Native PDF support in Office "12"


Today’s another exciting day as we move closer to Beta 1. We are just wrapping up the MVP summit here in Redmond and we’ve finally announced another piece of functionality I’ve wanted to talk about for a long time now. This afternoon Steven Sinofsky announced to our MVPs that we will build in native support for the PDF format in Office “12”.  I constantly get asked by customers if we can build in this support for publishing documents as PDF files, and now I can thankfully say “yes!” It’s something we’ve been hearing about for years, and earlier in this project we decided that while there were already existing third party tools for doing this, we should do the work to build the functionality natively into the product.


The PDF support will be built into Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, OneNote, Visio, and InfoPath! I love how well this new functionality will work in combination with the new Open XML formats in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. We’ve really heard the feedback that sharing documents across multiple platforms and long term archiving are really important. People now have a couple options here, with the existing support for HTML and RTF, and now the new support for Open XML formats and PDF!


This really all comes down to the basic theme of content sharing. We realize that this is a really important scenario, and that’s why we’re making the move to default XML formats that are fully documented. Now we’ve moved to the files being in open, redistributable, and archivable formats; and we can focus more of our innovations around ways to act on those formats. This is true on the client and the server.


I’ve been trying for the past couple months to explain the process we use for deciding what features to invest in. It’s a balance between investing in our analysis of what customers need next, and what customers say explicitly that they need. The former is the type of investment we have made with the new user interface. We looked hard at how people get work done and what they want to do that is too hard and figured out an easier way. In the case of PDF though, it was a really simple straightforward problem. Currently, on our OfficeOnline site, we are seeing over 30,000 searches per week for PDF support. That makes a pretty easy decision 🙂 We have put a lot of effort and time into making this work well and Steven was ready to show it this weekend.


Of course we get requests for other formats too, but not nearly to this scale. I’ve heard some folks comment asking the question: “Why is Microsoft going to so much effort to not support the format I’m interested in?” This is to be expected, because every customer has unique views that we want to respect; but it’s work and cost to build and support a format… work and resources that go on for a long time. In the case of PDF (as with almost any format) it was a good amount of work, but it is a mature, widely demanded addition that will be worth the effort. Another example would be the new XML formats we’re building which have taken a huge effort on the part of the PowerPoint, Excel, and Word teams. In Word there was the benefit of having a head start with the WordprocessingML format from Word 2003. For the other two applications though, it’s been about 20% of their overall development budget, which is huge considering all the other things we are building into Office “12”.


-Brian

Comments (98)

  1. Bill Gates' mind says:

    Why does our software suck so much that we have to support PDF?

  2. Rob says:

    So in Microsoft’s view will you still be in business in Massachusetts, even with all this Open Document kerfuffle?

  3. Lionel says:

    Does it produce tagged PDF, for accessibility (esp. screen readers)?

  4. David says:

    While this is really nice and good news, I find it to be in the wrong product. Vista should have a PDF printer driver and thumbnails, previews etc. Why put this into Office, when this really should be in Windows?!?

  5. Trevor says:

    Office 12 will be light years ahead of the competition now!

  6. James says:

    David: Google -> CutePDF

  7. Anand Katkamwar says:

    Exactly what type of support will be there for PDF? Is it similar to OpenOffice, where you edit either MS Word or OpenOffice document which can be exported to PDF but you can’t just edit the PDF? Or is it something similar to Adobe’s Acrobat Professional PDF editor application which can edit /write PDFs natively?

    If the latter then Adobe sure will have a tough competition – they might have to make the Acrobat free as the reader is!! Any way this is a very welcome change in strategy from Microsoft.

    Is OpenDocument the next in pipeline? 😉

  8. steven_sinofsky says:

    Lionel asks "Does it produce tagged PDF, for accessibility (esp. screen readers)?"

    Yes we will support screen readers.

  9. Andre says:

    Well, time to retire Adobe Acrobat Professional. 🙂

  10. A.A. says:

    Nice to hear-I’ve seen other office suites with PDF-but they use a third-party solution or PDFLibrary. At least O12 will include it natively.

  11. Abomb says:

    I saw something on Channel 9 about an EDocs file format that looked a lot like PDF and was metro based. I think it was called XPS. Are y’all going to support that format also?

  12. mariano says:

    You keep repeating the word «Open» like it’s going to work…

  13. Slater says:

    Nice, now take another feature from OpenOffice.org and support OpenDocument.

    hint hint, nudge, nudge

  14. Craig Ringer says:

    Thankyou!

    You just made my life so much easier that it’s astonishing. Word, while in many ways a great tool, has been the bane of my life in one regard, and that’s that customers tend to send in Word documents at work and expect them to print them as ads. This is impractical – Word doesn’t preserve formatting /that/ accurately between versions, silently substitutes fonts, and often adjusts page layouts depending on the user’s printer. I could never guarantee that the print job would be accurate. Consequently, I usually have to talk them through installing a PDF creation tool and "printing" us a PDF. This can be challenging even with relatively computer literate users on systems that are relatively non-broken. When you have someone who has a hard time just using Word, and whose computer is so laden with spyware that it barely works at all…

    The very idea that I might be able to post a simple HOWTO on the website with three or four simple screenshots is delightful.

    I’d *love* to get hold of a few sample PDFs from the exporter, so I can run them through my test and preflight tools. I’m extremely interested to see what choices were made with font embedding/subsetting/outlining. I’m also interested to see how overprint and under colour removal have been handled (or not), how well OpenType fonts are used, and whether black/grey text uses the greyscale colour space as it should, not the RGB colour space.

    Did the Office team implement their own PDF export, or did you license the Adobe PDF libraries? It’d be very helpful to know, since I’m already somewhat familiar with the quirks of the Adobe libraries.

    Now, a few responses to other comments.

    David: It’d be great to have basic PDF support in Windows. Even were that available (and exposed via, eg, a virtual printer driver), I think an app that writes PDF directly will always be able to do more and have more control. "Directly," however, could well be through an extended GDI print interface that exposes PDF specific functionality such as bookmarks, links, transitions, JavaScript embedding, forms, other colour spaces (especially CMYK), document security, etc.

    No matter how it’s implemented, I’m certainly disinclined to complain. I also wish to note with no small amount of amusement that providing native PDF generation in Windows might well get some folks wailing about monopolies, anticompetitive behaviour and unfair bundling – even though in this case at least it’s really just what the users want. Sometimes, I guess, these poor folks just can’t win. I don’t envy them.

    James: PDFCreator from SourceForge.net is also great. It’s a free tool with a nice UI and a good installer, based on GhostScript, that works very smoothly. That’s what I currently get customers to install when they don’t have any other tool to make PDF and we need a PDF from them. It’s not fancy, but it does the job when all I need is a basic PDF of an MS Publisher, MS Word, Corel or Quark doc.

    Anand Katkamwar: It’ll almost certainly be export only. PDF is a format that’s very difficult to edit, and even harder to round-trip back to your own native format. It’s a page description language more like PostScript than a traditional document format.

    Acrobat Professional its self can only do a very limited editing job on PDF. I find it hopeless in all but the simplest of cases. For my own PDF editing needs I have to use a plugin for Acrobat called Enfocus Pit-Stop (it costs more than Acrobat Pro its self!). Even that tool doesn’t give you the same sort of flexibility of editing that you’d expect from the most basic and primitive word processor or desktop publishing program.

    To cut a long story short, expecting anything but basic PDF export (hopefully somewhat configurable) is probably asking a bit much. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to suggest that support for directly editing PDF in Office would be at least as much work as a whole additional Office application. Personally, if I want a PDF editor I’ll buy Acrobat Pro – I’d rather not be paying for it in Office.

    Even working with text in PDF is complicated. What font is it in? How is the font encoded? What glyphs does it have? Is the font embedded – and if not, how do you find out the font metrics? If the font is embedded as a subset, do you have the glyph you need to add a particular character? Do you have the font on the system so you can re-embed it with that glyph? Is the system version actually exactly the same font, or is it a different variant with slightly different spacing/shapes? Is the text even a string of characters? It might well just be vector glyph outlines generated by the exporting app based on the font. Even if it’s characters, it might well be positioned individually, character-by-character. Don’t even start on text layout variations like columns.

    That’s just text. PDF articles help with some of these, but are only inconsistently added by apps and don’t solve most of the issues above. It just gets more complicated from there. PDF is an easy enough format to write, but it’s not fun to edit or even do simple import tasks like extract text from. Frankly, it’s quite quite hard enough to even write a viewer with support for most of its features.



    Craig Ringer

    craig@postnewspapers.com.au

  15. orcmid says:

    I agree completely Craig.

    A print driver will not capture stuff that doesn’t get sent to printers, like hyperlinks and active cross-references the way an integrated PDF writer can. I also think having a native print driver is very handy (even sometimes just for printing a selection of pages for review).

    I’ve been using a PDF output plug-in with Word 2003 to make sure that the thesis document I submit will survive printing on A4 (the University is in the UK, I am in Seattle and have everything set up for our provincial letter format). Just having my advisor in North Carolina markup directly in one of my Word documents completely messes up the TOC and headings in the round trip because of normal template and option differences between our setups. That and how styles get mangled depending on the setup. I can live with that.

    But the stability of the PDF for final form is great, and I love that the integrated plug-in I use preserves everything I do to make my thesis work as a hyperdocument.

  16. Joe Clark says:

    You simply haven’t given us enough information. Saying you’ll "support PDF" is like saying you’ll "support HTML," itself a task at which MS Office has been piss-poor forever.

    What version of PDF are you exporting to? Will you import as well as export?

    Far more important for accessibility is an answer to this question: Tagged PDF or not? And if tagged, what kind of semantics will Office 12 *require* the author to use (e.g., headings and styles)?

  17. Joe Clark says:

    "Yes, we will support screen readers" is not an answer to the question "Will you output tagged PDF?"

  18. Bobbley says:

    Next thing you know, MS will be forced to support open document formats. I can almost see the blood oozing from MS’s thick corporate hide.

    I can’t think of any company more deserving to be hemorhaging customers.

  19. MS free from 1996 says:

    It is very nice to see (again) MS "innovation" at work. MS does innovate ONLY when it is forced to copy the feature from the applications developed by real innovators. Of course, Massachusetts case regarding ‘open formats’ it is just pure coincidence. So, we Word12 will support PDF format.

    This is just another proof that the whole MS is just well organized and very efficient marketing/sales company. Real innovations happen always outside of MS campus. Recent example is GOOGLE with a lot of new fresh ideas. MS marketing/sales machine is now doing their best to cut GOOGLE’s "the air supply"… like they did with Netscape (or Stac – disc compression software) or Kerberos or DR DOS … or … list is very long… MS is capable to steal the idea ( see Java and .NET C#), copy the idea ( see Stac or Netscape) but MS is not capable to be really innovative.. But… they are capable to convince the world that they are very innovative… pure BS !!

  20. just wondering says:

    It is almost unbelievable that it took so long for MS too acknowledge that your paying users (while perfering the Word format) needs to exchange information. PDF is really widely spread for more the 6 years now.

    I have a dream:

    One day Office will be able to export documents in OpenOffice format.

    Today I still can use Office because OpenOffice can read Word’s documents. But I know that one day I’ll be __requiered__ to present OpenOffice xml documents.

  21. just_wondering_MS_free_seem_confused says:

    OO is a clone of Office 97 — where’s the innovation?

    PDF is an open (and established) specification — where’s the problem in implementing it? OO did it so it isn’t innovative?

    If you are *required* by some "official" to use a format, where’s the openness in that?

    Let’s see if OO copies MS’s new UI…

  22. mj says:

    If all you were using Acrobat Pro was for office you wasted your money to start with. 90% of its features are designed for pre-press, and forms development.

  23. Craig Ringer says:

    mj: You’re quite correct with regards to the latest version of Acrobat Pro. Previous versions were much more oriented toward general document production – where Distiller was really the star attraction, and Acrobat Pro an uninteresting add-in for most users.

    Now that Adobe offers a lower-end product for PDF production, it would indeed be silly to buy Acrobat Pro if all you wanted to do was produce basic PDF documents from your applications. Unfortunately but understandably, the low end version is very carefully cut down to make it largely useless for anyone generating jobs for prepress.

    Others: This is not slashdot (though it does seem to have arrived). I think it’d be nice to keep it calm and polite. Foam, accusations, vitriol, and ranting don’t gain anybody anything. It would be nice to keep that stuff on slashdot where it belongs and try to be constructive and informative here.

    On the PDF export functionality, I saw some screenshots recently that showed a CMYK colour option in the save dialog box. This surprised me, since Word doesn’t seem like the sort of app that’d care about CMYK. Given this, though, will the PDF export from Office support CMYK PDF … or even PDF/X-3 (profiled RGB or CMYK) ? That’d be something, especially for Publisher users.

    This is looking like an amazing release. I’ve long looked at Office and thought "So what? I can’t see anything that matters to me or the users I support that’s changed since Office 97." That seems to have changed in a big way with this release – some UI changes that look interesting (and were badly needed – it horrifies me that OpenOffice copies the MS Office UI given the state it was in until now), native PDF export, and an XML format that actually looks like a real, powerful XML document implementation not just a buzz-word. I guess I’ll have an excuse to get rid of those awful lingering win98 boxes from work…

  24. Ram Mohammed Singh says:

    I have to ask was this really a planned feature as people have been asking for PDF support for ages? It just seems like this is a knee-jerk reaction to not being open and being rejected by massachussetts. Openoofice might have given a good scare to catch up with them on pdf, and this is good for competition. I would like to see what this would spur your team on to – maybe opendocument support?

  25. Ian Lynch says:

    PDF is quite a nice idea, it is particularly useful in OpenOffice.org so you need to stay competitive. ODF is a more important standard to support if you are involved with XML. Since there is obviously massive customer demand for this mandated through the EU and the state of Massachusetts it seems that MS should be resonsive to its customers or risk isolating itself.

  26. RK says:

    Google –> PDF2Office

  27. Frank Daley says:

    Brian,

    Your claim that Office 12 will use "Open XML File Formats" is a totally deceptive use of the term "open".

    The reality is that Microsoft’s "Open XML File Formats" are:

    1. Proprietary formats

    2. Patent encumbered

    3. Not able to be used by software that uses the General Public License (GPL)

    After decades of anti-competitive behavior, including convictions of anti-competitive behavior in both the US and Europe, isn’t it time Microsoft really changed its ways? Talk is cheap. Perhaps YOU should lead the way for that change!

  28. Richard Angry says:

    Rude comment. Openness whinge. Spyware. Rude comment. Dismissive comment. Openness whinge.

    And… relax.

  29. MatzeB says:

    We should all be very glad about the competition from OpenOffice, otherwise this probably wouldn’t have happened 😉

  30. Damon H says:

    Is there any chance of incorporating the Open Document format, as used by OO and others?

  31. eebra82 says:

    Seems like a good deal, too bad that we’re only getting NATIVE support tho’.

    ——————

    http://www.PokerYap.com

  32. Tom Bossley says:

    Big Deal. OpenOffice does that already. Real good, too.

  33. cheesybagel says:

    Adding PDF support to Office is a fantastic idea!

    As for the Microsoft Office XML formats, they will not be considered open by the Open Source community until they:

    * are royalty free.

    * are under a non-discriminatory license.

    * have a freely available specification.

    Just like PDF.

  34. Marcel says:

    Brian: I like the outlook of Office 12 supporting output to pdf. This will safe us from installing another application (even if it is a free one like pdfcreator) on workstations. Users might find it easier to use a save as… dialog than print to save a document in a certain format. One question: Will pdf creation in office include support for digital signatures?

  35. Ambok says:

    The only reason Microsoft is implementing PDF export is because of gouvernments wanting open formats now. Microsoft could ‘ve done it years ago.

    BTW: What about Microsoft’s PDF alternative ? I can’t imagine Microsoft supporting the concurrent’s open format actually.

  36. Rob S. says:

    I’m too am very much looking forward to this new release of Office. I just wish you guys would take a look at how Word puts all of the formatting in the paragraph return. Often I work on documents and formatting changes on me when I don’t want it to change when I’m trying to delete returns. It’s very frustrating. Putting that aside, I’m very much looking forward to the new UI, and I’m also looking forward to having good PDF export from within Office applications. I don’t care whether other apps do it or not. As somebody who uses Office every day, it’s a feature I’m very much looking forward to using.

    Thanks for listening.

  37. My first reaction is: That’s great, it’s about time!!!!

    Me second reaction is: What is Adobe gonna say about this????

  38. Alright! Finally, a Microsoft product will have the PDF ability that has been a native, intrinsic, part of Apple’s OS X since…2000. It’s taken 5 years, and it’s only one application suite and not the upcoming OS, but the wait is well worth it.

    Now, why doesn’t Vista support this feature? Apple has done it; why can’t Microsoft?

  39. Mark Dixon says:

    Windows Vista, aka Mac OS X Tiger is already available from an apple store near you.

  40. skeptic says:

    yeah, it’ll turn out like the internet, you’ll download a PDF made by a microsoft app and it just wont look right on anything but a microsoft app cause they dont give a crap about standards

  41. MS free from 1996 says:

    Somebody said:

    OO is a clone of Office 97 — where’s the innovation?

    Let’s make few things clear. OO never said that they are the innovators in the field of Office Tools. All they need to do is to convince as many people as they can to try (and perhaps switch to) OO Office suite. So, what are you going to do in such a case ? Create UI interface which would push away regular MS users ? It is very important to educate people that THERE IS an alternative to MS WORD. The alternative must be similar to the UI of the MS WORD … otherwise people will NOT try it

    Somebody continued:

    PDF is an open (and established) specification — where’s the problem in implementing it? OO did it so it isn’t innovative?

    Implementation itself is NOT an innovative process(procedure). PDF specification is open and well known. There are many implementations. (BTW: is MS WORD format known ? Is it open ? Ask yourself a a simple question: Why is MS WORD format known ?)

    Including native PDF creation into OO was innovative… not the implementation itself. So, MS (as usual) is playing a catch up. Like many times in the past. For example, TCP/IP stack was not part of WIN95/WIN3.11 "trumpet" filled the void … and then MS added it to Windows __AFTER__ they figured it out that their WINS communication protocol ( or whatever it was called ) will not survive. If you do not know, they took the complete TCP/IP stack from the BSD Unix and ported it to WINDOWS. So, you can clearly see, that (again) MS is NOT capable to innovate. They are always playing a catch up. Or, MP3 format was already 3-4 years on the market and then MS invented WMA format. Luckily, their "metro" (aka replacement for PDF) is going nowhere. They realised that PDF is well established format and they could not find another well established similar format on the marked ( to buy it, license it, just plain copy it, or steal it … see JAVA –> C# —> CLR). So, they did not have a lot of choices. They were forced to embrace open PDF format.

    Somebody said:

    If you are *required* by some "official" to use a format, where’s the openness in that?

    Do you mean the request from Massachusetts officials to use OPEN (well documented) document format ? What is wrong with that ?

    MS has a manpower to implement another file format in their WORD suite. They support WordPerfect, RTF, pure ASCII and now PDF.

    Open document format is really leveling the playing field. Anybody can write another text processor and compete for the business from the state of Massachusetts. Who will, at the end, win ? Customers and tax payers !! Market will decide who is better and cheaper at the same time.

    More about Massachusetts case. I have the gut feeling that the inclusion of the PDF format into WORD12 is just a minimalistic step to convince MA officials that they should continue to use MS WORD as their main Office tool. They (MS) will say, OK, MS WORD is not open and documented format, but, hey… that is not a problem… you can save your work in PDF. Everybody can read it. Users ( MA tax payers) are not forced to buy a copy of MS WORD. MS is really a smart marketing/sales company. They do their best to protect their monopoly. But, they are NOT the innovators.

    Somebody said:

    Let’s see if OO copies MS’s new UI…

    Of course they will.. Once they get 20-30% of the market ( heheh that is my dream) they will stop copying. ( see the beginning of this reply)

  42. Phil says:

    This is one of the best ways to share some web content after it is in a "Printer Friendly" view.

    Might as well make sure that PDF printer driver is there as well…only the people who need it will use it – it will not cannabalize Office.

  43. joelfinkle says:

    For Pharmaceutical companies, filing massive numbers of documents in PDF to the Food and Drug Administration (and other agencies worldwide) is a requirement — this will have a major impact on companies that may now choose not to purchase the full Acrobat version.

    A critical factor, though, is generation of bookmarks and hyperlinks from the source document. Hyperlinks are relatively straightforward: any MSWD cross-reference (PAGEREF, REF, HYPERLINK etc. fields plus footnotes/endnotes) is pretty obvious.

    Bookmarks are a little tougher: the general case is whatever you’d have in your TOCs, list of figures, etc., but you often also wish to have the TOCs’ titles (List of Appendices, List of Figures, etc.) as part of the bookmarks. A better solution is to permit a set of styles, like the TOC, that generate bookmarks… but you really want to have several sequences permitted, so that the list of figures is a separate list not interspersed in the TOC. Note that Acrobat doesn’t do this.

    Other apps? Bookmarks should come from slide titles in PowerPoint, sheets in Visio and Excel (perhaps outline levels in Excel)… they’re generally easier.

    I’ve worked on software to do this sort of extraction (plug-ins to enterprise publishing packages), and it’s SLOW, much slower than Word’s own TOC generation or updating fields, and that’s as slow as it ought to be.

    Joel Finkle, PMP

    Director, Product Strategy

    Image Solutions, Inc.

  44. noone says:

    Apple’s Mac OS X has native, built-in support for outputting/printing to PDF files, so Office for Mac automatically supports PDF output.

    Windows and Office are years behind in support for open standards, like PDF.

  45. dh says:

    Liar liar pants on fire

  46. Scott says:

    I’d like to know why it wasn’t in office XP.

    Another "innovation’ from Microsoft. PDF Support!

    (Corel, Sun, OpenOffice etc. don’t count…)

  47. Joe Clark says:

    And I have yet another question: Since OS X natively supports PDF, and Safari can natively open them (a capacity that’s been there for many versions but one that has only been enabled in recent versions), and since Office 12 is going to be able to save PDFs, does this imply that IE7 will be able to natively open and display them?

  48. Jason says:

    "MS free from 1996", like most anti-MS folks who can’t resist hanging around MS blogs and news sites you take facts and twist them to your simple mind.

    If you can’t admint innovation in any of MS products, you are blind. Please go away!

  49. I’m still chewing over how Office XML formats and Metro fit together; will PDF just be a frozen output – an efficient kind of screen grab – or will it be a tagged format that can play with the other XML citizens?

  50. diana says:

    A few years ago I was asked to do a project to convert ms-office files into PDF. The working solution was obviously a custom solution as at the time there was no such support.

    Do you know if the MS-office modules can be customiziable to suit our companies needs?

  51. da truth says:

    Steven Sinofsky and MS have NOT been working on PDF integration into Office 12 for a "long time now".

    They are scrambling to save face after the HUGE shot Massachussets fired across their bow!

    Let’s not forget that there are MANY other benefits to moving away from MS Office that Massachussets will benefit from here.

    Such as…

    1) NO OFFICE LICENSING FEES! OPEN OFFICE IS FREE!

    2) Compatibility with open standards for future document access FOR EVER

    3) No more proprietary software lock-in

    4) Faster, less bloated office suite making older machines useful again that could never run MS Office 12

    5) Better security and stability

    6) Competition for contracts will now reside on who has the best technology

    7) A future of choices that will ultimately save Massachussets Billions!

    Sounds good to me.

  52. da truth says:

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,170724,00.html

    If any part of James Prendergast’s rant above is true, then why the huge announcement about supporting PDF in Office 12 after Massachusetts?

    Brian Jones, I ain’t buying it.

  53. da truth says:

    Microsoft should be learning lessons instead of saturating the market with Circus-like hype sleazzy sales tactics.

    You only show your true colors.

    read here…

    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20050929134232923

  54. Screen Reader User says:

    This is great that you will be supporting the export to the PDF format.

    However, what I really want Office to be able to do is take a scanned PDF image file and convert that to .doc, .txt, or .rtf format so I can read scanned PDF image files in word.

    This image based PDF is becoming an issue since at least in academic circles the popular way to provide electronic access to database articles from various academic journals is to have the user download a PDF image of the article.

    I just had to go purchase a third party program to convert these images to word files.

    So come on…give me import also.

  55. PDF support, years after the people of OpenOffice did it. Wow! MS is slow and late.

    You really believe this is something that will make MS Office 12 special? I am amazed. I thought anyone could take a hint from the popularity of PDF third-party freeware converters out there. It is nice that Office 12 will include PDF support; but it is not new or great or "never seen before" like some of the comments above seem to imply.

    Visit <a href=http://www.openoffice.org >OpenOffice</a> if you want to use a true crossplatform, multiformat office package for free, as in beer and as in free speech (except for the Java stuff).

  56. Craig Ringer says:

    cheesybagel: If you’d read any of the discussion on said formats, you’d know they in fact already satisfy all three of the criteria you mentioned. The points that have remained in debate are rather smaller issues.

    I’d also love to know in what way you speak for "the open source community" as a whole.

    Sorry for the childishness appearing in the comments now. For those not "in the know" it’s been linked to by slashdot, which is a site that’s not known for reasonable discussion and clear, logical thinking, and has a strong reputation for irrational loathing of anything from Microsoft. As usual, it’s the worst of the lot that carry the discussion over from Slashdot’s own comment forums to the comments field on this weblog.

    So … please don’t take these people seriously. They’re not representative of anyone but the crowd of zealots at slashdot.

    I hope Brian will be willing to wade through this to answer the interesting and constructive questions that have arisen amid the tide of garbage. Comments by "Marcel", "joelfinkle" and "Mary Branscombe" after the arrival of Slashdot look like they have more than ranting to contribute.

    As someone who actually contributes to open source development and has a real job (in-house development + sysadmin), let me stress that these people are generally not the ones doing any work in the areas they speak so loudly about, and generally don’t have any clue about the motivations or desires of people who’re actually doing something useful. That’s not always true – there are quite enough zealots who are real contributors too – but it’s largely the case. Please don’t believe anything they’ve read into events unless you can actually verify that it’s true by talking to somebody with a clue.

  57. BrianJones says:

    Hey everyone, thanks for all the interest here! There are so many comments that I won’t be able to address every one. I’ll pull together some more info this week when I get back into the office for folks that are interested.

    In response to the questions around what level of support there will be, I’ll first say that the functionality is for the "publish" scenario. We will not support opening the PDF files, just generating them. I understand that two-way support would be even better, but the majority of the requests we got was for the ability to publish, and folks weren’t as concerned about opening them. Someone was also concerned that the PDF would only look good if opened by Office, but that of course isn’t true because we aren’t even building a viewer. So of course we are going to focus on these files looking great in non MS viewers. 🙂

    For those folks wondering about the timing of this announcement, believe me that we could not build in this kind support overnight. I wish we could turn out features like this that quickly. The timing of the announcement itself may seem a bit coincidental, but the actual work to support the format definitely isn’t. We’ve been working on it for awhile now, and it’s very far along (Steven demo’d it to the MVPs on Saturday). I remember wishing I could talk about it back when we first announced the new XML formats back in June. Most recently we announced a lot of the Office ’12’ functionality at PDC but we didn’t want this to be missed while talking about all the other new stuff. Also, while there were a handful of non-developer things we talked about at PDC, this news didn’t really make sense to talk about there so we held off on talking about it until now. For those folks that have signed up for Beta 1, you’ll see the functionality for yourselves in the next couple months.

    For those of you saying this isn’t a very "innovative" feature… no kidding! Like I said, some things we do based on customer demand, and believe me there has been a lot of demand for this functionality for quite a while now. It would be pretty stupid if innovation was the only factor used when deciding what features to build. There has to be a combination of the two. For awhile we’d felt that given the third party tools out there it wasn’t that big of a deal, there were alternatives for people. At the beginning of every project though we consider doing work for things like this since we get so many requests, and this time we decided we should just build it in directly.

    I’m sorry if you had an important question that I didn’t cover. Some of you had more complex issues, or longer comments (Craig) that I still need to read through so hopefully I’ll get to your concerns soon!

    Also, if you want you can e-mail me directly here: https://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/contact.aspx. Or just keep posting the questions and I’ll try to get to them!

    -Brian

  58. Brad says:

    This is clever – by giving Office the ability to "Publish" a PDF (presumably a Save As), they kill (or at least diminish) Adobe’s market for Acrobat Professional. This is how Adobe makes money out of PDF’s and how they can supply the reader free.

    So you will still need Acrobat Reader in addition to Office 12. Maybe Adobe will have to start charging for Acrobat Reader to get their revenue back..

  59. MS free from 1996 says:

    brad said:

    This is clever – by giving Office the ability to "Publish" a PDF (presumably a Save As), they kill (or at least diminish) Adobe’s market for Acrobat Professional. This is how Adobe makes money out of PDF’s and how they can supply the reader free.

    Nothing new. This is a standard MS practice. They made it over the years perfect. For example:

    1) they included ‘double_space’ utility for free into DOS6.22 and they killed STAC company

    http://www.base.com/software-patents/articles/stac.html

    Stac was innovative with their compress utility, MS was NOT. They just copied it from Stac

    2) they gave MSIE for free and they killed Netscape

    Netscape was innovative with a browser, MS was NOT with their MSIE. They bought it from Spyglass.

    3) they plan to get a market share from PDF marked via ‘metro’

    MS ‘metro’ is another catch up for the technology developed by others

    3) now, they are after GOOGLE

    GOOGLE is a leader (and very innovative)in search technology, MSN Search is NOT. MS is again playing catch up.

    Whenever MS feels threatened, they start with unethical steps to kill the competition. Fortunately, GOOGLE is tougher case (aka, they have more money than Stac or Netscape)

  60. MS free from 1996 says:

    Brian Jones said:

    In response to the questions around what level of support there will be, I’ll first say that the functionality is for the "publish" scenario. We will not support opening the PDF files, just generating them. I understand that two-way support would be even better, but the majority of the requests we got was for the ability to publish, and folks weren’t as concerned about opening them.

    Of course not. Why would they do that ? It makes no sense. They would make their unknown and undocumented WORD format obsolete within a year or two. Who would use .doc format for archiving if the PDF file could be opened for editing. They are not stupid. They know very well how to preserve monopoly on the market. Undocumented .doc format is one of the most powerful weapon at their disposal. They do not want to shoot themselves in the foot.

  61. Martin says:

    foobar. don’t have ms office. don’t like ms office. using OpenOffice.org and NeoOffice on MacOS X. This is great and include PDF support for a long time.

  62. RL says:

    Do you support interactive pdf documents with embedded JavaScript programms just like free pdf readers?

    Thanks.

    RL

  63. da truth says:

    Craig,

    Your arguments here lean more towards a biased support of MS, wanting to control what others say and being defensive.

    First, your statements regarding Slashdot contradict your stance of wanting to keep things "calm and polite" and "constructive and informative" since you are the one making an issue out of it.

    Quote #1: "it’s been linked to by slashdot, which is a site that’s not known for reasonable discussion and clear, logical thinking"

    Although there are alot of illogical posters on Slashdot it still doesn’t change what Slashdot itself is about. Attacking them does nothing to lend credibility to your arguments here.

    Quote #2: "As someone who actually contributes to open source development and has a real job (in-house development + sysadmin)"

    This smells of an attempt to gain credibility by claiming that you are someone that "contributes to open source development". You seem more like a paid MS shill than a constructive debater or an OSS advocate.

    If you really were in favor of a constructive discussion regarding Office 12 and the issues at hand then you would take seriously, with an open mind, the events that occurred in Massachusetts and the constructive criticisms here. You are not doing this.

    Trying to discredit other people’s opinions or arguments only shows your narrow-mindedness.

    Here’s a point for yourself and all others that may not yet be "in the know"…

    OSS is the future. All the media hype, false claims of innovation and FUD from MS will never change this. Read the Halloween Documents. Simply put, there are better alternatives to MS Windows and Office… period.

    If you want to be taken seriously, have your arguments be valid and not based solely on attacking others.

  64. MS free from 1996> True, Microsoft have from time to time tried to get a share of a market that is already more or less established. But i think you go a little to fare when saying MS isn’t innovative at all.

    I am a programming language guy, and yes C# looks and acts a lot like Java. But C# have a lot of great features not included in Java which i would say classifies C# as an innovative "extension" of Java. Secondly i have not seen innovation in the area of programming languages for long that is as big as the things Microsoft is doing with C# 3.0 and the Language Integrated Query.

    If in doubt about Microsofts will to do innovative things tage a check at http://research.microsoft.com/

  65. anon says:

    Brian, you are the king of FUD.

    PDF = Massachusetts oriented move.

    It was planned a while ago, you wrote it a while back, and you are bringing it now that you are trying to make Massachusetts reconsider their decision (PDF is one of the two open document file formats being considered). That’s it, don’t lie.

    It’s just as much FUD talking about it now, than the Excel PM guy talking about the big breaking changes that are in Excel 12 and that will make people lose their hair when they see the effect on previous Excel versions.

    I wonder on what you are competing, on backwards compatibility? No, if you want to do that, just provide your converter to Office 97 as well. On features? Hell no, PDF is a bit old a feature for a word processor (just like IE’s proper support for CSS). On customer requests? it took more than one year for you to release a service pack where it is clearly documented that there are many blocking bugs that have been fixed. Give me a break. Blocking bugs require a service pack 3 shortly after the ship date not one year and a half. On Xml/SOA/business document interchange? Hell no, there are domain space specs for compliance/vertical markets and that kind of stuff. Who freaking cares about a .doc(x) document format while plain text or plain RTF would suffice in most cases, not to mention simple XML. On licensing? just like the Xml licensing changes that occurred a while ago : previously a third party application would only be granted the right to READ such Xml file. And you made a change to it to allow WRITE as well, only to try to comply with Massachusetts, not to make XML available for the "masses" because of the so-called general benefits of XML over binary formats. That said, only an ignorant person thinks XML is not a binary format.

    All in all, FUD FUD FUD.

  66. Craig Ringer says:

    brad: This product:

    http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobatstd/main.html

    is where Adobe will feel the sting. It’ll take a long while for this new version to filter through the market, though, and it’s only Office. I’d be shocked if Acrobat Pro was even affected in the slightest.

    "Da truth": You have a point, in that my comments on Slashdot did rather fail to take my own advice. Your implications about my involvement and reasons are, however, entirely inaccurate. In terms of claiming to contribute to OSS, well, that’s because I do. I have spent an apalling amount of time working on Scribus, which can be trivially verified by looking at the bug tracker and CVS changelog. I also submit occasional fixes and improvements to many of the tools I use day to day. I’ve recently worked on lprof and rewritten the unicode string handling in python-qt4. If you read my other comments in this weblog, I think you’ll find that the shill accusation is also absurd – Microsoft would have to be very, very stupid to pay me to poke at their licensing arrangements. Also, you don’t want to see what I’ve written about MS Publisher elsewhere … at least not in polite company 😉 .

    Not everybody who disagrees with you has sinister motives or is paid to.

    As for credibility, I have only what I’ve written and what I do to stand on. I care much less about whether people find me credible than whether they find my comments useful and get something out of them.

    I probably came on a bit strong in my previous comment. I’m just sick of being lumped in with the loud, impolite, zealot-like extremists that seem to make so much noise about OSS in all the wrong places and all the wrong ways. It makes it increasingly hard to express any comment to do with open source or the GPL without being written off as being one of them. Many people outside the OSS community percieve the whole bunch as foaming zealots, in no small part because of these people. It’s not helped by some of the behaviour like that seen on this weblog.

    You’re also quite right that slashdot isn’t all bad. It depends a lot on the story, and how much it brings the nuts out of the woodwork. I’ve seen some very interesting, useful, and informative discussion on slashdot, and even constructive criticisim. I usually say "wow" when I see it, though.

    I do take the constructive criticism I see here seriously. Not that it matters, since I’m hardly someone in a possition to do anything about it. I found the comments on screen readers, InfoPath, etc rather interesting, for example. I’ve tried to contribute usefully where I can too, such as explaining why PDF import would be a considerable challenge. (Yes, I know there are tools to do it. AFAIK They’re all "best effort" importers, ie they won’t round-trip data they don’t understand, and they all have some major limitations.)

    Most of what I’m seeing, however, is ranting and raving. Fuming about innovation or who did what first doesn’t gain anybody anything. Claiming that this feature is "late" isn’t really useful either – sure, it’d be nice if it’d been in a much earlier version of Office, but it’s hard to claim it’s late when it was never given a planned date. Ranting about conspiracies and making accusations about "embrace and extend" doesn’t gain anyone anything, especially when in this case it makes little sense for MS to do so (they’d just have a broken exporter nobody uses, like for HTML, and gain nothing by it except pissed off customers.). Asking about OpenDocument is really just repetitive, and something Brian has already said he’ll address.

    Anyway, I’ll stop worsening the signal/noise ratio around here and shut up until there’s something more I can say that’s actually relevant to the topic at hand. Sorry for the noise, folks.

  67. Daniel says:

    Lucky we Apple and Office 2004 users. We can enjoy native PDF support today and for a many days. 🙂

  68. Thomas says:

    I highly appresiate this step from MS, as PDF is THE format to publish anything to our customers.

    Comming from an ECM/Archiving vendor, one next question immediately pop-up in my mind.

    Will MS support the recent approved PDF/A format, which is suitable for long term archival?

    Around the same area, some additional questions:

    * Support of PDF for Publishing (PDF/X)?

    * Which PDF format (1.4 or 1.6)

    * Will it be Office 12 only or available for other windows apps as well?

    * Will the format be customizable at output (aka embed all fonts, not JScript, …)

  69. Christopher says:

    Acrobat PDF might be fine for a tax return, but the shortcomings of Adobe when it comes to gamut such as AdobeRGB (D65 fiasco)and dynamic range unsuitable for HDR applications, I would rather stick to an application that’s scRGB capable, and does not degrade originals. Also RAW camera support for cameras like the Sigma D10 or the PhaseOne P45 is as much in the mind of Adobe folks as 64-bit editions of Windows was to them in Dec. 2002. Furthermore the cost of Acrobat Distiller is an other barrier to document exchange or collabarative use.

    Besides the fact that Adobe dropped OS support for MS-DOS a few years back, never had support for ubiquitous platforms such as s/390 (MVS, etc…), Acrobat Reader still seems unable to gracefully behave when launching PDFs from slower websites.

  70. cheesybagel says:

    Craig Ringer: About Microsoft Office XML licensing. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. I have done a cursory read at the licensing, which I will read in more detail later.

    For those who do not know already, the patent license is at:

    http://www.microsoft.com/mscorp/ip/format/xmlpatentlicense.asp

    So far it seems reasonable, with the following exceptions:

    "You are not licensed to sublicense or transfer your rights."

    What if Microsoft goes bankrupt or the license site goes down? This format may be in use in 80 years, long after we are all dead. OSS licenses are transmissible and non-exclusive for this reason.

    "By way of clarification of the foregoing, given the unique role of government institutions, end users will not violate this license by merely reading government documents that constitute files that comply with the Microsoft specifications for the Office Schemas, or by using (solely for the purpose of reading such files) any software that enables them to do so. The term "government documents" includes public records."

    Why not just simply say, "end users will not violate this license by merely reading documents etc?". Why restrict it for government documents? It seems to imply a certain lack of good faith on the part of Microsoft to my untrained eye.

    The rest of the license seems good, but I am not a lawyer.

    To the persons decrying how OO.org is inferior:

    Before Microsoft Word was around, there was Wordperfect. Before that, there was Wordstar. Excel competed with Lotus 1-2-3, which competed with Visicalc, etc.

    OO.org may seem inferior to you now, much like Microsoft Word was inferior to Wordperfect at a time. At the rate OO.org is improving, it is already a competitor to Microsoft Word in a large segment and, to the best of my knowledge, included many features before Microsoft Office did, including XML file format, and PDF export. I have used both Microsoft Office and OO.org and they both have their technical upsides and downsides, even if you ignore cost, but OO.org is improving at a faster rate.

  71. David Farning says:

    >>I’ve been trying for the past couple months to explain the process we use for deciding what features to invest in. It’s a balance between investing in our analysis of what customers need next, and what customers say explicitly that they need.<<

    It would seem that a customer, the state of Mass, is explicitly saying that they need the ability to store documents in the OpenDocument format.

    Could you explain where, in your analysis, it is bad to add that feature? I believe that your only analysis for not adding the feature comes from marketing(you will lose lock in) and legal(don’t have any ip encumbrances).

    I you get a chance, listen to

    http://www.softwaregarden.com/cgi-bin/oss-sig/wiki.pl?OpenFormatMeetingSept2005

    In particular listen for Microsoft’s reps Stuart McKee and Bryan Berg. Do they sound like they are trying to meet their customers needs? Or do they sound like they are searching for methods of preventing a customer from switching to a competitors product. Listen closely for the exchange about the legality of body that wrote the mandate.

    I’m afraid that you are going to have to do a lot of blogging to convince me, and others, that that exchange qualifies as listening to the customer;)

  72. David Farning says:

    >>Another example would be the new XML formats we’re building which have taken a huge effort on the part of the PowerPoint, Excel, and Word teams. In Word there was the benefit of having a head start with the WordprocessingML format from Word 2003. For the other two applications though, it’s been about 20% of their overall development budget, which is huge considering all the other things we are building into Office "12".<<

    This can be parsed into; our XML is ‘good’ because we spent a lot of money developing it. Because it is ‘good’, customers will buy it.

    That statement (and the attitude behind it) sound a lot like what we were hearing from IBM a few decades ago. You might want to ask your boss about how he provided a small, nimble, and inexpensive solution that brought IBM to it’s knees.

  73. BrianJones says:

    I think you’re reading that wrong David. What it’s saying is that our XML is good because the average customer won’t notice the difference. This is the key factor. We had to make sure that for the average end user, there was no effect. No lost functionality. No annoying conversion layer.

    That’s why this is so awesome. We’re converterting all these legacy documents into XML so that anyone that wants to develop; archive; interrogate; generate; etc. is free to do so. At the same time we’re making it so that the average end user doesn’t even have to think about it. On top of that, we’re providing this for free to all users of Office 2000, XP, and 2003! That’s huge.

    In response to everyone else, I’ve tried to comb through and collect all the questions related to the PDF support that folks submitted. I’m writing up replies and hope to have a new post later today.

    -Brian

  74. da truth says:

    My intentions are not to get off topic here, but since I do not believe that there has been a valid topic established yet, I will address the following issue first…

    Brian,

    Please stop the cheap salesman tactics!

    Using words like "awesome" and "huge" only show that you are trying to sell us all on PDF support in Office 12 when this is about a technical issue and the ability for everyone to have access to information through an Open Document format. Something MS has never cared about until they got a spanking from Massachusetts. Now yourself and Microsoft expect us to believe that this is an exciting new feature for Office 12 that we all should embrace? Please.

    Quote from Brian:

    "On top of that, we’re providing this for free to all users of Office 2000, XP, and 2003! That’s huge."

    This in not huge! OpenOffice and many other alternatives have has this option FREE TO ALL since their inceptions! This is neither "huge" nor innovative and MS can neither take credit or claim innovation here because it’s simply false and misleading.

    Typical MS… trying to save face after a huge blunder when you should be licking your wounds and learning a lesson!

    People are not stupid and we are waking up to the alternatives such as Linux and OpenOffice.org.

    Alternatives that benefit mankind, not a greedy corporation or a cheap salesman.

  75. Juewettb says:

    The ability to generate pdf files from any application has been available in MAC OS X since it’s debut. Will the inclusion of pdf capability have any impact on the MAC version of Office?

    juewett

  76. "We must keep up with the innovative features of Open Office – even if it’s several years late!"

    -Bill Gates

  77. Bill Gates says:

    "I’ve always said that the Open Source movement will send us into bankruptcy! Adding the ability to export to PDF was a no-brainer. After all, it’s been in Open Office for at least five years!"

    -Bill Gates

  78. Gyxer says:

    Wow, do you want a pat on the back for being able to export into PDF format and not adding in support to actually edit PDFs? I feel sorry for "Andre", who thinks he’s going to be able to retire Adobe Acrobat Professional. If you really listen to customers why don’t you include OpenDocument support? If you were a program manager in my company I’d fire you.

  79. Allen says:

    I am using Zeon DocuCom PDF Driver for years in PDF converting from Office. Seems it has much better creating speed than Adobe Acrabat. I am just wondering it might be the right time to have PDF free and open to everybody.

  80. Golodh says:

    Whilst direct support for PDF output is certainly nice, it’s also available as a workaround using Adobe’s PDF generators, disguised as … printerdrivers. And as others mention … pdf import capabilities also existed already. So it doesn’t add anything fundamental, and really doesn’t seem anything to get "excited" about.

    To me the main point is that the world seems to be moving to the OpenDocument format, which Microsoft can elect to either support or not support. Microsofts arguments that their format ought to be the standard have failed to gain acceptance, and this time round the users decided on a standard instead of the manufacturers.

    Unless Microsoft want to take the position that it knows better than its customers what is good for them, it will stop moaning, quietly implement OpenDocument capability in Office, and continue to sell its products. Albeit in a somewhat more competitive market.

  81. John Micheal says:

    While PDF support is nice to have as long as it is 100% compliant, I don’t think it goes far enough. Governments today are under increasing pressure to manage well and control costs.

    The Open Document Format adopted by Massachusetts brings an extremely attractive ROI to the table for the citizens of this state. They have crunched the numbers in minute detail and there can be little question about the outcome – Massachusetts will save a ton of money for us, the taxpayers.

    This is responsible government, pure and simple and it is far too rarely seen today.

    I am a little frustrated with Microsoft for choosing to withold support for the Open Document Format adopted by the state of Massachusetts. It seems to me that adoption of this format by Microsoft is a win/win situation – Massachusetts (and any other states that adopt the Open Document Format in the future) would then have the tried and true Office suite available to them as they always have in the past. By choosing to withold support for this technically excellent document format, Microsoft almost seems to be shooting itself in the foot and I am disappointed at this.

    Microsoft should innovate and lead the pack, not lag behind as it has been doing for years with Internet Explorer, IIS and now with support for Open Document. Some of us want to do business with the state of Massachusetts and if Microsoft won’t help us, Sun Microsystems will.

    Just my opinion.

    JM

  82. Sean DALY says:

    > We’ve had accessible formats for a long time (RTF, HTML, etc.)

    > We’ve really heard the feedback that sharing documents

    > across multiple platforms and long term archiving are

    > really important. People now have a couple options here,

    > with the existing support for HTML and RTF

    For many years, the Microsoft RTF standard was the most reliable way to share formatted text documents between platforms, including Word for Windows and Word for Mac. I personally used it to archive several dozen Multimate Advantage II documents I created while working on Wall Street in the late 1980s; in the early 1990s, I read my documents into Word for Windows 2.0 and wrote to RTF. Good thing I did, too, since the Multimate import filters disappeared for good after the next version of Word (6.0).

    I find it interesting to study why RTF is off the radar today – after all, is it not a standard independent of the software which reads or writes it? Couldn’t it serve as a "bridge" format in conversions, or for long-term archiving? After many years, it is still in wide use today; it is the default format of WordPad in Windows – so where does it stand?

    Sadly, RTF is not a reliable standard. Why? Because its main purpose seems to be to provide seamless compatability between versions and OS platforms of Microsoft Word itself. It is routinely updated with every new version of Microsoft Word. It has never been proposed to ANSI or the ISO or any other standards group for peer review. It is 100% Microsoft.

    As it happens, the specification documentation is a minefield for anyone outside Microsoft who dares implement RTF support:

    * The latest version of the specification documentation, 1.8 of April 2004, is only available at http://www.microsoft.com as an executable download. It is not available online in any other format, including HTML. It will not run on a non-x86, non-Windows computer.

    * The executable proposes an obligatory EULA which contains the following text:

    – "1.4 License Grant for Documentation. The documentation that accompanies the Software is licensed for internal, non-commercial reference purposes only."

    – "3. RESERVATION OF RIGHTS AND OWNERSHIP. …Microsoft or its suppliers own the title, copyright, and other intellectual property rights in this Software…"

    – "17. ENTIRE AGREEMENT; SEVERABILITY. …To the extent the terms of any Microsoft policies or programs for support services conflict with the terms of this EULA, the terms of this EULA shall control…"

    * The document itself, in Word format, contains the following text:

    "No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), or for any purpose, without the express written permission of Microsoft Corporation."

    It is easy to understand how RTF support both inside and outside of Microsoft is chaotic, with arbitrary updates, vendor-specific technical requirements, and legal restrictions such as these.

    As an example of data interchange, I am afraid Microsoft RTF falls flat.

    It is not too late to seek to make this standard reliable, by proposing it to the ISO – the way Adobe has done with PDF.

    Sean DALY.

  83. Nnyan says:

    This is so funny it borders on stupidity. So MS is listening to feedback eh? So it basically takes 5+ years for MS to start thinking about giving its customers the features they ask for? How long have the majority of MS Office users been asking for PDF support? YEARS.

    Now the ONLY reason MS is even thinking of adding PARTIAL PDF support is b/c the MA gambit failed and they are trying to get in the back door. Listening to customers….really? Who do you think you are fooling?

    As part of a Fortune 1000 company let me tell you that we stopped beating to the MS drum a long time ago. Our new basic workstation install does not include Office but Open Office. Its not perfect but then neither is MS Office. Thousands of our users are on OO and we’re happy, productive and supported.

  84. Eitan says:

    Brian:

    Great! MS is supporting PDF in the year 2005! Microsoft is truely "innovative" – a technology leader. I don’t care what people say anymore. You know, things like Microsoft is only a marketing company and its idea of innovation is buying, integrating, dominating and calling it "innovation". This selfishless act of embracing PDF is solid proof that Microsoft really cares about its customers needs rather than its customers money.

    With this feature, Microsofts custumers’ finally have a choice. They can openly choose which file format they want to author in and share with others and not be so rude as to force others to spend money on a product they may not want in order to read, edit and exchange documents.

    Um, did you say Office 12 was going to be able to edit PDF files?

  85. BrianJones says:

    I’ve put up another post answering the first few questions that folks have been asking. I’ve counted about 15-20 basic topics that folks have been interested in so I’ll try to get to all of those over the next week or two.

    Here’s the latest post: http://blogs.msdn.com/brian_jones/archive/2005/10/04/476997.aspx

    I’m also going to close down comments on this post and move the discussion onto the more specific topics. There are so many comments on this specific post at this point that it’s hard to keep up with them all. There have been some great questions; some rather funny pokes at me and Microsoft; and some confusion, so hopefully we can clear everything up over the next couple weeks.

    -Brian

  86. BrianJones says:

    Hey folks, Cyndy Wessling is now blogging on all the details of the PDF support coming in Office ’12’: http://blogs.msdn.com/cyndy_wessling/archive/2005/10/08/478419.aspx

    -Brian

  87. The other day, when I talked about how I was Approaching linguiticalishnessality, a comment from Thierry…

  88. About 8 months ago we announced to our MVPs that we would provide PDF publish support natively in the…

  89. Steven

    Sinofsky (SVP, Office) announced Saturday that Office

    12 will have native PDF support.

  90. Kevin Tunis says:

    Some links to blogs about Microsoft Office 12 Excel (RSS) Brian Jones (RSS) Owen Braun: OneNote 12 (RSS)

  91. I seem to have become a top search engine result for queries for a Microsoft Publisher Viewer. The bad…