Office Goes XML

Microsoft's next version of application suite will save files in E-mail-friendly format.

Aaron Ricadela, Contributor

June 3, 2005

1 Min Read

Get ready to say goodbye to .doc and hello to XML. The next version of Microsoft Office, due in the second half of 2006, will save files in the Extensible Markup Language by default. The new format will make files smaller, more effectively prevent corruption, and make it easier for files to share data, Microsoft says.

The XML format in Office 12 better suits an E-mail age in which PC users are moving files over the Internet. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will create XML files as their default save option--users will need to choose the "save as" command to create the old formats of .doc, .ppt, and .xls.

Microsoft plans to ship a free tool that lets owners of some previous Office versions read Office 12 files and one that reformats large batches of documents.

Files saved in XML take up half as much space as those using Microsoft's traditional formats. "It's a subtle but very big deal," says Peter O'Kelly, an analyst with the Burton Group. "Even though everyone thinks they have an infinite amount of disk space these days, it's very significant when people are shipping files around via E-mail."

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