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Open XML II: Editing Documents in the XML

Basic structure of an Open XML ZIP package

The majority of the file and folder names you see in the main document folder of an Open XML Format ZIP package are self-explanatory, such as the document.xml file that contains core document content such as text, formatting, and page layout.

When you open an Open XML Format ZIP package, such as the one shown here for a Word document, open the main document folder (word in this example) to access the content you need for the majority of document-related editing and formatting tasks.

The sample shown here is a simple Word 2007 document that contains nothing but formatted text in the document body. If this document included other types of content (such as headers, footers, or comments) you would see XML document parts for those in addition to the files you see here.

Some types of document content may also be stored in additional folders within the main document folder. For example, if this document contained pictures, you would see a subfolder named media.


  • If you are not familiar with the basic structure of an Open XML Format ZIP package, such as the purpose of the _rels folders or of the [Content_Types].xml file, see Open XML I: Exploring the Open XML Formats before continuing here.
  • To open a document part for viewing, you can just double-click the file from within the ZIP package. If you have not specified a default XML viewer, the file typically opens in your Web browser.
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