[teknoids] Please try and break this.

marbux marbux at gmail.com
Fri Nov 14 17:57:03 EST 2008

On Fri, Nov 14, 2008 at 8:41 AM, Whitcomb, Jeff <jmwhitco at samford.edu> wrote:
> Elmer,
> Office 2007 files don't appear to be supported.  I get a message: "Sorry, but conversion from the document type "docx" is not supported"  Same for PPTX.

OOo 2.x won't import MS Office Ecma 376 documents. OOo 3.x will,
although early reports of the quality of the import are not
impressive. It may improve during the Office 2007 release cycle but
work on supporting those formats will probably end when Office 2009 is
released. Moreover, I don't know whether OOo 3.x will work with
Elmer's setup.

The work-around would be to save to the binary formats in MS Office
rather than to the XML formats before using Elmer's service.

For that matter, it's better in most circumstances to set the binary
formats as the default file save formats in Office. Many changes in
the Ecma 376 specification (DIS:29500 Office Open XML) were made by
ISO/IEC JTC 1. The resulting specification is not even public yet and
Microsoft has announced it won't support OOXML until the next version
of Office. See e.g.,
(last paragraph). So the Ecma 376 support in Office 2007 is a
transitory event; it's a set of formats scheduled for deprecation in
Office 2009.

But if you're using Sharepoint, you'll need to work with Ecma 376
rather than with the binary formats. Ecma 376 is a very large part of
the glue between Office and Sharepoint. (Office still uses the binary
formats internally, with the XML formats requiring I/O conversion. The
binary formats are dumps to file of the in-memory binary
representations of documents. Sharepoint doesn't converse in the
binary tongues.)

The above suggestions apply in spades if you are using an earlier
version of Office equipped with the Office 2007 Compatibility Pack,
which adds Ecma 376 document support to the earlier versions.

Microsoft has been resoundingly quiet on whether an equivalent
retrofit will be produced for the OOXML support coming in Office 2009.
There are substantial reasons, not discussed here, to suspect it may
not. The Compatibility Pack marks the first time Microsoft gave away
free forward compatibility for older Office versions, a rather
stunning departure from the traditional Office Upgrade Treadmill
business plan that enabled backward compatibility only.

The bottom line here? If interoperability with non-Microsoft apps is
mission critical, the Office 2007 XML formats support in such apps is
likely to be deprecated or dropped post-Office 2009.

Cf., for those who can't get enough interop recipes, there's an
interesting post on the methodology employed by Microsoft to port the
Ecma 376 support from Office 2007 to the earlier versions and to
Office for the Mac.

With that work done, it should be relatively simple for Microsoft to
port OOXML support from Office 2009 to the earlier versions and to
Office for the Mac. The real question is whether Microsoft management
wants do do that, whether Microsoft will return to the forced upgrade
business model for Office 2009. The Microsoft silence on this subject
is not reassuring.

Best regards,


Universal Interoperability Council

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