Microsoft bends on OpenDocument

Microsoft said it plans to sponsor an open-source project to create software that will convert Office documents to OpenDocument  reports

The software giant on Thursday launched the Open XML Translator project on, a popular site for hosting code-sharing projects. The software will be available under the BSD open-source license.

The software, developed by a France-based Microsoft partner, will allow people to use Microsoft Office to open and save documents in the OpenDocument, or ODF, format.

Although Microsoft Office document formats are the most widely used, OpenDocument has emerged as an alternative with significant vendor backing and with high-profile government customers in Massachusetts and Belgium. OpenDocument is an XML-based format developed under the standards group OASIS, or the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards.

The decision to manage the project is something of a reversal for Microsoft. Until now, it said that it would not natively support OpenDocument in Office, citing lack of demand. Instead, it would rely instead on third parties for format translators.

Microsoft isn't seeing a sharp uptick in demand for OpenDocument, but government customers urged the company to provide interoperability between Microsoft's own forthcoming XML Office formats and OpenDocument, said Tom Robertson, the general manager of interoperability and standards at the software giant.

Conversion schedule
On Thursday, the Open XML Translator project intends to release a prototype of software that will change Word documents to OpenDocument, and vice versa. The goal is to have a Word plug-in for Office 2007 by the end of this year and translators for Excel and PowerPoint next year, said Jean Paoli, the general manager of interoperability and XML architecture at Microsoft.

The conversions will be based on Microsoft's Open Office XML, the XML-based file formats that will be the default setting in Office 2007, due next year. Microsoft is seeking to make Open Office XML an Ecma International standard by the end of this year, Paoli said.

Because Open Office XML is backward-compatible, the translator will work with older versions of Office, Paoli said. However, he said that because the two standards are significantly different, perfect document translation is not possible. 

For example, participants in the project will have to make a technical choice if there is a feature in Office 2007 that is not supported in OpenDocument-based products, he said.

France-based Clever Age is writing the code and will participate in the project. Aztecsoft in India is testing the software, and Dialogika in Germany will test it to meet European Commission customer requirements.

A handful of document format converters are already under development, including an Office plug-in from the OpenDocument Foundation, which is expected to be tested by Massachusetts.

Add comment

Your name:
Sign in with:
Your comment:

Enter code:

E-mail (not required)
E-mail will not be disclosed to the third party

Last news

Galaxy Note10 really is built around a 6.7-inch display
You may still be able to download your content
Facebook, Messenger and Instagram are all going away
Minimize apps to a floating, always-on-top bubble
Japan Display has been providing LCDs for the iPhone XR, the only LCD model in Apple’s 2018 line-up
The 2001 operating system has reached its lowest share level
The entire TSMC 5nm design infrastructure is available now from TSMC
The smartphone uses a Snapdragon 660 processor running Android 9 Pie
The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) Review
The evolution of the successful smartphone, now with a waterproof body and USB Type-C
February 7, 2017 / 2
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S - a tablet with the Windows-keyboard
The first Windows-tablet with the 12-inch display Super AMOLED
June 7, 2016 /
Keyboards for iOS
Ten iOS keyboards review
July 18, 2015 /
Samsung E1200 Mobile Phone Review
A cheap phone with a good screen
March 8, 2015 / 4
Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card review
Good sound for those who are not satisfied with the onboard solution
September 25, 2014 / 2
Samsung Galaxy Gear: Smartwatch at High Price
The first smartwatch from Samsung - almost a smartphone with a small body
December 19, 2013 /

News Archive



Do you use microSD card with your phone?
or leave your own version in comments (15)