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Ecma Office Open XML File Formats Standard - Status Report - 21 June 2006

The Ecma International Technical Committee (TC45) is working to establish a standard for Office Open XML File Formats as described in the TC45 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.

On June 19-21, 2006, the committee held its fourth face-to-face meeting in Sapporo, Japan. The meeting was hosted by Toshiba and attended by eighteen participants. The technical agenda included new material on SpreadsheetML, PresentationML, DrawingML, compound documents, and the Open Packaging Conventions. The committee reviewed issues and modifications to WordProcessingML as proposed by the committee, and finished resolving substantive issues regarding conformance and interoperability. Highlights of the meeting included presentations by Statoil, BP, and Essilor of methods for visualizing and analyzing the schema interdependencies defining the file format, and demonstrations of Java prototype tools by Toshiba to transform Office Open XML to HTML for viewing in any browser. Ecma has requested liaison with ISO/IEC JTC1 SC34 in order to help prepare a possible Open XML submission to ISO/IEC, and SC34 has appointed a liaison officer. The TC45 committee's next face-to-face meeting will be hosted in August by Microsoft in Redmond, Washington.

The technical committee includes representatives from Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, Intel, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil, and Toshiba. The United States Library of Congress has also recently joined the Ecma TC45 committee. By monitoring and contributing to the formation of this standard, the Library hopes to ensure that office productivity documents created by individuals and organizations using widely available tools can be saved in a form that will remain accessible as technology changes.

Last month, the committee made Draft 1.3 of the proposed standard available publicly. The work is in progress, and the participants in Ecma TC45 are providing the reference schema and specification as working documents, for informational purposes only. The contents are subject to change, and may change monthly; a channel is offered to provide technical feedback on the drafts. If you wish to provide focused feedback, you will be most welcome to send your comments/contribution to a special e-mail address after registration and acceptation of legal terms. This e-mail address is available when you click here. 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)

The following organizations have participated in the work of Ecma TC45 and their contributions are gratefully acknowledged:

Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, Intel, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil, and Toshiba

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