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Wed, Dec 31, 2014 4:45 pm

Determining the version of Microsoft Word used to edit a .docx Document

I sent someone a Microsoft Word document that contained a network diagram I had created in PowerPoint and then copied and pasted into the Word document. I created the file on an Apple MacBook Pro laptop using Microsoft® Word 2008 for Mac and saved it in "Word Document (.docx)" format. The diagram I pasted into the Word document was created with Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2008 for Mac. The recipient informed me that some of the text in boxes in the diagram was cropped, so he edited the diagram and sent me a copy of the document with his edited diagram. When I viewed his version, I saw text missing that had been present in my version and some of the double-headed arrows I had on the diagram now looked odd to me when viewed in Word on the Mac. I presumed the issue was due to the different versions of Microsoft Word we are using, since I had encountered issues before where diagrams created in a Microsoft Office application on a Windows-based PC looked different when viewed in the same application on a Mac.

I thought he was likely using Office 2013, but I wanted to verify that was the version he was using. The .docx files we were exchanging became a standard Word format starting with Office 2007. They are in an Office Open XML format, which is a zipped, XML-based file format developed by Microsoft; information about the formats can be found in the Microsoft Office 2007 article Introducing the Office (2007) Open XML File Formats. Prior to Office 2007, Microsoft used proprietary file formats based on the OLE Compound File Binary Format.1

You can check the version of Word that was last used to edit a document by unzipping the docx file; you can use the unzip command from a shell prompt on a Mac OS X system. If your unzip program isn't opening it, you may have to rename it changing the .docx extension to .zip, but that's not needed for the OS X unzip utility. When you unzip the docx file, there will be a docProps directory with an app.xml file within it. In that file you will see a number between AppVersion tags, e.g., as shown below:

<AppVersion>15.0000</AppVersion>

To translate that number into the commonly used version number, the table below can be used:

NumberOffice Version
12.00002007 or Office 2008 for Mac
14.00002010
15.00002013

If you are interested in the usage for the other documents within the .docx container file, see the ForensicsWiki article Word Document (DOCX). The contents of the Word document can be found in word/document.xml when you examine the files within the .docx file.

Since I saw 15.0000 as the AppVersion in the file he sent, I could tell that he was, indeed, using Office 2013. In .docx files I saved from Word 2008, I saw 12.0000 as the AppVersion number within app.xml.

To resolve the problem, instead of copying and pasting the diagram from PowerPoint into the Word document, I saved it as a JPEG image from within PowerPoint. Then chose "Insert", then "Picture", then "From File" within Word to insert the diagram as a picture instead. When I viewed the document with embedded diagram afterwards in Word for Office 2007 and 2010 it looked the same as it did in Word 2008 on the Mac, though it had also looked ok in those Microsoft Windows applications when I used the pasted PowerPoint version. The embedded JPG file also looked the same in Apache OpenOffice Writer 4; it had not appeared when I viewed the document there previously and when I had viewed the PowerPoint file in OpenOffice Impress, the diagram looked quite different with most of the text missing and small circles beneath the network clouds in the diagram.

References:

  1. Microsoft Office: File formats and metadata
    Date accessed: December 31, 2014
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  2. Which Version of Microsoft Word created a given document?
    Date: August 25, 2013
    By: Gergely Herendi
    Super User
  3. Word Document (DOCX)
    ForensicsWiki

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