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Semi-official ODF logo
Semi-official ODF logo

The OpenDocument format (ODF, ISO/IEC 26300, full name: OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications) is a file format for electronic office documents, such as spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word processing documents.

The standard was developed by the Open Office XML technical committee of the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) consortium and based on the XML format originally created and implemented by the office suite (see XML). As well as an OASIS Standard, it is a published ISO and IEC International Standard, ISO/IEC 26300:2006.[1] The OpenDocument standard meets the common definitions of an open standard, meaning the specification is freely available and implementable.



[edit] Specifications

The most common filename extensions used for OpenDocument documents are:

A basic OpenDocument file consists of an XML document that uses <office:document> as the root element. OpenDocument files can also take the format of a ZIP compressed archive containing a number of files and directories; these can contain binary content and benefit from ZIP's lossless compression to reduce file size. OpenDocument benefits from separation of concerns by separating the content, styles, metadata and application settings into four separate XML files.

There is a comprehensive set of sample documents in OpenDocument Format available.[2] The whole test suite is available under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 license.

[edit] Standardization

The OpenDocument standard was developed by a Technical Committee (TC) under the OASIS industry consortium. The ODF-TC has members from a diverse set of companies and individuals each with an equal vote. The standardization process involved the developers of many office suites or related document systems. The first official ODF-TC meeting to discuss the standard was December 16, 2002; OASIS approved OpenDocument as an OASIS Standard on May 1, 2005. OASIS submitted the ODF specification to ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC1) on November 16, 2005, under Publicly Available Specification (PAS) rules.

After a six-month review period, on May 3, 2006 OpenDocument unanimously passed its six-month DIS ballot in JTC1, with broad participation,[3] after which the OpenDocument specification was "approved for release as an ISO and IEC International Standard" under the name ISO/IEC 26300:2006.[4]

After responding to all written ballot comments, and a 30-day default ballot, the OpenDocument International Standard went to publication in ISO, officially published November 30, 2006.

The Italian standardization organization UNI adopted OpenDocument on January 26, 2007.

Further standardization work with OpenDocument includes:

  • OpenDocument 1.0 (second edition) is the published ISO/IEC 26300:2006 standard. It also has the status of a Committee Specification in OASIS. It includes all the editorial changes made to address JTC1 ballot comments, and as such it reflects the approved ISO/IEC 26300:2006 standard, as published by ISO and IEC. It is available in ODT, HTML and PDF formats.
  • OpenDocument 1.1 was approved by OASIS on October 19, 2006. It includes additional features to address accessibility concerns.[5] The Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) Specification v1.1 was approved as an OASIS Standard on 2007-02-01 following a call for vote issued on 2007-01-16.[6][7] The public announcement was made on 2007-02-13.[8]
  • OpenDocument 1.2 is currently being written by the ODF TC. It will include additional accessibility features, metadata enhancements, spreadsheet formula specification based on the OpenFormula work (ODF 1.0 did not specify spreadsheet formulae in detail, leaving many aspects implementation-defined) as well as any errata submitted by the public. Originally OpenDocument 1.2 was expected by October 2007.[9]

[edit] Application support

[edit] Software

Main article: OpenDocument software

A number of applications and programs (both free and proprietary) already support the OpenDocument format. This includes traditional office suites, web-based office suites and individual applications such as word-processors and spreadsheets. Two of the most prominent office suites supporting OpenDocument are and KOffice, both Free Software.

The OpenDocument Fellowship[10] maintains a list of software and services that support the OpenDocument format. The list also provides information on the status of support for the format.[11]

The OpenDocument Foundation and other third parties have also announced development of conversion software (including plugins and filters) to support OpenDocument on Microsoft's products.[12][13] Currently there are nine packages of conversion software.[14]

Aside from the OpenDocument Foundation's plug-in, Microsoft Office does not support OpenDocument. Microsoft has created the Open XML translator[15] project to allow the conversion of documents between Office Open XML and OpenDocument. As a result of this project Microsoft finances the ODF add-in for Word project on SourceForge. This project is an effort by several of Microsoft's partners to create a plugin for Microsoft Office that will be freely available under a BSD license. The project has released version 1.0 for Microsoft Word of this software in early 2007 and plans versions later in 2007 for Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint. Sun Microsystems has also created a OpenDocument plugin for Microsoft Office 2000, XP, and 2003 that supports Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents.[16]

[edit] Accessibility

Further information: OpenDocument software - Accessibility

The specification of OpenDocument has undergone an extensive accessibility review, and a few additions were made to version 1.1 of the specification to improve accessibility. Many of the components it is built on, such as Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language and Scalable Vector Graphics, have already gone through the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative processes.

[edit] Licensing

The OpenDocument specification is available for free download and use.

Key contributor Sun Microsystems made an irrevocable intellectual property covenant, providing all implementers with the guarantee that Sun will not seek to enforce any of its enforceable U.S. or foreign patents against any implementation of the OpenDocument specification. This Statement is not an assurance that an OpenDocument Implementation would not infringe patents or other intellectual property rights of any third party.[17] The covenant is limited to versions of the OpenDocument specification on which Sun has participated to the point of incurring an obligation.

[edit] Promotion

The work of OASIS includes promoting the OpenDocument Format through the OASIS OpenDocument Adoption Technical Committee.

There is a set of OpenDocument icons which can be used for services and systems that use the OpenDocument format.

The Suite and the KOffice Suite promote the OpenDocument Format, as it is used as their default file format. Several groups and companies support the OpenDocument Format. For example:

  • Companies like Sun Microsystems, IBM, Novell promote the OpenDocument Format actively, as well as other companies who may or may not be working inside the OpenDocument Format's Technical Committee of the OASIS.
  • The OpenDocument Format Alliance was founded in March 2006 by the 35 founding members. In July 2006 the foundation already had more than 280 members.
  • The OpenDocument Fellowship was founded to support and promote these formats.
  • was the first one to promote the OpenDocument Format to the public in August 2005.
  • On November 4, 2005, IBM and Sun Microsystems convened the "OpenDocument (ODF) Summit" in Armonk, New York, to discuss how to boost OpenDocument adoption. The ODF Summit brought together representatives from several industry groups and technology companies, including Oracle, Google, Adobe, Novell, Red Hat, Computer Associates, Corel, Nokia, Intel, and Linux e-mail company Scalix. (LaMonica, November 10, 2005). The providers committed resources to technically improve OpenDocument through existing standards bodies and to promote its usage in the marketplace, possibly through a stand-alone foundation.
  • The OpenDocument Foundation, Inc. is a US-based 501c(3) non profit organization chartered to work in the public interest to support, promote and develop the OASIS OpenDocument File Format
  • The (Open Interoperative Document Initiative) is committed to encouraging efforts by governments at all levels, around the globe, to implement changes necessary to ensure public documents are open and interoperable and thus available to all citizens/residents without the need for specific vendor software.
  • Google Docs can import and export OpenDocument text files.

[edit] Adoption

Main article: OpenDocument adoption

One objective of open formats like OpenDocument is to guarantee long-term access to data without legal or technical barriers, and some governments have come to view open formats as a public policy issue. OpenDocument is intended to be an alternative to proprietary formats, including the commonly used DOC, XLS, and PPT formats used by Microsoft Office and other applications. These latter formats do not have documentation available for download, but documentation may be received by writing directly to Microsoft Corporation and signing an agreement.[18] Microsoft is supporting the creation of a plugin for Office to allow it to use OpenDocument. The OpenDocument Foundation has created a similar plug-in that will allow continued use of Microsoft Office.

The governments of Belgium, Finland, France and Norway have been evaluating the adoption of the OpenDocument format. Other governments around the world are also considering the adoption of the format. In October 2006, a report commissioned by the then French prime minister Dominique de Villepin recommended that all French government publications be made available in OpenDocument Format. In July 2007, the Norwegian Standards Council recommended to the government the use of the OpenDocument format.[19]

The Belgian federal administration plans to exchange all documents in ODF from September 2008. All federal administrations should be able to read ODF documents one year earlier.[20]

In Japan, on June 29, 2007, the government published a new interoperability framework which gives preference to the procurement of products that follow open standards including the ODF standards.[21][22]

[edit] Criticism

Various criticisms have been levelled at the approved standard.

  • Some mathematicians do not think that the choice of the MathML W3C standard for use in OpenDocument is a good choice[citation needed]. MathML[23] is a W3C recommendation for the "inclusion of mathematical expressions in Web pages" and "machine to machine communication" that has been around since about 1999. However, most mathematicians continue to use the much older TeX format as their main method for typesetting complex mathematical formulae. TeX is not an ISO standard, but is fully documented and is the de facto standard for typesetting mathematical expressions. OpenDocument is also criticized for not using the ISO 12083:1994 standard for mathematical formulae, which is not used within MathML either. MathML has a few issues[citation needed] with representing mathematical formulae correctly compared to other methods like TeX.
  • The OpenDocument ISO specification does not contain a defined formula language. This means that ISO conforming files do not have to be compatible.[24] OASIS is working on creating a standard formula language (OpenFormula) for OpenDocument v1.2 due later in 2007.
  • The OpenDocument ISO specification does not allow for tables in presentations. This is due to be incorporated in the OpenDocument v1.2 specification due later in 2007.[25] A current recommendation or workaround is to embed a spreadsheet into the presentation to provide the required functionality.
  • Different applications using ODF as a standard document format have different methods of providing macro/scripting capabilities. There is no macro language specified in ODF. Users and developers differ on whether inclusion of a standard scripting language would be desirable[26]
  • Java applets are described as native objects in the OpenDocument specification (§9.3.4). This means any full implementations will require a Java Virtual Machine present from within the application. However, conformance to the standard does not require a full implementation. Sun Microsystems released their key Java implementations in 2006 under the GPLv2 license; Java Micro, Java Standard and Java Enterprise Editions. Apart from the free and open-source implementations of Java by Sun Microsystems, there is an extensive list of Java implementations, both proprietary, and free and open-source. Sun Microsystems manages the Java platform development.
  • Microsoft's Brian Jones has claimed that OpenDocument's method of handling application specific namespace extensions is excessively complex compared to the Office Open XML specification, which was designed by Microsoft.[27].
  • No derived standard: The Sun OpenDocument Patent Statement applies to any implementation of the Open Document Format for Office Applications, or of any subsequent version of the format thereof only if Sun Microsystems participates in development of the subsequent standard version.[28].
  • Even though allows digital signatures and stores them in ODF files according to XML-DSig, the OpenDocument Format 1.0-1.1 itself has no reference to the digital signature. Digital signature is application-specific feature in the OpenDocument v1.1 standard. However, OpenDocument v1.2 will incorporate XML-DSig in the same fashion as in Thus OpenDocument v1.2 will have interoperable digital signatures with KOffice 2.0.[29]
  • The OpenDocument Format 1.0-1.1 specifications refer to 'zip' files but do not reference a standard which describes the zip file format. However, a specification (as opposed to a "standard") for the Zip format was distributed with PKZIP in the file APPNOTE.TXT and this continues to be maintained.[30]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ ISO/IEC 26300:2006 Information technology -- Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0. International Organization for Standardization.
  2. ^ sample documents in OpenDocument Format
  3. ^ ISO/IEC SC34 Secretariat (2006-06-13). Summary of Voting on DIS ISO/IEC 26300 - Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0. ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 Document Repository. Retrieved on 2006-08-24.
  4. ^ ISO and IEC approve OpenDocument OASIS standard for data interoperability of office applications. ISO Press Releases. ISO (2006-05-08). Retrieved on 2006-08-24.
  5. ^ OpenDocument 1.1 Specifications. OASIS (2006). Retrieved on 2006-10-31.
  6. ^ Approval of OpenDocument v1.1 as OASIS Standard. OASIS. Retrieved on 2007-02-06.
  7. ^ Approval of OpenDocument v1.1 as OASIS Standard. OASIS. Retrieved on 2007-02-06.
  8. ^ Members Approve OpenDocument Version 1.1 as OASIS Standard. OASIS. Retrieved on 2007-02-15.
  9. ^ Brauer, Michael (2006-05-04). TC Roadmap Proposal. Oasis' list archives. OASIS. Retrieved on 2006-08-01.
  10. ^ OpenDocument Fellowship. OpenDocument Fellowship. Retrieved on 2007-07-27.
  11. ^ Application support for the OpenDocument format. OpenDocument Fellowship. Retrieved on 2007-07-27.
  12. ^ OpenDocument Foundation to MA: We Have a Plugin. Groklaw (2006-05-04). Retrieved on 2006-08-23.
  13. ^ "Microsoft Office to get a dose of OpenDocument", CNet, 2006-05-05. Retrieved on 2006-12-06. 
  14. ^ Application support for the OpenDocument format. OpenDocument Fellowship. Retrieved on 2007-07-27.
  15. ^ Microsoft Expands Document Interoperability. Microsoft (2006-07-05). Retrieved on 2007-01-28.
  16. ^ Sun's OpenDocument filter for MS Office is finished.. Heise Online (2006-07-04). Retrieved on 2007-07-06.
  17. ^ Sun Microsystems, Inc.. Sun OpenDocument Patent Statement. OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) TC. OASIS foundation.
  18. ^ How to extract information from Office files by using Office file formats and schemas (html). Microsoft Corporation (2007-01-26). Retrieved on 2007-01-26.
  19. ^ Sayer, Peter. "French gov't recommends standardizing on ODF", InfoWorld, 2006-10-03. Retrieved on 2006-12-06. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ Gardner, David. "Office Software Formats Battle Moves To Asia", Information Week, 2007-07-10. Retrieved on 2007-07-27. 
  22. ^ "Interoperability framework for information systems (in Japanese)", Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan, 2007-06-29. Retrieved on 2007-07-27. 
  23. ^ MathML W3C standard.
  24. ^ Marco Fioretti. OpenDocument office suites lack formula compatibility. Retrieved on 2007-01-24.
  25. ^ Brian Jones. Quick question for ODF experts. Retrieved on 2007-01-24.
  26. ^ Marco Fioretti. Macros an obstacle to office suite compatibility. Retrieved on 2007-01-24.
  27. ^ Brian Jones (2007-02-20). Beyond the basics. Retrieved on 2007-03-02.
  28. ^ Sun OpenDocument Patent Statement. OASIS (2005-09-29). Retrieved on 2007-03-02.
  29. ^ Initial proposal for digital signatures in ODF. Michael Brauer - Sun Germany (2007-02-16). Retrieved on 2007-03-29.
  30. ^ APPNOTE.TXT - .ZIP File Format Specification

[edit] External links

  • OpenDocument Encourages use of OpenDocument.
  • OpenDocument Fellowship Volunteer organisation with members around the world to promote the adoption, use and development of the OpenDocument format.
  • OpenDocument Format Alliance The alliance works globally to educate policymakers, IT administrators and the public on the benefits and opportunities of the OpenDocument Format, to help ensure that government information, records and documents are accessible across platforms and applications, even as technologies change today and in the future.
  • OpenDocument The official community gathering place and information resource for the OpenDocument OASIS Standard (ISO/IEC 26300).
  • OASIS OpenDocument Technical Committee coordinates the OpenDocument development and is the official source for specifications, schemas, etc.
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