Office File Formats

This documentation contains detailed technical specifications for file formats implemented in certain Office applications, including the binary file formats created by Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and the Outlook Personal Folders (.pst) file format. In addition, the documentation includes a set of companion overview and reference documents that supplement the technical specifications with conceptual background and technical reference information.

Technical specifications for standards-based file formats implemented in Office applications may be found in the Standards Support section of the Open Specifications library.

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.

Explore Office File Formats Documentation

Introduces file formats and related documentation

Office File Formats Introduction Document

Introduces the persistence formats and identifies related documents and specifications that provide information about how each format is implemented.

File format technical documents

Office File Formats Technical Documents

Provides detailed technical specifications for file formats implemented in certain Office applications.

Forums and Blogs

MSDN user forums for technical questions about Open Specifications documents

Open Specifications Forums

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

Open specifications blogs to further discuss open specification documents

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.



Office File Formats PDF .zip file (70+ MB)

Office Protocols PDF .zip file (59+ MB)

SharePoint Products and Technologies Protocols PDF .zip file (154+ MB)

Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Standards Support PDF .zip file (38+ MB)

Exchange Server Protocols PDF .zip file (82+ MB)

Exchange Server and Outlook Standards Support PDF .zip file (3+ MB)

Open Specifications Developer Center

Office Developer Center

Office Protocols