I'm starting to get multiple MS Word documents sent to me, and I'd like to detect what version of MS word created, or last saved, each doc.

Is there some tool for that?   Or, can I determine such information by looking with a text editor or a binary editor?

I have MS Office suite 2002 and Open office, if that helps.

  • May I ask why you want to do that? What are you trying to accomplish?
    – KCotreau
    Commented Jun 21, 2011 at 10:43
  • 1
    @KCotreau, I am trying to determine, for a large number of files, what version of MS Word created (or at least last touched) them. Part of this is information gathering, and part is ensuring that edits are exchanged in a mutually compatible way. Commented Jun 21, 2011 at 21:15

4 Answers 4


Give trID a try. It looks to be like the file command in *nix.

If that doesn't work try the *nix file command, available in Gnuwin32, or in Cygwin.

Added about Quickview Plus- Another one to try is Quickview Plus. Quickview was a miracle/innovative type program some years back, I don't know if it is still used as much now but it opens loads of extensions. I just tried to open a file and it said MS Word 2000 in the bottom left hand corner. So that program may work for you. It's a 30 day trial that I tried.

  • I downloaded that program. All it does is tell me that the docs are probably Ms Word docs. It gives no version and although it does report Word '95 docs slightly differently than Word 2002 docs, that's about it. ... What is this unix FILE command? I can't seem to find any reference to that. Commented Jun 21, 2011 at 8:09
  • @Brock Adams You'll likely have more luck with QVP, but to your question about the file command , it's not at the link you mention 'cos that one just has ones it deems common, but it is common just not listed at your link, here it is mentioned, so it exists en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_(command) and for windows it's in gnuwin32 or cygwin. And you just say >file a.a And it tells you what file type it is , which is regardless of extension. So it might say this file is an HTML file.
    – barlop
    Commented Jun 21, 2011 at 9:28
  • QVP avantstar.com/metro/home/Downloads (it's clearly still being kept up to date). and download.cnet.com/Quick-View-Plus-Standard-Edition/…
    – barlop
    Commented Jun 21, 2011 at 9:34
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QuickView says Quickview used to be shipped with windows 95,98. But starting with 2000 and ME, no longer. There Quickview Plus, is a commercial alternative. I linked to QVP and it's up to date. QV is apparently available web17.webbpro.de/index.php?page=quickview which mentions 2 links including the latest version of quickview(which may still be old) viennacomputerproducts.com/downloads/QuickView/Setup.exe You may/probably need QVP though. Which I linked to.
    – barlop
    Commented Jun 21, 2011 at 9:40
  • Looking at the QVP site, it is a viewer program. It doesn't seem to be concerned with differentiating versions -- just displaying the document. Likewise the file program doesn't differentiate between versions. Commented Jun 21, 2011 at 9:58

If you have an Office Open XML document with the extension .docx (or .xlsx, etc.): The file is a .zip archive, so open with TotalCommander, or WindowsExplorer (copy first as a .zip), or 7zip. Open file 'docProps\app.xml' in the archive and look for <AppVersion> tag:

  • <AppVersion>12.0000</AppVersion> is Office 2007
  • <AppVersion>14.0000</AppVersion> is Office 2010
  • <AppVersion>15.0000</AppVersion> is Office 2013
  • <AppVersion>16.0000</AppVersion> is Office 2016

Found out by saving .docx from Word 2007, Word 2010 and comparing. Later found this info on the web too. For easier googling let me refer to that comment too:

http://word.tips.net/T000601_Determining_Word_Versions_of_Documents.html comment from Daniel Klein on 14 Aug 2012, 19:45

Later versions of Office documents (after Office 2003) are saved as ordinary zip files but with a different extension (e.g. ".docx"). You can view the contents by first making a copy of the file and changing the file extension to ".zip". It will then open in any zip viewer. The relevant information is in ".\docProps\app.xml". Extract this file and open it in a text viewer. At the end of the file is something like <AppVersion>14.0000</AppVersion></Properties> which tells you the file was last saved with (in this case) Office v.14 (Office 2010).


"Determining Word Versions of Documents" by Allen Wyatt, worked for me.

Basically, he says to open the document with a plain ASCII viewer, like Notepad, and look for key phrases. For example:

The area you are looking for is in a section that is obviously the common document properties (template name, author, document title, etc) and the version information will be displayed nearby. This information will consist of one of the following:

  • Microsoft Word 6.0
  • Microsoft Word 95
  • Microsoft Word 8.0
  • Microsoft Word 9.0
  • Microsoft Word 10.0


These won't always tell which version created the file, but they can unusually tell which version last edited the file.


In windows, they are displayed by different icons. I'm not sure if they do in Linux.

For example, you created a word file in Word2010 and save it as Word2003 file, it will display icon of Word2003 rather than Word2010. It is downward compatible.

  • 4
    you sure? have you had 2+ versions of word on one machine(if that works) and checked? the icons might just be those for the one version of ms word on your machine and for the .doc or if later then (also?) the .docx extension. if you went to a newer word program and saved a document as an older version you think it'd use the other icon? i doubt it.. unless you really tested it thoroughly.
    – barlop
    Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 15:43
  • They all use the same icon on my dev machine. Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 20:10

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .