What isOpen XML

Open XML is a file format developed by Microsoft that uses XML to encode and store data. It is now the standard document format used for Microsoft Office since Office 2007. The Open XML format is defined by ECMA (ECMA 376) and is a collection of files and folders.

Why Open XML is Used?

The primary advantage of the Open XML format is that it enables easier modification of different parts of the document because they are stored in separate files, making it simpler to manage and customize the content. This is in contrast to earlier versions of Microsoft Office that used a conventional file format.

How Open XML Works?

An OOXML document is essentially a folder that contains a collection of various files and subfolders, including XML files and other file types. The various files are used to store different components of the document, such as text, images, styles, and metadata. This file structure makes it easier to isolate specific parts of the document for editing or customization.

Comparison with Conventional Word Format

The conventional Word format used a single file to store all components of the document, making it more difficult to manage revisions and collaborate with others. The Open XML format overcomes this limitation by providing a more modular structure that enables flexible editing and collaborative work on large documents.


What programs can read Open XML files?

Most versions of Microsoft Office applications support the Open XML format. Additionally, applications like LibreOffice, Google Docs, and Apple iWork can also read and edit Open XML documents.

Is Open XML compatible with earlier versions of Microsoft Office?

Open XML is backward compatible with earlier versions of Microsoft Office, but requires a compatibility pack to be installed on pre-2007 software.


Open XML is a versatile and widely adopted format that enables users to store and manage complex documents more easily. Its use of XML and folder structures makes it ideal for document collaboration and customization. It has become the standard document format for Microsoft Office and is widely used globally.

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