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To Word or Not to Word?

Ah, that is the question indeed. OpenOffice.org's default document format is XML (eXtensible Markup Language), an open standard for document formats (although it is saved with an .sxw extension). The main reason for sticking with OpenOffice.org's native format is one of support and portability. XML is an emerging standard, and many applications in development either support XML or plan to.

Alternatively, the main reason for sticking with Word format is, quite frankly, that Word is everywhere. The sheer number of Word installations is the very reason that OpenOffice.org was designed to support Microsoft Office format as thoroughly as it does. That said, if you do want to switch to XML format, Writer provides an easy way to do that. Rather than converting documents one by one, the Document Converter speeds up the process by allowing you to run all the documents in a specific directory in one pass. It also works in both directions, meaning that you can convert from Word to OpenOffice.org format and vice versa. The conversion creates a new file but leaves the original as it is.


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