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Microsoft to release ODF translator for Word

A Microsoft-sponsored open-source project is expected on Friday to release a translator that will convert file formats between Microsoft Office and rival standard OpenDocument, or ODF.

Microsoft started the project at SourceForge last year, relying on three partners to develop the code that lets a user open and save word processor documents in two different formats.

The Microsoft format is called Office Open XML (OOXML), which is the default document format in the company’s recently released Office 2007 suite. The other is ODF, which is backed by Microsoft competitors IBM, Sun and Novell.

The plug-in will work with Microsoft’s Word application, including the latest Office 2007 version as well the Office 2003 and Office XP editions, Microsoft said. Once installed, a person can open and save documents in the ODF format from Word.

People can download the software, available under the open-source BSD licence, for free from SourceForge on Friday. Microsoft intends to make the software available from its own website as well, the company said.

The same group of Microsoft partners will now start work on code to translate file formats between Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet and PowerPoint presentation software and the corresponding ODF files, said Jean Paoli, the general manager of interoperability and XML architecture at Microsoft.

Those plug-ins, which will also be developed as open-source projects, are expected to be available by the end of the year, he said.

Novell last year said it will use the Word translator to allow users of OpenOffice, which supports ODF, to work with OOXML files from Microsoft Office.

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Microsoft, ODF, Translator, Microsoft Word

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