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Ecma Office Open XML File Formats Standard - Status Report - 17 August 2006 - Redmond, Washington, USA


The Ecma International Technical Committee TC45 is working to establish a standard for Office Open XML File Formats as described in its program of work at The committee’s work began in December 2005, and has continued via weekly 2-hour conference calls and regular face-to-face meetings. This month, the committee will make Draft 1.4 of the proposed standard available publicly.

This week (August 15-17), the committee held its fifth face-to-face meeting, this time in Redmond, Washington, USA. The meeting was hosted by Microsoft and attended by seventeen participants.

During the meeting, the committee:

  • Devoted a large part of the time to reviewing and solving open issues.
  • Approved a set of format and schema changes.
  • Completed the Conformance clause and defined conformance requirements for arithmetic precision in SpreadsheetML.
  • Completed the SpreadsheetML formula specification.
  • Revised the DrawingML 2D transform specification.
  • Redefined how to optionally insert controls (e.g., ActiveX, Java applets, etc) to support multiple platforms.
  • Structured the standard into five parts to improve its overall readability.
  • Planned to provide the Office Open XML Schemas in the Relax-NG format as an informative section in a future draft, in addition to the normative W3C XML Schema Definitions.

New material presentations included SpreadsheetDrawing and ChartDrawing, both in DrawingML. Highlights of the meeting included a presentation by the Library of Congress regarding the challenge of sustaining digital assets for the future, and a tour of the Microsoft Office Usability Labs. The Committee's next face-to-face meeting will be hosted in September by Statoil in Trondheim, Norway, where it intends to produce a final draft to submit to the Ecma General Assembly for approval.

The technical committee includes representatives from Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, Intel, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil, Toshiba, and the United States Library of Congress.

If you wish to provide focused technical feedback, please visit There is also a technical forum at for developers who are interested in using the Ecma Office Open XML file formats. For general information about Ecma International, please contact Christa Rosatzin-Strobel (

Tom Ngo (NextPage)

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