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OpenDocument Text
Filename extension .odt
Internet media type application/vnd.
Uniform Type Identifier org.oasis.
Developed by Sun Microsystems, OASIS
Type of format Document file format
Extended from XML
Standard(s) ISO/IEC 26300:2006
Free file format? Yes
OpenDocument Presentation
Filename extension .odp
Internet media type application/vnd.
Uniform Type Identifier org.oasis.
Developed by Sun Microsystems, OASIS
Type of format Presentation
Extended from XML
Standard(s) ISO/IEC 26300:2006
Free file format? Yes
OpenDocument Spreadsheet
Filename extension .ods
Internet media type application/vnd.
Uniform Type Identifier org.oasis.
Developed by Sun Microsystems, OASIS
Type of format Spreadsheet
Extended from XML
Standard(s) ISO/IEC 26300:2006
Free file format? Yes
OpenDocument Graphics
Filename extension .odg
Internet media type application/vnd.
Uniform Type Identifier org.oasis.
Developed by Sun Microsystems, OASIS
Type of format Graphics file format
Extended from XML
Standard(s) ISO/IEC 26300:2006
Free file format? Yes

The OpenDocument Format (ODF) is an XML-based file format for representing electronic documents such as spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word processing documents. While the specifications were originally developed by Sun Microsystems, the standard was developed by the OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) TC - OASIS ODF TC [2], committee of the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) consortium and based on the XML format originally created and implemented by the office suite (see XML). In addition to being an OASIS standard, it is published (in one of its version 1.0 manifestations) as an ISO/IEC international standard, ISO/IEC 26300:2006 Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0.[3]



The most common filename extensions used for OpenDocument documents are [4]:

A basic OpenDocument file consists of an XML document that has <document> as its root element. OpenDocument files can also take the format of a ZIP compressed archive containing a number of files and directories; these can contain binary content and benefit from ZIP's lossless compression to reduce file size. OpenDocument benefits from separation of concerns by separating the content, styles, metadata and application settings into four separate XML files.

There is a comprehensive set of sample documents in OpenDocument Format available.[5] The whole test suite is available under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 license.


The OpenDocument standard was developed by a Technical Committee (TC) under the OASIS industry consortium. The ODF-TC has members from a diverse set of companies and individuals. Active TC members have voting rights. Members associated with Sun and IBM have sometimes had a large voting influence.[6] The standardization process involved the developers of many office suites or related document systems. The first official ODF-TC meeting to discuss the standard was December 16, 2002; OASIS approved OpenDocument as an OASIS Standard on May 1, 2005. OASIS submitted the ODF specification to ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC1) on November 16, 2005, under Publicly Available Specification (PAS) rules.

After a six-month review period, on May 3, 2006 OpenDocument unanimously passed its six-month DIS ballot in JTC 1 (ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34), with broad participation,[7] after which the OpenDocument specification was "approved for release as an ISO and IEC International Standard" under the name ISO/IEC 26300:2006.[8]

After responding to all written ballot comments, and a 30-day default ballot, the OpenDocument International standard went to publication in ISO, officially published November 30, 2006.

Further standardization work with OpenDocument includes:

  • The OASIS Committee Specification OpenDocument 1.0 (second edition) corresponds to the published ISO/IEC 26300:2006 standard. The content of ISO/IEC 26300 and OASIS OpenDocument v1.0 2nd ed. is identical.[9] It includes the editorial changes made to address JTC1 ballot comments. It is available in ODF, HTML and PDF formats.
  • OpenDocument 1.1 includes additional features to address accessibility concerns.[10] It was approved as an OASIS Standard on 2007-02-01 following a call for vote issued on 2007-01-16.[11] The public announcement was made on 2007-02-13.[12] This version was not submitted to ISO/IEC, because it is considered to be a minor update to ODF 1.0 only, and OASIS were working already on ODF 1.2 at the time ODF 1.1 was approved.[13]
  • OpenDocument 1.2 is currently being written by the ODF TC. It is likely to include additional accessibility features, RDF-based metadata, a spreadsheet formula specification based on OpenFormula, support for digital signatures and some features suggested by the public. Projected to become an OASIS standard by 2009,[14] the process has drawn out. The OpenDocument 1.2 standard is currently in its second iteration of Committee Draft.[15]

Application support


The OpenDocument format is used in free software and in proprietary software. This includes office suites (both stand-alone and web-based) and individual applications such as word-processors, spreadsheets, presentation, and data management applications. Prominent office suites supporting OpenDocument fully or partially include:

The OpenDocument Fellowship[27] maintains a list of software and services that support the OpenDocument format. The list also provides information on the status of support for the format.[28]

Various organizations have announced development of conversion software (including plugins and filters) to support OpenDocument on Microsoft's products;[29][30] currently there are nine packages of conversion software.[28] Microsoft has first released support for the OpenDocument Format in Office 2007 SP2 [31]. However the implementation faces substantial criticism and the ODF Alliance and others have claimed that the third party plugins provide better support. [32]

Mac OS X 10.5 offers both a new TextEdit version and Quick Look feature supporting the OpenDocument Text format (albeit with some formatting loss[clarification needed]).


The specification of OpenDocument has undergone an accessibility review, and a few additions were made to version 1.1 of the specification to improve accessibility. Many of the components it is built on, such as Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language and Scalable Vector Graphics, have already gone through the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative processes.


Availability of the standard

Versions of the OpenDocument Format approved by OASIS are available for free download and use.[33]

The ITTF has added ISO/IEC 26300 to its "list of freely available standards"; anyone may download and use this standard free-of-charge under the terms of a click-through license.[34]

Additional royalty-free licensing on patented technology

Key contributor Sun Microsystems made an irrevocable intellectual property covenant, providing all implementers with the guarantee that Sun will not seek to enforce any of its enforceable U.S. or foreign patents against any implementation of the OpenDocument specification in which development Sun participates to the point of incurring an obligation.[35]

A second contributor to ODF development, IBM — which, for instance, has contributed Lotus spreadsheet documentation[36] — has made their patent rights available through their Interoperability Specifications Pledge in which "IBM irrevocably covenants to you that it will not assert any Necessary Claims against you for your making, using, importing, selling, or offering for sale Covered Implementations."[37]

Obligated members of the OASIS ODF TC have agreed to make certain licences available to implementors under the OASIS RF with Limited Terms IPR policy.


Support for OpenDocument

Several governments, companies, organizations and software products support the OpenDocument format. For example:

On November 4, 2005, IBM and Sun Microsystems convened the "OpenDocument (ODF) Summit" in Armonk, New York, to discuss how to boost OpenDocument adoption. The ODF Summit brought together representatives from several industry groups and technology companies, including Oracle, Google, Adobe, Novell, Red Hat, Computer Associates, Corel, Nokia, Intel, and Linux e-mail company Scalix. (LaMonica, November 10, 2005). The providers committed resources to technically improve OpenDocument through existing standards bodies and to promote its usage in the marketplace, possibly through a stand-alone foundation.[41]


  • OASIS ODF 1.0, 1.1 and ISO/IEC 26300:2006 do not define a definite spreadsheet formula language, syntax or function libraries.[42][43]
  • OASIS ODF 1.0, 1.1 and ISO/IEC 26300:2006 do not define digital signatures.[44]
  • The OpenDocument specifications OASIS ODF 1.0, 1.1 and ISO/IEC 26300:2006 do not support the use of tables in presentations.[45] There is only a single type of table for all uses in OpenDocument text and spreadsheet but not for presentations.
  • Different applications using ODF as a standard document format have different methods of providing macro/scripting capabilities. There is no macro language specified in ODF. Users and developers differ on whether inclusion of a standard scripting language would be desirable.[46]
  • The OpenDocument Format 1.0–1.1 specifications refer to 'ZIP' files but do not reference an ISO standard which describes the zip file format. A specification for the Zip format was distributed with PKZIP in the file APPNOTE.TXT and this continues to be maintained,[47][48] but this specification has not gone through a standardization process at the ISO.
  • According to a statement made by the now defunct OpenDocument Foundation, Inc., “it is important to recognize that ODF does not adequately respect existing standards and does not address the market's requirements for a single Universal Document Format with which any and all applications can work on an equal basis”.[49]
  • Microsoft believes that it is not possible to implement robust and reliable tracked changes using OpenDocument.[50]
  • According to Jesper Lund Stocholm (Danish ISO/IEC representative), OpenDocument has a very limited description of tracked changes. OpenDocument does not support change tracking in elements like tables or MathML[51].
  • Using MathML in OpenDocument, it is not possible to use generic ODF formating style elements (like font information) for the MathML elements [51]

Worldwide adoption

One objective of open formats like OpenDocument is to guarantee long-term access to data without legal or technical barriers, and some governments have come to view open formats as a public policy issue. Several governments around the world have introduced policies of partial or complete adoption. What this means varies from case to case; in some cases, it means that the ODF standard has a national standard identifier; in some cases, it means that the ODF standard is permitted to be used where national regulation says that non-proprietary formats must be used, and in still other cases, it means that some government body has actually decided that ODF will be used in some specific context. The following is an incomplete list:

International level

National level




South America

Subnational levels

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Huw Alexander Ogilvie. "Filetypes". Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  2. "OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) TC". Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards. 
  3. "ISO/IEC 26300:2006 Information technology -- Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0". International Organization for Standardization. 
  5. sample documents in OpenDocument Format
  6. "OpenDocument TC's publicly-visible membership roster". Retrieved 2007-11-03. 
  7. ISO/IEC SC34 Secretariat (2006-06-13). "Summary of Voting on DIS ISO/IEC 26300 - Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0". ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 34 Document Repository. Retrieved 2006-08-24. 
  8. "ISO and IEC approve OpenDocument OASIS standard for data interoperability of office applications". ISO Press Releases. ISO. 2006-05-08. Retrieved 2006-08-24. 
  9. (ZIP, PDF) ISO/IEC 26300:2006, ISO,, retrieved 2009-11-22 
  10. "OpenDocument 1.1 Specifications". OASIS. 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-31. 
  11. "Approval of OpenDocument v1.1 as OASIS Standard". OASIS. Retrieved 2007-02-06. 
  12. "Members Approve OpenDocument Version 1.1 as OASIS Standard". OASIS. Retrieved 2007-02-15. 
  14. Weir, Rob (2006-05-04). "TC coordination call draft minutes 2008-02-11". Oasis' list archives. OASIS. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  15. Weir, Rob (2009-06-23). "ODF TC timeline". Rob Weirs blog - "An Antic Disposition". Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  17. Abiword 2.4.2 Release Notes. Retrieved 2009-03-03
  18. "Adobe Buzzword online word processor from". Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  19. Atlantis Word Processor 1.6.5 release notes. Retrieved 2010-01-28
  24. "Sun ODF Plugin for Microsoft Office". Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  26. "Corel WordPerfect Office X4 - Standard Edition - Compatible". Retrieved 2008-05-03. 
  27. "OpenDocument Fellowship". OpenDocument Fellowship. Retrieved 2007-07-27. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 "Application support for the OpenDocument format". OpenDocument Fellowship. Retrieved 2007-07-27. 
  29. "OpenDocument Foundation to MA: We Have a Plugin". Groklaw. 2006-05-04. Retrieved 2006-08-23. 
  30. "Microsoft Office to get a dose of OpenDocument". CNet. 2006-05-05.,130061733,139255766,00.htm. Retrieved 2006-12-06. 
  31. "Office 2007 SP2 Supports ODF". PC World. April 28, 2009. 
  32. "Fact-sheet Microsoft ODF support". odfalliance. Retrieved 2009-05-24. "MS Excel 2007 will process ODF spreadsheet documents when loaded via the Sun Plug-In 3.0 for MS Office or the SourceForge “OpenXML/ODF Translator Add-in for Office,” but will fail when using the “built-in” support provided by Office 2007 SP2." 
  33. OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) TC
  34. "Freely Available Standards". Retrieved 22 September 2009. 
  35. Sun Microsystems, Inc.. "Sun OpenDocument Patent Statement". OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) TC. OASIS foundation. 
  37. Interoperability Specifications Pledge
  38. "ODF Alliance members". ODF Alliance. Retrieved 2009-05-24. 
  39. -
  40. "Wikis Go Printable". Wikimedia Foundation. 13 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  42. Morten Welinder (Gnome) (2005-06-15). "OpenDocument for Spreadsheets". ""So there. As far as spreadsheets are concerned, the OpenDocument Standard v1.0 is the equivalent of giving precise punctuation rules for sentences without telling if it is for English, German, French, or something else."" 
  43. Marco Fioretti. "OpenDocument office suites lack formula compatibility". Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  44. Jirka Kosek (DocBook specialist, participating member in OASIS, W3C and ISO/IEC). "From the Office Document Format Battlefield". ""the opendocument format lacks various “enterprise” features, including standardized support for spreadsheet formulas and digital signatures"" 
  45. Brian Jones. "Quick question for ODF experts". Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  46. Marco Fioretti. "Macros an obstacle to office suite compatibility". Retrieved 2008-05-11. 
  47. APPNOTE.TXT - .ZIP File Format Specification
  48. Dennis Hamilton (ODF interoperabilty committee) (2007-07-02). "Latest OOX-ODF FUD-Spat: States Prepare to Ban Zip and PDF Files". "How unfortunate that Zip format doesn’t satisfy certain high-minded criteria for qualification as an open standard" 
  49. Sam Hiser (2007-10-16). "CDF: Disrupting the Disruption". Open Document Foundation. Retrieved 2007-10-25. 
  50. Doug Mahugh (Microsoft) (2009-05-13). "Tracked Changes". 
  51. 51.0 51.1 Jesper Lund Stocholm (Danish ISO/IEC representative) (2008-12-12). "Do your math - OOXML and OMML (Updated 2008-02-12)". 
  52. Stefan Krempl (2010-01-05). "Munich administration switches to OpenDocument Format". ""Open source OpenDocument Format (ODF) is now the main document exchange standard, with PDF being used for non-editable files."" 

External links

  • OpenDocument Fellowship Volunteer organization with members around the world to promote the adoption, use and development of the OpenDocument format.
  • OpenDocument Format Alliance The alliance works globally to educate policymakers, IT administrators and the public on the benefits and opportunities of the OpenDocument Format, to help ensure that government information, records and documents are accessible across platforms and applications, even as technologies change today and in the future.
  • OpenDocument The official community gathering place and information resource for the OpenDocument OASIS Standard (ISO/IEC 26300).
  • OASIS OpenDocument Technical Committee coordinates the OpenDocument development and is the official source for specifications, schemas, etc.
  • Technical disputes regarding ODF vs. OOXML

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