Microsoft Word, the software that changed the way people type, turns 40

Microsoft Word, originally 'Multi-Tool Word', was first bundled with PC World magazine in November 1983 and achieved commercial success with Windows 3.0 in 1990

Logo of Microsoft Word (photo: IANS)
Logo of Microsoft Word (photo: IANS)


Microsoft Word, that was initially released under the name 'Multi-Tool Word' and transformed the way people type on PCs and laptops, turned 40 on Wednesday.

The famous software was released on 25 October 1983 before being simplified to Microsoft Word. Copies of the word processing app were bundled with the November issue of PC World magazine. 

The first version of Microsoft Word was developed by Charles Simonyi and Richard Brodie, former Xerox programmers hired by Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1981. 

The first Word version, Word 1.0, was released in October 1983 for Xenix and MS-DOS. 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. 

It was then 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, Windows versions include Word 2007, Word 2010, Word 2013, Word 2016, and most recently, Word for Office 365.

In 2014, the source code for Word for Windows in the version 1.1a was made available to the Computer History Museum and the public for educational purposes. Word 2019 added support for scalable vector graphics, Microsoft translator, and LaTeX, as well as expanded drawing functionality.

Nowadays, Microsoft Word is bundled with Microsoft 365, a cloud-powered subscription for a variety of apps and services. "Make your words shine with smart writing assistance, helpful document designs, and easy collaboration tools anywhere, anytime," according to Microsoft.

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