Microsoft Office Breaks Ground By Adopting HTML Standard as File Format

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 15, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a commitment to use HTML, an open Internet standard, as the companion file format to its own proprietary format in the next version of Microsoft® Office. This landmark design decision will let anyone on any platform read business documents created by Microsoft Office, including documents with rich formatting elements like Microsoft Excel charts and OfficeArt drawings. In addition to viewing, Office customers will be able to edit HTML files with all the rich document creation tools already found in Office. Taking HTML editing further, Office documents stored in HTML will enable “round-tripping” by implementing Extensible Markup Language (XML) technology to preserve all the Office-specific formatting in a document.

“We believe that Web documents created by knowledge workers will be as pervasive as printed documents are today,” said Jon DeVaan, vice president of the desktop applications division at Microsoft. “That is why we are elevating work on HTML output to the same level of our native formats. Office has always been great at creating rich documents, and now we’re making it easier for end users in an organization to contribute content to an intranet.”

In its next version, Microsoft Office will be re-engineered to support both HTML and the current binary file formats. HTML support in Office will enable seamless round-tripping, which means that a customer can save an Office document in HTML and open it back up in Office

without losing any important Office data such as PivotTable® dynamic views or complex charts. Implementation of XML within the HTML document makes it possible to preserve Office-specific functionality, enabling Office and Web-browser users to exchange richly formatted documents with no loss of quality.

This announcement represents another major step toward helping customers get the most value from their intranet using Office. Today, Office 97 provides users with powerful, easy-to-use tools to publish their documents to the Web. This capability has enabled customers to use their intranet as a collaborative tool – one of the most compelling reasons customers are moving to Office 97. More than 20 million Office 97 application licenses have sold in less than a year, making it the fastest-selling business productivity application in history. Moving forward, Office will continue to embrace open Web standards such as HTML, allowing customers to take advantage of the powerful productivity tools on all their desktops.

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