ODF (OpenDocument Format) - ISO/IEC 26300

What is ODF?

ODF is designed to be the default file format for office applications enabling users to save and exchange editable office documents such as text, spreadsheets, databases and presentations regardless of the application or platform the file was created on.

Freedom from lock-in to software vendors.

Storing your data in ODF allows you to easily switch your software if the current vendor changes their software, pricing or licensing terms or even goes out of business.

Access files in years to come.

With no reliance on specific software or a version of software, ODF files can be viewed and edited at any time in the future, unlike other proprietary file formats.

How does it differ from PDF?

ODF is an editable format independent of software and platform, whereas Portable Document Format (PDF) is designed to be viewed on any platform. That is PDF is not designed for editing.

Where did ODF come from?

OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards), an industry consortium, developed ODF based upon the XML-based file format originally created by OpenOffice.org. ODF has now been approved as ISO/IEC 26300.

Who is using it?

ODF has been endorsed by the European Commission. Organizations that are using it include:

  • France’s Ministry of Finance and its Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry
  • Brazil’s Ministry of Health
  • Banco de Brazil
  • United Kingdom’s Bristol City Council
  • City of Vienna in Austria
  • Singapore's Ministry of Defence

What applications support ODF?

Open source office applications that support ODF include OpenOffice.org, KOffice, AbiWord and Writely. Proprietary office solutions from software vendors, such as Sun and IBM, supporting OpenDocument format are now available.

Are there any disadvantages to ODF?

The disadvantage to using ODF is that its use is not wide spread. Users must ensure that they convert their ODF files to an alternative format when they are sending it to a user of office software which does not support ODF.

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