Sunday, December 10, 2006

Microsoft Office XML and the rest of the world

I see where it may be a while, perhaps a long while, before document interchange will work between the new Microsoft Office XML file formats and those of us on non-Windows platforms: Is Office Open XML A One-Way Standard? Ask Microsoft.

The impact is that for the next few months, Mac people, just like Linux and Solaris people and everyone else who doesn't use Windows, aren't going to be able to read Office's native file format. That's OK, Sheridan Jones suggests a workaround: For now, we recommend that Mac users advise their friends and colleagues using Office 2007 to save their documents as a Word/Excel/PowerPoint 97-2003 Document (.doc, .xls, .ppt) to ensure the documents can be shared across platforms.

I have a better idea. Just stop passing around these documents all together. It‘s a total pain anyway, and Google Docs and Spreadsheets makes it as easy as can be. The file format issue may be just the catalyst needed to push people to a different way of working.

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