WordSaveAsMenuWe’ve just announced that Office 2007 will get native support for ODF with the release of Office 2007 Service Pack 2, early next year.

You can already save files from Office 2007 in 20 different formats – of which, my favourite three are:

  • Office Open XML – which is the new standard format for Office 2007 files, and the one I use most often because it automatically understands all the fancy new stuff in Office 2007 – like SmartArt & the improved picture formatting in PowerPoint.
  • Office 2003 format – which I use to share files with people using older versions of Office. And some people can’t read these files because their desktop Windows is so locked down that they can’t install the Office update, which is a free download for Office 2000/XP/2003 to open these files.
  • PDF – just a couple of times, I’ve saved documents in PDF format – mainly Word documents. Whilst I know other people who publish their PowerPoint presentations as PDFs, I don’t do it. It’s more open to share the native PowerPoint files so that you can use & modify them yourself. It’s always a bit frustrating when somebody else’s brilliant slide is only available as a PDF image…

There’s already a convertor to convert files between Open XML and ODF – we’ve worked with the SourceForge.net community to make this available. And a free plug-in for Office 2007 which adds the “Save as PDF” option to the menu.

What’s been announced today is that the Office 2007 Service Pack 2 will have native support for Open Document Format (ODF) v1.1, PDF & XML Paper Specifications (XPS), when it is released in the first half of 2009.

This is all part of working more closely with the interoperability groups who are working on interoperability between document file formats – like the DAISY format for accessible publishing (DAISY blog post)– and with organisations like the Interop Vendor Alliance (website).

I guess you’re asking yourself what this means? Well, if you'’re keen to use ODF, you’ll get a menu item next year that will add “Save as ODF” (and until then they can use the other ways above). But as most common Office applications – eg Open Office & Google Apps - already support .doc format, it’s probably not need it in many circumstances. Perhaps when sharing files with international colleagues?

There’s more detail of this announcement on our PressPass site