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A technology blog for The Economist Group IT team

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Microsoft Office 2003 XML:

TechNet office is abuzz over the announcement of new Office file formats. In short, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will all get new file formats based on XML. The extensions will change from .DOC, .XLS, and .PPT to .DOCX, .XLSX, and .PPTX.
As noted by the Channel 9 team, this is a huge change for the Office team. For the first time, the default file format will be open and accessible by anyone. (In legal terms, the rights granted under the licenses for the Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas are perpetual in nature, and Microsoft will provide non-discriminatory access to future versions of those specifications.)
Interestingly, the new file format is actually enclosed in a ZIP file. Change the extension name to .ZIP, double-click, and you'll be able to gain access to all the pieces of the new format. Best of all, the new file format will be usable on existing versions of Office. For more details, see the Microsoft Office XML page.
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