Programming tools for Office 2007 documents now available


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Microsoft has released a set of programming tools to let developers work with Office 2007 documents without the Office applications themselves.

Microsoft has released a set of programming tools to let developers work with Office 2007 documents without the Office applications themselves.

The Open XML SDK v1.0 is available from here with information and ‘how to’ over here. It works in any language supported by the .net framework.

The Software Development Kit lets you access Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents from programs. You could extract data, add or replace text and many other things.

Chances are good you’d do many of these things inside an Office VBA program but that can be quite slow and requires an Office license on each computer it’s running. A separate program using the SDK can do the job faster and without more Office licenses.

In practice, the SDK is mainly useful for companies that want to link Office documents with other non-Office systems.

The ‘How do I …‘ page is especially useful with answers to particular questions.

As you’d expect from Microsoft, version 1.0 isn’t the end of the matter. There’ll be a v2 of the SDK later this year and yet another with the next version of Office (aka Office 14).

The v1 SDK works with Office 2007 documents as currently created. That’s different from the newly agreed (but under appeal) Open XML document standard known as ISO 29500. Microsoft is careful to talk about the ‘Open XML Format’ and the new SDK and not the ISO standard. The differences are minor for most purposes but in-depth developers should keep in mind that documents made with the v1 SDK don’t entirely match the ISO standard. An SDK which matches the ISO standard might be a year or more away.

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