Sun Plug-in Brings ODF Support to Microsoft Office
Review: Sun's ODF plug-in can play an important role in broadening interoperability between OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Office.Sun Microsystems ODF Plug-in for Microsoft Office wont usher in an era of universal document interoperability, but eWEEK Labs believes it is the best option currently available for adding Open Document Format support to Offices massive installed base. The plug-in, which Sun debuted on July 4 in the form of a freely downloadable 30MB installation package, enables users to read, edit and save ODF-formatted word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation documents using the 2000, XP, and 2003 versions of Microsoft Office. Unlike the Microsoft-sponsored Open XML/ODF Translator project, the Excel and PowerPoint components of which are still in development, Suns freely-downloadable ODF Plug-in is a bona fide shipping productcomplete with optional paid support from Sun. Also in contrast to the Microsoft-sponsored translator, which was developed from scratch and uses XSLT, a language for transforming XML documents into other XML documents, Suns plug-in is backed by proven document conversion code from OpenOffice.org. However, file conversion with Suns ODF plug-in works differently than in OpenOffice.org, as the plug-ins import and export filters work with Offices built-in text converter to get the job done, yielding slightly different results than when I used OpenOffice.orgs converter alone.
Overall, I found file conversion in Word, Excel and PowerPoint to be on par with the document conversion in OpenOffice.org, but, as with OpenOffice.org, conversion isnt perfect. I did run into slight, yet noticeable, formatting issues. For instance, one of the ODF presentation documents I opened, modified and saved as a PowerPoint file lost some of its shaded regions in the translation. When I saved the same modified presentation in ODF format, the shading stayed, but the document came through with some misaligned text.