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Technical Specifications

Microsoft is opening up new opportunities for developers by making technical specifications for its most popular products available to view and download from MSDN at no charge (rights under Microsoft patents covering such specifications are available separately). This documentation includes:

  • Protocols. Microsoft publishes technical specifications on MSDN for protocols in the Windows client operating system (including the .NET Framework), the Windows Server operating system, Microsoft Office, Microsoft SharePoint products and technologies, Exchange Server, and Microsoft SQL Server that are used to communicate with other Microsoft software products.

  • File Formats. Microsoft publishes technical specifications on MSDN for the file formats created by certain Microsoft products, including the file formats created by Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint.

  • Standards. Microsoft publishes technical specifications on MSDN regarding specific standards implemented in Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint; Exchange Server and Microsoft Outlook; SQL Server; and Internet Explorer.

  • Languages. Microsoft publishes technical specifications on MSDN identifying the object mapping rules and vocabulary of types for the Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) developed by Microsoft.

Microsoft revises the technical specifications regularly and, particularly, in connection with the release of significant product updates and new versions. View and download the technical specifications on MSDN.

Many of the technical specifications include patented inventions. Microsoft makes available lists identifying the patents and patent applications that cover each specification. Some of those patents are available at no charge under the Open Specification Promise or the Community Promise. The remaining patents are available primarily through three different programs, which principally vary with respect to the scope of the protocols and technical specifications covered. To learn more visit Programs.