Wednesday, September 29, 2004

My email to Microsoft requesting OOo file format support as a standard feature for Word

This is probably not of too much interest to many people, but the use of open file formats is a very big issue to me. I submitted this email by going www.microsoft.com, hitting the 'contact us' link, then selecting the 'suggest new feature for product' choice. If you happen to be one of the small number of people who care about file formats, please send them a message of your own! Here is my email:

Hello, I am an author of 14 published books - many of them written using Word for Windows and for the Mac.

While I basically like the functionality of Word, it would make my life very much easier if Word would also support the (soon to be an international standard) OpenOffice.org XML file format (gzipped XML files in a very clear format).

The problem is that I consider what I write to be **my data** and I would sometimes like to reuse **my data** in other ways. I find the OpenOffice.org file format to be very easy to process using simple programs written in Python, C#, Java, etc.

To repeat myself a little: the value of my word processing documents increases dramatically when I can access **my data** using simple programs.

In recent years, even though I own licenses for Word for Windows 2000 and Microsoft Office for the Mac (excellent!, by the way) I find myself using OpenOffice.org more and more because of the file format issue.

Money for software and writing tools is not an issue with me - I would rather spend money for upgrades for future versions of Word because it is such a polished writing tool. However, without simple and native support for the (soon to be international standard) OpenOffice.org file formats I am unlikely to buy future upgrades.

Thanks for your attention.

-Mark Watson

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