Microsoft to support Chinese document standard

The company will sponsor an open-source project to create converter between Ecma Open XML and Chinese standard. Also: new ODF converters.

Microsoft is expanding its repertoire of document formats.

The company on Monday is expected to announce that it is sponsoring an open-source project to create a converter between Ecma Open XML--a set of file formats closely tied to Microsoft Office--and a Chinese national standard called Unified Office Format (UOF).

Also on Monday, the company is expected to make available beta versions of previously announced translators between PowerPoint and Excel and corresponding applications that support the OpenDocument Format, or ODF.

The converters, to be available on the site, let people open and save documents in either the Ecma Open XML formats or ODF. An initial translator for Word was released earlier this year; those for PowerPoint and Excel are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The beta software will work with the XP, 2003 and 2007 versions of Powerpoint and Excel.

With its planned UOF converts, Microsoft is taking a similar approach in sponsoring an open-source project. The company decided to support UOF through a translator because of interest among Chinese government customers and institutions, according to Microsoft.

The Beijing Information Technology Institute, one of the creators of UOF, will participate in the open-source project, according to a Microsoft representative.

The project will also be posted on Sourceforge, a popular open-source project hosting site. A beta version of initial converters is expected at the end of July and will become a final product early next year.

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