Oasis Standard

ISO/IEC 26300


The 2006 approval of ISO for the OASIS Open Document Format (ODF) is illustrative of the maturation of the computing sector. Until the creation of ODF there had been no standard method of storing and exchanging office type documents; instead seamless exchange of documents was dependent upon all parties using the same version of the same software, and painless retrieval of old documents was more a matter of luck and timing than anything else.

Many vendors now produce software that allows reading and/or writing of ODF files, and many organisations are moving to standardise on the format. Adopters include national and local governments all over the world, such as Bristol City Council and the Belgian government, and companies as far apart as Banco de Brasil, Oxford Archaeology and De Bortoli Wines. The ODF Alliance provide more information on ODF, and a list of government organisations adopting ODF can be found on this Wikipedia page.

Software available that allows full read/write access includes OpenOffice.org, Google Docs and Spreadsheets, IBM Workplace, Lotus Symphony and Sun's StarOffice. An extensive and growing list of supporting applications is maintained by the Open Document Fellowship.

Users of Microsoft Office, which currently does not support ISO 26300, can use the ODF plugin for Microsoft Office (not compatible with Microsoft Office 2007) provided by Sun Microsystems.

Microsoft have committed to supporting ODF in the next service pack of Microsoft Office 2007. This is scheduled to be available in the first half of 2009.