Open Specifications

Through the Open Specifications program, Microsoft is helping developers open new opportunities by making technical documents related to interoperability for certain popular Microsoft products available to view and download at no charge.

Although the Open Specifications technical documents are freely available, many of them include patented inventions. Some of these patents are available at no charge under the Open Specifications Promise or the Microsoft Community Promise. The remaining patents are available through various licensing programs. For more information, please visit the Microsoft Open Specifications Dev Center website or send an email message to the IP Licensing Team.

Protocols icon


Microsoft publishes technical documents for protocols that are implemented in Windows client (including .NET Framework) and Windows Server (collectively Windows), Office, SharePoint Products and Technologies, Exchange Server, and Microsoft SQL Server and are used to communicate with other Microsoft software products.        

Computer Languages icon

Computer Languages

Microsoft publishes technical documents for the VBA programming language and Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML).

Standards Support icon

Standards Support

Microsoft publishes technical documents that describe support for specific standards implemented in Exchange Server and Outlook; Internet Explorer; OData; Microsoft SQL Server; Windows WordPad; and Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Data Portability icon

Data Portability

Microsoft publishes technical documents for the file formats created by Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook and by SQL Server. Additionally, it publishes technical documents that describe how user-created data in SQL Server can be extracted for use in other software products.

Microsoft revises the technical documents regularly and, particularly, in connection with the release of significant product updates and new versions.

Forums and Blogs

Open Specifications Forums icon

Open Specifications Forums

These user forums are available to answer technical questions about the Open Specifications documents

Open Specifications Blog icon

Open Specifications Blogs

These blogs, authored by the engineers who support the Open Specifications documents, provide a different venue for further discussion of those documents.

Also in this section