Office Open XML (OpenXML) is a proposed open standard for word-processing documents, presentations, and spreadsheets that can be freely implemented by multiple applications on multiple platforms. Its publication benefits organizations that intend to implement applications capable of using the format, commercial and governmental entities that procure such software, and educators or authors who teach the format. Ultimately, all users enjoy the benefits of an XML standard for their documents, including stability, preservation, interoperability, and ongoing evolution.

The work to standardize OpenXML has been carried out by Ecma International via its Technical Committee 45 (TC45), which includes representatives from Apple, Barclays Capital, BP, The British Library, Essilor, Intel, Microsoft, NextPage, Novell, Statoil, Toshiba, and the United States Library of Congress (1).

This white paper summarizes OpenXML. Read it to:

  • Understand the purposes of OpenXML and structure of its Specification

  • Know its properties: how it addresses backward compatibility, preservation, extensibility, custom schemas, subsetting, multiple platforms, internationalization, and accessibility

  • Learn how to follow the high-level structure of any OpenXML file, and navigate quickly to any portion of the Specification from which you require further detail