Word, Calibri font and the possible downfall of a government

A political corruption row is brewing in Pakistan with questions about Word and the Calibri font. We dug into the Office Watch archives for more info than simply checking Wikipedia.

A report into possible corruption by the Prime Ministers daughter, suggests that some documents were faked.  The documents are dated in 2006 but use the Calibri font that’s officially available from the end of January the next year.

Update: According to The Independent, the document was dated February 2006. Previous information only gave the year.

The issue has become a ‘…gate’ with #fontgate trending in that part of the world.

It’s true that Calibri was released as part of Office 2007 for Windows.  That package was publicly released in January 2007.

When did Calibri go public?

But it’s not that simple.  Here’s a few facts from the Office Watch archives to muddy the waters:

  • Calibri existed as a font from 2005, though it’s use was limited until Microsoft bundled it into Office.
  • Office 2007 was widely available long before 31 Jan 2007. That was only the official public release date.
  • From mid-November 2006 the final ‘Release to Manufacturing’ Office 2007 was available to MSDN customers. Office-Watch.com reported the Office 2007 release on 16 Nov. 2006.
  • From May 2006 there was an open ‘preview’ of Office 2007 available to anyone by Internet download. This, very wide, preview included the Calibri font. Office-Watch.com talked about this public preview all through the second half of 2006 in our Office Watch newsletter.
    It was a much wider beta/preview of Office than usual because Microsoft was introducing two major changes; the ribbon interface and new document formats (docx, xlsx, pptx etc.)
  • It’s possible that the Calibri font is a modern substitution for another font used in the original document.
  • A detailed check of the original files should reveal more details about the exact software used. Are the documents in .doc format or the newer .docx format introduced in Office 2007?

It’s possible for Calibri to appear in a document made in the latter half of 2006.  Not likely, but certainly more possible than the 31 January 2007 release date would suggest.

Covering Microsoft Office has taken Office-Watch.com to some strange places, even outer space.  We never thought we’d be writing about politics in Pakistan.

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