I’ve received a few questions about how to read/write ODF documents from Microsoft Office. I looked around and did not find a comprehensive Microsoft web page on this topic, so I’m putting together this page as a reference for best practices on how to use ODF with Office.
I intend to update this post as I find more information, so feel free to add a comment if you have a link to some additional material.
Depending on what version of Microsoft Office you are running you may have up to three different ways of working with ODF documents, either through native support in Office or through a third-party extension. Your options are listed in the following table:
|Native Support||Oracle ODF Plugin||ODF Add-in|
|Office 2007||Yes (with SP2)||Yes (with SP1)||Yes|
|ODF Versions supported||Read: ODF 1.0, 1.1|
Write: ODF 1.1
|Read: ODF 1.0, 1.1, 1.2|
Write: ODF 1.2
|Read: ODF 1.0, 1.1
Write: ODF 1.1
A few notes on each option:
- Native support for ODF 1.1 is available in Office 2010, and in Office 2007 once you install Service Pack 2 (SP2). Using the Office Customization Tool, administrators can configure Office to default to ODF format for new documents. Office will give you an warning message whenever you try to save a document in ODF format, but this can be disabled according to these instructions. Some ODF features are either not available, or are implemented in a way that is not interoperable with other ODF editors like OpenOffice.org. Examples include spreadsheet formulas and change tracking. Microsoft has written up in detail what features are and are not supported when saving Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents in ODF format.
- Oracle’s ODF Plugin is available commercially, with support. It is the only current option for those who require ODF 1.2 support. It is also the only option that supports Office 2000. An earlier version of this plugin, originally made available by Sun at no cost for individual use, is still available for download at Softpedia.
- The ODF Add-in for Microsoft Office is an open source developed under Microsoft sponsorship by several smaller companies.
- Are there any head-to-head reviews of these three options, preferably one that looks at standards conformance and interop?
- Are there any ODF options for Office 2008 or Office 2011 (Mac Office)?
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