I've had a number of meetings in the last few weeks with Universities up and down the country discussing their plans to deploy Office 2007. One of the questions I've asked all of them is "what will you set as the standard file format?" So I was wondering what universities at large were thinking about how they might prepare for an expected rise in the amount of attachments received that their users might have difficulty working with.
As you may know, the standard Office 2007 file format is the open standard based Open XML. So, for example, if I was to send you a spreadsheet that I created in Excel 2007 would you be able to open it in Excel XP, 2000 or 2003? More to the point, will your academic staff be able to open documents they receive from their students who have recently been out and bought a new laptop with Office 2007?
So the answer to the question "what will you set as the standard file format?" that most have come back with is a resounding vote for Open XML, which is great news for increasing the use of Open Standards.
The good news for universities who are not planning to migrate to Office 2007 is that file converters are available in the form of a Compatibility Pack and I know that many universities are already deploying this in preparation. More information and access to the Compatibility Pack is here.
I'm hoping that universities will start to think about deploying this conversion pack to enable staff to be ready for the start of term with new students and new file formats.