Earlier today, the Office team announced that Microsoft will expand the range of formats supported in the Office suite. In addition to the range of formats already supported in the product, support for XPS, PDF, ODF and ISO/IEC 29500 (OOXML) will be added. Plus, we'll be working closely with the community to ensure robust, consistent and interoperable implementations across a broad range of products.
From the press release:
"Consistent with its interoperability principles, in which the company committed to work with others toward robust, consistent and interoperable implementations across a broad range of widely deployed products, the company has also announced it will be an active participant in the future evolution of ODF, Open XML, XPS and PDF standards."
From the XPS perspective this is significant news.
The ability to save directly to XPS from within Office 2007 has always been available as a separate add-in, with this announcement support for XPS will be integrated into the product along with the other formats supported. With XPS supported within the product, deployment of XPS-based workflow's and dedicated applications that build on top of the Office platform are simplified — there's no need to separately install the add-in or special case circumstances where the add-in hasn't been installed. Also users can have confidence that the capability is available without requiring network access to download the add-in.
The announcement also represents another step in our initiative to support interoperability and open standards and is consistent with our ongoing commitment to the XPS format and to working across industry to provide a formal standardized format that anyone can implement with complete confidence.
To quote one source: Nice 🙂