Monday, March 30, 2009

Preserving electronic data with office suites

Anyone trying to open a document created by Microsoft (MS) Office will find that they need to upgrade to support the .docx, .pptx and .xlsx. This is understandable since they are newer formats. Same goes for those opening ODF1.2 would be better off with OpenOffice.org (OOo) 3.

But for those who have been archiving documents in MS Word for Windows 1.x and 2.x will now find that MS Word 2007 cannot open such files. Yup, you wont be able to open such files as mentioned in MS website. Yup reality, one of the mainstream and widely used software provider just showed that they can indeed drop support of their own document support. Below is what you can find at their website.


Fortunately, OOo3 can be used to open such files if needed.

Data arvhiving for the Future
How to preserve such data? Best practices (none found documented) from experience, two copies need to be saved. An editable and non-editable.

  1. Non editable files, save as PDF or PS (postscript).
  2. Editable word processor files (why the need to edit archives?), save as RTF (ruch text format) or ODF (open document format).
  3. Editable spreadsheet files, save as ODF (open document format). This preserves the formulas among other complexities.
  4. Editable presentation files, save as ODF (open document format).

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