ODF Add-in for Microsoft Word

ODF Converter Team Blog

Friday 18 June 2010

Release 4 – A Step towards ISO 29500 Compatibility

End of last year, we started the development of the OpenXML/ODF Translator Release 4 with an in-depth analysis of OpenXML features introduced, changed or removed during the ISO standardisation process (the old versions of the Translator were based on the OpenXML specification released as Ecma-376 in 2006). This means understanding the delta between the old ECMA and the new ISO standard (IS29500). Additionally, we also had to consider intricacies such as “consumer” vs. “producer” roles, “strict” vs. “transitional” conformance classes and a standard in flux: being in the maintenance phase means that flaws in IS29500 are currently being fixed and new features are being discussed and amended.



We believe that this release of the translator defines and implements a sound compromise between pragmatism and strict adherence to the standard. The new Translator release behaves a bit like Office 2010: It is able to consume a variety of OpenXML dialects but when producing OpenXML documents it mainly follows IS29500 “transitional”. Thus, the Translator is able to digest OpenXML documents from various sources, including Microsoft Office 2010.



It should be mentioned here again, that in a pure Office 2010 environment the OpenXML/ODF Translator may not be needed since the Office 2010 applications provide for an excellent and natively integrated ODF translation support.



However,

  • when you are still using Office XP or 2003, or
  • when you want to run OpenXML/ODF translations on a server without any Office application (for example in a batch mode), or
  • when you need a translator on a non-Windows platform, e.g. Linux with Mono
  • when you need support for the formula namespaces used by OpenOffice.org


then the OpenXML/ODF Translator may still be the right choice for you.



Thanks for your continued support for this project.

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Releasing 3.0 (Hotfix 5254)

We would like to thank you all for the feedback on V3.0(Patch 5250). While we are planning to incorporate much of the feedback & improvements in the next major release, a Hotfix build was deemed necessary to address a high priority issue. Please use this build for all the file conversions. The build fixes the below issue observed in Release 3.0.5250.

• For Word, loss of text contents starting with a checkbox, loss of date fields, and loss of footer contents, on reverse conversion was observed in some documents.Please refer to the defect, Loss of Footer and Loss Of Date in SourceForge. Please refer to the release notes, for a detailed list of fixes in this release.

Wednesday 9 September 2009

OpenXML/ODF Translator Add-in for Office V3.0 (Patch 5250)

After the release of v3.0 (Hotfix 5246 ) our focus was on important defects which were pending on compatibility between Office 2007 SP2 and ODF translator and few others defects which were regarding the direct conversion through Open XML/ ODF Add-In. Among the defects which are fixed, the priority ones are ….



• In the Excel add-in, chart conversion is enhanced to have mapping between the Chart and source Data Table. Along with this focus was on other improvements like Data Range Value and unexpected message while opening few file.

• In the Word add-in, the quality of translation is improved regarding some Shapes and its properties like position, color and wrapping. Other fixes include for features like numbering, bullets and TOC.

• In Powerpoint add-in, the quality of translation is improved regarding some Shapes and fixes related to OLE Objects.

Thursday 21 May 2009

Releasing 3.0 (Hotfix 5246)

We would like to thank you all for the feedback on V3.0. While we are planning to incorporate much of the feedback & improvements in the next major release, a Hotfix build was deemed necessary to address two high priority issues. Please use this build only if you are affected by the issues described below:

  • For Excel , it was observed that the files created in Open Office 3.0 have a problem in converting if the author applied some formatting to an entire row . Please refer to the defect details in SourceForge.
  • Another issue is related to installation on Office 2000/XP/2003: After installing the add-in in a per-user context it is not loaded by the Office application. This happens if any version of the add-in was already installed for a different user on the same system.

Please refer to the release notes, for a detailed list of fixes in this release.

Tuesday 28 April 2009

Readiness is All: Version 3.0 is a Compliance and Compatibility Milestone

During the last three months we worked on a new version of the OpenXML/ODF Translator Add-ins for Office. Why are we releasing version 3.0 only four months after publishing version 2.5?

Office 2007 SP2 will ship with a new feature: ODF version 1.1 documents can be opened or saved natively in Microsoft Office. So, we wanted to make sure that the translator is ready before Office 2007 SP2 is released to ensure the best experience across the translation scenarios.

In a nutshell, version 3.0 focuses on ODF 1.1 conformance and on Office 2007 SP2 compatibility.

In addition, several bugs have been fixed and the translation quality of some features has been improved. As already described in the previous blog entry, several formula languages are now supported. Freeform shape translation has been implemented in order to support ODF shapes created by Office 2007 SP2. We were also able to further improve the performance of the DOCX/ODT translator, in particular for big documents having lots of text.

We hope that the enhancements in version 3.0 of the OpenXML/ODF Translator meet your needs. Supporting different flavours of the ODF and the OpenXML standards is one more step towards interoperability. We are looking forward to receiving your feedback and feature requests to find again the right road for future developments

Friday 13 March 2009

How the OpenXML/ODF Translator Deals with Formulas

The ODF standard does not yet specify formulas. So what shall we do with these poor and neglected formulas in our OpenXML/ODF translator?

In its first versions, the OpenXML/ODF translator simply did not translate formulas at all. Only the static values were preserved. Unfortunately, users are not really interested in what is part of a standard and what not. They actually want to get a good translation which means the preservation of all visual content and even of the functional content such as formulas. Consequently, we (the OpenXML/ODF Translator team of Sonata, DIaLOGIKa and Microsoft) decided to implement a decent formula translation approach in version 2.5 after having received a number of complains.

The solution we selected should provide best user experience for MS Office and OpenOffice users. Thus, we implemented a basic support for OpenOffice formulas which use the namespace xmns:oooc=http://openoffice.org/2004/calc. If possible the value and the formula are translated. Otherwise only the value is retained. In detail the OpenXML/ODF Translator does the following:

  • Formula values are always translated from OpenXML to ODF and vice versa.
  • Formulas only containing functions which are supported by both OpenXML and OpenOffice, are retained. Syntax differences such as separator characters or cell references are handled (Note: Most of the OpenXML functions are also supported by OpenOffice).
  • Formulas containing functions, which are not supported by one of the formats, are omitted, but the formula’s value is kept. (Note: There are a number of OpenOffice functions which do not exist in OpenXML).

It should be born in mind that the translator simply checks for the formula prefix “oooc:”. It does not check the URI linked to the namespace prefix.

After supporting OpenOffice formulas in version 2.5 of the OpenXML/ODF Translator, version 3.0 will also implement formula translation of KSpread, Symphony and MS Office 2007 SP2 (which newly comes with ODF support).

KSpread and Symphony do not specify a namespace for formulas. They seem to use a similar formula language as OpenOffice; however, we encountered already a number of functions only used by KSpread.

MS Office 2007 SP2 uses the namespace, xmlns:msoxl="http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/excel/formula".

Version 3.0 of the OpenXML/ODF translator will give the following formula conversion results:

ODS created by     ODS code sample          Translator v3.0       Translator v3.0 
                                            retains compatible    replaces incompatible 
                                            formulas              formulas by their
                                                                  values 

OpenXML/ODF        oooc:=SUM([.A1];[.A2])       Yes                   Yes
Translator 
v2.5 or v3.0
			
OpenOffice         oooc:=SUM([.A1];[.A2])       Yes                   Yes

KSpread            =SUM([.A1];[.A5])            Yes*                  Yes*

Symphony           =SUM([.A1];[.A5])            Yes*                  Yes*

Office 2007SP2     msoxl:=SUM(A1,A2)            Yes                   Yes
    
Any other          xxxx:=SUM([.A1];[.A2])       Yes                   Yes
translator 
using OpenOffice
formula syntax
and any namespace

\*Some “fine tuning” has been postponed to the next version.

Monday 17 November 2008

Mission Accomplished... OpenXML/ODF Translator Release 2.5 Available on SourceForge!

Our previous blog entries already described the main features and improvements we’ve included in version 2.5. Thus, we will just summarize the highlights of the new release in this entry.

Common New Features

  • Single MSI installer for all translator add-ins
  • Associating ODF files with the Microsoft Office applications (during installation): This feature allows you to convert and open an ODF file by double-clicking in Explorer.
  • Shortcut from the Windows Start menu to the OpenXML/ODF Translator ReadMe file

Word Translator

The major new features of the Word Translator are the ODF compatible templates: The new installer copies OpenXML templates to the user’s local template folder. Documents based on these templates use only those Word features which allow a high-fidelity translation between OpenXML and ODF. In addition, these templates have been made directly accessible via the “New document” entry in the ODF translator menu.

Apart from these ODF compatible templates a considerable number of enhancements were related to shape properties such as size, position, wrapping, color etc.

In addition TOC style translation has been improved, OTT support added and the performance enhanced.

Excel Translator

The Excel translator mainly focused on chart-related enhancements ( e.g. the translation of style, color, width, transparency and fill color of several chart elements and axis scale). In addition new features such as named ranges or the translation of formula functions which are supported in both OpenXML and ODF (including preservation of OpenXML formulas during roundtrip conversion) have been implemented. Many defects concerning file crashes, chart formatting, Pivot table, etc. could also be fixed.

Despite all these improvements, performance was not perceptibly impaired, but could even be improved for some spreadsheets.

Command Line Translator

The command line translator provides for translation facilities for all three document types – text documents, spreadsheets and presentation – via one single executable. In addition to the existing features the command line tool can now convert document templates.

Please let us know your feature requests and feedback

DIaLOGIKa and Sonata

Tuesday 21 October 2008

Time flies like an arrow … Milestone 2 has been released!

We focussed in this release mainly on defect fixing, but took also care of some new features. Our testers did a great job by validating old issues and, unfortunately :-), by also reporting some new defects which are related to features not yet implemented or to regressions.

Some details on the two translators (4858) (we have concentrated on the Excel and Word translators in this release):

Excel Translator: Chart features such as label, title bar, colored grid line and many more were enhanced. A number of crash issues could be identified and fixed.

Word Translator: The M2 release shows up with some nice improvements related to shape and textbox properties, VML line implementation and table of contents translation. In addition, most of the crash issues could be fixed and the performance for translating ODT documents to DOCX could considerably be enhanced by refacturing the ToC translation.

We are approaching our final destination – the next and final release of version 2.5 of the OpenXML/ODF Translator is planned for November!

And don’t forget: … Fruit flies like a banana (Groucho Marx :-)

Tuesday 7 October 2008

OpenXML/ODF Translator Version 2.5: Milestone 1

The first milestone of version 2.5 of the OpenXML/ODF Translator has been released! We have put some effort in exciting new common features for all translators in this milestone:

  • Single MSI Installation: You need to download only one language-specific installation file for all the add-ins (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) and Office versions.
  • ODF File Association: During installation you can now associate ODF files with your favorite MS Office applications, i.e. double-clicking an ODF file translates and opens the file in the respective MS Office application.

Apart from these common new features we have also fixed a number of defects and tackled a lot of enhancements for the individual translators, in particular for Excel and Word.

Excel Translator Charts, named ranges and formulas are now implemented in M1. Since Formulas are not part of the ODF ISO standard we do the following: The OpenXML formula code is retained in the ODF spreadsheet, thus, it can be restored during roundtrip conversion back to OpenXML. In addition, we could again accomplish some performance improvements.

Word Translator To mention only a few of the new features implemented in M1: VML shape properties, page number offset, table formatting and ODF-compatible templates. Concerning these compatible templates: The new installer copies OpenXML templates to the user’s local template folder. Documents based on these templates use only those Word features which allow a high-fidelity translation between OpenXML and ODF. In addition, these templates have been made directly accessible via the “New document” entry in the ODF translator menu.

Our next target is now milestone 2. Stay tuned for more new features, enhancements and defect fixes!

And we would be looking forward in receiving your feedback, e.g. your feature requests.

Friday 1 August 2008

Version 2.0 has been Released!

We are happy to announce the release of OpenXML/ODF Translator Version 2.0 on SourceForge!

This version fixes many issues and provides for a large number of new features. Too mention only a few:

  • Digitally signed addins which can now be used even when the security settings are set to high;
  • a new “Options” menu command which allows to suppress/re-activate the Fidelity Message dialog box;
  • the overall performance has considerably be improved;
  • Mono compatibility;
  • the installation has been simplified by auto-detecting the installed Office version and
  • supporting ODF 1.1 documents and documents created using OpenOffice.org 2.4.

Let’s describe some highlights of the individual translators.

Translator for Excel

This release mainly focused on performance improvements, the Fidelity Message option, digitally signed code, chart-related enhancements and a number of new features such as the translation of the “freeze pane” setting. In addition, we fixed many defects concerning charts, merged cells, cell formatting (background color, borders and format), chart formatting, conditional formatting, installation and localization issues.

Translator for Word

A number of new features have been implemented, e.g. the conversion of shapes, enhanced table and field translation, etc. However, the main focus of this Word addin release was probably put on an improved roundtrip conversion experience and on bug fixing (a special thank for the excellent feedback on release 1.1 coming from public authorities such as FEDICT in Belgium). In addition, the performance of the Word addin could considerably be improved via two approaches: optimizing the code using elaborate profiling tools and pre-compilation. Apart from new features, bug fixes, roundtrip enhancements and performance improvements, the addin is now digitally signed and the Fidelity Message dialog box can be disabled/enabled.

Translator for PowerPoint

We implemented a large number of new features such as slide transition, tab stop translation, tables, basic OLE objects, bullets and numbering in notes, brightness and contrast for pictures, arrow and connectors in grouped shapes, animation for grouped shapes and pictures, enhancement of gradient fill color (direction and angle) and many more. In addition, many defects could be fixed such as the lost “resize shape to fit text” option, the crash when saving a read-only PPTX as an ODP presentation, the missing leading blanks, wrong language settings in roundtrip conversions, etc. In synch with the other translators, the PowerPoint addin is now digitally signed and the Fidelity Message dialog box can be suppressed/re-activated.

Command Line Translator

The command line translator provides for translation facilities for all three document types – text documents, spreadsheets and presentation – via one single executable. Apart from benefiting from the improvements made for the individual addins a number of defects have been fixed specifically for the command line tool.

Note: Click here for requesting new features in ODF convertor.

Tuesday 1 July 2008

Announcing Milestone 1 Release for Version 2.0 of ODF Translators

Following the success of ODF Translator V1.0, right away, Milestone 1 Release for ODF Translator V2.0 is available for download in ODF Convertor SourceForge website and next and final milestone planned sometime during first week of August, 2008.

M1 - Release

Current Milestone 1 Release for ODF Translator V2.0 extends the functionality on translating Text documents, Spreadsheets and Presentations from OpenXML to ODF and vice versa on following features for the convertors.

Excel (Download Excel Translator -M1)

  • Chart Features such as Chart Area, Chart Wall, Legends
  • Implementation of Reported Defects (Cell borders, Commandline, Freeze Pane, Font change, ODS filters, Reverse Roundtrip, Crash Defect etc)

Word (Download Word Translator -M1)

  • Basic conversion of VML shapes
  • Implementation of Reported Defects

PowerPoint (Download PPT Translator -M1)

  • Slide Transition
  • Basic OLE
  • Implementation of Reported Defects (Text of notes, Animation actions, Image color properties, Default save as file name, Gradient direction, Roundtrip, Option dialog etc)


Upcoming M2 - Release

M2 Release of V2.0 will be available in ODF Convertor SourceForge website some time during first week of August, 2008. Herein, see heads-up on upcoming release features.

Excel

  • Improvement of Chart properties
  • Digital Code Signing
  • Implementation of Reported Defects (Filters, Format of cells, Conversion time, Print etc)

Word


  • Improvement of VML shapes implementation
  • Digital Code Signing
  • Implementation of Reported Defects (Drawing object, Options Dialog for EN, Fidelity message for Japanese, Roundtrip, Localization, Build etc)

PowerPoint


  • Improvement of OLE objects
  • Digital Code Signing
  • Implementation of Reported Defects (Add-In dialog box, Tables, Uninstall, Read only files of PPT, Locale, Point of connectors, Default Tab Stop etc)

Stay tuned and check out new updates of V2.0 in this blog space.

Wednesday 21 May 2008

Back Again for v2.0

After we have released v1.1 in March we got a lot of feedback from various sources including public administrations from all over Europe (thank you very much for it!). We used the rainy spring months here in Europe to collect, analyse and classify this feedback and, thus, to build the scope for OpenXML/ODF Translator v2.0. Development work already started last week with the well-known teams on board: Sonata, Cleverage, DIaLOGIKa and—last, but not least—Microsoft.



Just to mention a number of highlights we will provide in v2.0:


  • supporting ODF 1.1 features (ODF 1.1 compliance)
  • improving roundtrip conversion , in particular concerning the reverse direction from DOCX nach ODT
  • enhancing table and field translation
  • adding shape translation (VML)
  • providing OLE translation in PPT
  • supporting chart properties
  • signing the add-in code, thus, allowing to deploy the add-in in environments where the Office security level is set to high
  • usability enhancements
  • Mono compatibility
  • fixing a number of bugs (thanks again for the excellent feedback from public authorities)


The detailed roadmap describing the various milestones (the final version is planned for beginning of August) will be made available on the project web site soon. Stay tuned :-)

Friday 7 March 2008

Long Time No See

It’s really a long time since our last posting here. However, we have well used this time to enhance the OpenXML/ODF Translator: Release 1.1 is now available for translating text documents, spreadsheets and presentations from OpenXML to ODF and vice versa offering a large number of enhancements as compared to release 1.0. What are the improvements and new features in detail?

Translator for Text Documents

Release 1.1 has been implemented to remedy some of the bugs encountered in v1.0, but also to provide for a more complete feature translation, in particular for documents exchanged in the public administration of the EU (aka Eurolook and LegisWrite documents). Consequently, we focussed in v1.1 on performance improvements, page layout settings (including footer and header), OLE objects, headings,lists and table of contents (ToC).

Translator for Spreadsheets

Improved performance together with increased reliability were two of the key features in release 1.1. In addition, we focussed on enhanced roundtrip translation experience and fixed a large number of bugs reported for the first release. In addition, the setup procedure has been simplified: one (localized) setup program installs the add-in for all supported Office versions.

Translator for Presentations

Performance improvements by considerably reducing the loading time of the translation tables have also been addressed in release 1.1 of the presentation translator. Apart from that, the translated feature set has been extended, e.g. by supporting additional shapes, and many v1.0 features have been made up. The setup procedure has also been simplified in the same way as for the text document and spreadsheet translator add-in, i.e. one (localized) setup program installs the add-in for all supported Office versions.

Command Line Translator

One single executable is now available for all three document types; thus, deployment and configuration of the command line translator, e.g. on a translation server, has become easier and more straightforward. The command line translator is the ideal tool in domain specific scenarios where desktop deployments are restricted, e.g. to implement a centralized conversion service, to do batch processing, etc.

We are looking forward to receiving your feedback on release 1.1 of the OpenXML/ODF Translator.

Stay tuned for future updates here…

Monday 23 July 2007

Open XML Translators’ Latest Releases!!!

It’s Release time again!!! This time we have Spreadsheet (Excel) and Presentation (PowerPoint) translators’ M3 releases and Document (Word) 1.1 translator’s M1 release for all of you download and play with to provide your candid feedback.

Over the past month, our teams have been slogging hard to bring the following feature sets and bug fixes (applicable to Word 1.1 releases) in the latest release versions:

Translator for Spreadsheet / Excel M3 features: Charts (Covers 2D+3D with Line, Area, Column, Bar and Pie Charts), Hyperlinks, Conditional formatting (only direct conversion implemented), Pictures, Data styles (includes Time, Fractions, Scientific formats) and Annotations (for reverse conversion: shapes properties are not implemented yet).

Translator for Presentation / PowerPoint M3 features: Design Layouts, Text Box, Paragraph, Shapes, Format Background, Text, Paragraph, Formatting Indent & Spacing and List numbering & bullets.

Translator for Document / Word 1.1 M1 scope: Bug fixes for loss in paragraph formats, style formats, field content loss and Text flow problems in particular scenarios. Other than these fixes, for the first time, you’ll see Word translator in Japanese, besides French, German, Polish, Dutch, and, but of course, English!

As always, all the known issues for the releases are tracked in the form of bugs, release notes for Excel, PowerPoint, Word 1.1 translators and format conversion known issues.

Till I post you with updates on the next set of releases, keep the faith, and please share with us your earnest feedback…

Friday 15 June 2007

Did I just mention Word 1.1!

Well folks, you heard right! After Word 1.0 release, we have been listening and gathering your feedback and comments and have decided to roll out the sequel to Word 1.0. Word 1.1 is slated to be released in fall 2007, along with Excel and PowerPoint translators’ v1 releases, with intermediate CTP updates.

At a high level, Word 1.1 aims to address the following issues:

  • Enhancements to end user usability in terms of:
  1. Installation
  2. Predictable translation
  3. Localization - Additional Languages supported will include Chinese and Japanese with updates to Dutch
  4. Error messages & documentation
  • Fixing all critical defects
  • Performance Improvements

Some major bug fixes would be observed with regards to content loss, formatting, header footer lists and shapes. We are still finalizing the roadmap in terms of intermediate releases, etc for 1.1 and will keep you posted on that front with newer updates. Our Word 1.0 translator team, that includes Cleverage, Aztecsoft and DIaLOGIKa, will be supporting this release as well. We look forward to your support and feedback in ensuring we enhance the translator to meet customer needs.

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