Microsoft Word is the de facto word processor for businesses and many governments. Its file format is standard for business communication. However, many groups are turning away from it.
In the past, desktop processing software was complex. Most programs separated the content of the document from its formatting, which made creating the document a two-step process. Microsoft Word was one of the first programs to combine text processing and formatting, and its early popularity endures today.
The Microsoft Word document format is complex, and many believe that it was created to be difficult to implement in other programs. Even though Microsoft has moved to a newer file format, compatibility issues still remain. Because of this, some governments are mandating that documents be created with other file formats.
Even the business world is slowly moving away form Microsoft Word files. HTML can provide much of the same formatting that Word provides, and it makes files easier to read over the Internet. The PDF file format is becoming more popular for printed documents. While creating a PDF file is more challenging than creating a file with Microsoft Word, the file format is designed specifically for printing and gives authors more options. Despite these changes, Microsoft Word is likely to remain the most popular word processor.