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Stephen McGibbon's Web Journal

Microsoft Office Open XML File Format Converter for Mac 0.1b (Beta)

I thought I'd provide a pointer to the beta of the OpenXML file converter for Microsoft Office on the Mac as this seems to be on a list of talking points for some of our competitors I am often asked about the status.

NeoOffice have already included OpenXML support in their version 2.1 released back in March. Their press release says - "Unlike all current versions of Microsoft Office for Mac, NeoOffice 2.1 allows Mac users to read and write Microsoft Office 2007 (OpenXML) Word documents." Kudos to them Smile

[Update: Mac Mojo posted about this a few weeks ago. The team explain:-

Why a stand-alone converter application? We chose this route because it supports both Office 2004 and Office v.X for Mac users, while providing some bonus functionality such as batch conversion, and also keeping the team focused on Office 2008 by avoiding major test efforts around invasive changes to our shipping Office 2004 product. The user interface for the converter actually began life as an internal test tool (where you can imagine the batch processing comes in handy) - it was so slick it quickly became obvious that it was a great solution for the converter. You can drag and drop files onto the converter icon or application of course, but can also simply double-click .docx files to invoke it. The first thing I did is turn on this preference to immediately open a newly converted document in Word, so that I can skip the step of finding the new RTF document and dragging it to Word.

Why Rich Text Format? RTF (once called the "interchange format") is simply a highly convenient intermediate format for the beta converter to use; I'll let one of our Word experts (like Rick) expand on the technical reasons why this is the case if there's interest.

We plan to release a final integrated converter for Office 2004, which will appear as an update that allows you to simply open and save the new file formats as if they'd always been there (though, some of the newer functionality expressed in the formats will naturally only be available in Office 2008). We are on track to deliver this final integrated converter for Office 2004 six to eight weeks after Office 2008 for Mac is available.  We also will release a final version of the stand-alone converter soon after.

Why wait until after we ship to release the final converters? The converters include and rely upon the same new code that lives in Office 2008 (so you're getting early access to some of the new code today - running natively as a Universal Binary, of course). As the code improves in the applications, so will the converters improve, and as a result the converters will not be final until Office 2008 is also fully complete and fully tested.