docs. Microsoft even has its own free Word Viewer tool that lets you view DOC files (not edit) without needing any MS Office programs on your computer. Do you use the Chrome web browser? If so, you can open DOC files pretty quickly with Google's free Office Editing for Doc, Sheets & Slides extension. This tool will open DOC files right in your browser that you run into on the internet so that you don't have to save them to your computer and then open them again in a DOC opener. It also lets you drag a local DOC file right into Chrome and start reading it or editing it with Google Docs. Also, see this list of Free Word Processors for some additional free programs that can open DOC files. If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the DOC file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open DOC files, see our How to guide to changing the default program for a specific file extension to learn how to make that change in Windows. How to Convert a DOC File Any good word processor that supports opening a DOC file can most assuredly save the file to a different document format. All the software mentioned above — WPS Office Writer, Microsoft Word, Google Docs, etc., can save a DOC file to a different format. If you're looking for a specific conversion, like DOC to DOCX, keep in mind what we said above about those MS Office alternatives. Another option for converting a DOC file to the DOCX format is to use a dedicated document converter. One example is the Zamzar website — just upload the DOC file to that website to be given a number of options to convert it to. You can also use a free file converter to convert a DOC file to formats like PDF and JPG. One we like to use is FileZigZag because it's like Zamzar in that you don't have to download any programs to use it. It supports saving a DOC file to lots of formats in addition to PDF and JPG, like RTF, HTML, ODT, and TXT.