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Microsoft Office 12 will use XML file formats
Posted on 2-Jun-2005 17:29. | Tags Filed under: News.

Microsoft Corp. seems to be moving to bring new levels of data interoperability to its customers and new market opportunities to technology providers. The company has announced that it is adopting the industry-standard Extensible Markup Language (XML) technology for the default file formats in the next version of Microsoft Office editions, currently code-named "Office 12."

The new file formats, called Microsoft Office Open XML Formats, will become the defaults for the "Office 12" versions of Microsoft Office Word, Excel and PowerPoint, which are expected to be released in the second half of 2006. To ensure that developers, partners and IT professionals have the tools and information they need to deliver Office-based solutions using the new file formats, Microsoft will begin discussing details about the new XML file formats at the Microsoft Tech•Ed 2005 conference.

Sessions on the Office Open XML Formats at the show will cover the benefits of the new file formats, including smoother data interoperability, better security, improved error recovery and dramatically reduced file sizes. Show sessions also will outline the kinds of comprehensive training and support Microsoft will offer IT professionals for the new formats.

Microsoft says that customers and the technology industry at large have moved rapidly to adopt XML as a core mechanism for structured data interchange. According to Microsoft research, more than 1 million developers are currently developing solutions using Office 2003, and more than one-third of them are using XML in their solutions. Gartner Inc. estimates that the use of XML-enabled e-forms will at least double through next year and that 40 percent of knowledge workers will use XML-aware content-creation tools by 2007.1 Forrester Research Inc. predicts that XML will become one of the dominant document formats for archiving data by 2008.2

The Microsoft Office Open XML Formats will provide smaller file sizes and improved recovery of damaged or corrupted files. They also help improve security through greater control of file content.

The interoperability capabilities of the Microsoft Office Open XML Formats enable Microsoft Office applications to directly access data stored in systems outside those applications, such as server-based line-of-business applications. These third-party applications, in turn, can access data stored in the new Office file formats.

With this interoperability, new documents can be created rapidly and automatically from a range of data sources, with or without the use of Microsoft Office applications, and data mining of existing data can be conducted more quickly and easily.

Microsoft says that Microsoft Office Open XML Formats are fully documented file formats with a royalty-free license. Anyone can integrate them directly into their servers, applications and business processes, without financial consideration to Microsoft.

Documents created with the current binary file formats in Office also will be fully compatible with "Office 12" applications.

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