The company said users will be able to open, edit and save documents in ODF from directly inside Office application without having to install any other code. That means no more translators.
They will even be able to set ODF as the default.
Users of earlier versions of Office (XP and Office 2003) will still have to use translators. Ditto those who use the Chinese national document file format standard, Uniform Office Format (UOF).
SP2 is also supposed to support the XML Paper Specification (XPS), Portable Document Format (PDF) 1.5 and PDF/A for a total of 24 different formats supported by Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Microsoft said SP2 users will be able to save documents in XPS and PDF.
Microsoft is planning to be an active participant in the evolution of ODF, XPS and PDF standards – doubtless a two-edged sword – and join the OASIS technical committee working on the next version of ODF and take part in the ISO/IEC working group being formed to work on ODF maintenance.
It says it has also has defined a roadmap for its implementation of its own Office Open XML (OOXML), the format that was recently ratified as an ISO standard alongside ODF.
OOXML is what Microsoft called “substantially” supported in Office 2007, and said it would update that support in the next major version release of Office, code named Office 14.
As might be expected Microsoft will be part of the ISO/IEC working group being formed to maintain OOXML and the ISO/IEC working group that is supposed to improve interoperability between ISO/IEC-recognized document formats.