from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
File extension : .od* (Dokumente)
 .ot* (Vorlagen)
 (siehe unten)
MIME type : application / vnd.oasis.opendocument. *
( see below )
Developed by: Sun Microsystems , OASIS , ISO / IEC JTC1 / SC34
Type: Office applications
Extended by: XML , ZIP
Standard (s) : OASIS Open Document Format
ISO / IEC 26300-1: 2015

OASIS Open Document Format for Office Applications (short form: OpenDocument , ODF - " Open Document Format for Office Applications " ) is an internationally standardized open-source standard for file formats of office documents such as texts, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings, images and diagrams.

OpenDocument uses an XML-based markup language for the actual document , the elements of which are based on the HTML standard . A subset of MathML is used for mathematical formulas and a separate XML-based language is used for formatting specifications. OpenDocument can be supplemented with any other XML languages.

It was originally developed by Sun Microsystems , specified as a standard by the OASIS organization , and published in 2006 as the international ISO / IEC 26300 standard .


At the end of 2002, the Open Office XML Format Technical Committee was founded at OASIS to create an open XML-based file format for office applications based on the file format . The OpenDocument format was released in May 2005.

In 2004, the European Commission recommended, as part of its IDA (Interchange of Data between Administrations) program, including OASIS, to submit OpenDocument to an official international standardization authority such as ISO . However, the Commission has not given an official recommendation for a specific format.

As part of international standardization, the OpenDocument format is standardized under the number ISO / IEC 26300 as Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument) v1.0 .

The standardization of the current version 1.2 of the OpenDocument format, which among other things brings significant improvements in the area of digital signatures and in the introduction of formula definitions in spreadsheets (OpenFormula), was released as OASIS standard on September 30, 2011. ODF 1.2 was published as an ISO / IEC standard on June 17, 2015.

OpenDocument Format v1.3, which contains improvements for document security and clarifies sub-specifications, was approved as an OASIS standard on December 25, 2019.

technical description

An OpenDocument file is either a single XML file or a collection of various XML files and other objects (e.g. embedded images) that are combined into a file in ZIP format . The file extensions used for OpenDocument files are odt for texts, ods for tables, odp for presentations and odg for vector graphics. These archive files contain special entries that are based on the structure of the Java archive format.

So that the file type can be determined independently of the file extension and without a decompression program (see data compression ), the first archive entry is the MIME type of the file content in plain text and uncompressed.

Basically, every OpenDocument file in the archive contains the META-INF folder with the manifest.xml file . The manifest.xml lists all other files in the OpenDocument file with the MIME types. All other files in the OpenDocument file are usually compressed XML files that describe a document structure, the document content, the document styles and the document settings. Furthermore, multimedia files such as images, films and music files are stored in their binary format, possibly compressed, in the OpenDocument file.


An OpenDocument text file

The following example visualizes the folder structure in an OpenDocument text file:


The mimetype file within the zip file is always uncompressed, all other files can be compressed. In the Pictures folder there is, in this example, a picture in PNG format. The content.xml file contains the text content of the document. Formatting is stored in styles.xml . The meta.xml file contains metadata . For example, how many pages the document contains, who the author is and when it was created and changed. The thumbnail.png file in the Thumbnails folder shows a small document image of the first page of the document. This image can be used as a preview image by a file viewer. The document-specific settings can be found in settings.xml . Usually the print settings can be found there. The manifest.xml lists all files with the file type in this archive format.

mimetype file

The type of file is in the mimetype file (see section File extensions and MIME type ). In this example application / vnd.oasis.opendocument.text .

manifest.xml file

In this example, the manifest.xml has the following content:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<manifest xmlns="urn:oasis:names:tc:opendocument:xmlns:manifest:1.0">
  <file-entry media-type="application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.text" full-path="/"/>
  <file-entry media-type="application/vnd.sun.xml.ui.configuration" full-path="Configurations2/"/>
  <file-entry media-type="image/png" full-path="Pictures/10000000000001E800000118B5A37F3F.png"/>
  <file-entry media-type="" full-path="Pictures/"/>
  <file-entry media-type="text/xml" full-path="content.xml"/>
  <file-entry media-type="text/xml" full-path="styles.xml"/>
  <file-entry media-type="text/xml" full-path="meta.xml"/>
  <file-entry media-type="" full-path="Thumbnails/thumbnail.png"/>
  <file-entry media-type="" full-path="Thumbnails/"/>
  <file-entry media-type="text/xml" full-path="settings.xml"/>

meta.xml file

The example of the meta.xml file shows which overview information is saved in the OpenDocument file. Partially follow the metadata scheme Dublin Core (elements in the namespace dc ).

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
		<meta:generator>$Win32 OpenOffice.org_project/680m118$Build-8936</meta:generator>
		<meta:initial-creator>Vorname Nachname</meta:initial-creator>
		<dc:creator>Vorname Nachname</dc:creator>
		<meta:printed-by>Vorname Nachname</meta:printed-by>
		<meta:user-defined meta:name="Info 1"/>
		<meta:user-defined meta:name="Info 2"/>
		<meta:user-defined meta:name="Info 3"/>
		<meta:user-defined meta:name="Info 4"/>

Thumbnails / thumbnail.png file

The following image shows the thumbnail of the first page of the sample document.

OpenDocument Thumbnail.png

File extensions and MIME type

The following table shows some of the file extensions used for the various OpenDocument files.

File format file extension MIME type
OpenDocument text .odt application / vnd.oasis.opendocument.text
OpenDocument spreadsheet .ods application / vnd.oasis.opendocument.spreadsheet
OpenDocument presentation .odp application / vnd.oasis.opendocument.presentation
OpenDocument drawing .odg application /
OpenDocument diagram .odc application / vnd.oasis.opendocument.chart
OpenDocument Formula .odf application / vnd.oasis.opendocument.formula
OpenDocument image .odi application / vnd.oasis.opendocument.image
OpenDocument master document .odm application / vnd.oasis.opendocument.text-master
OpenDocument text template .ott application / vnd.oasis.opendocument.text-template
OpenDocument table template .ots application / vnd.oasis.opendocument.spreadsheet-template
OpenDocument presentation template .otp application / vnd.oasis.opendocument.presentation-template
OpenDocument drawing template .otg application /

Further file extensions are listed in the OASIS standard (page 697 f.).


General problem of standardization of a markup language

OpenDocument, as a document format based on a markup language, contains meta information that has to be evaluated or interpreted by the rendering program (“rendering”, see also HTML rendering ). This is done in different ways in the different programs. ODF is still a young file format and has “grown” less historically than HTML and the style sheets based on it . In addition, office files are written for a fixed paper format and certain paragraph and font characteristics , while HTML is based on the fact that the user determines the output format (different screen sizes and line breaks, user specifications e.g. for the font size, link colors and fonts were not originally designed by the web author specified).

The layout of Office formats is therefore much more complex than that of websites, so that, for example, a single character at the end of a line can affect the break layout of an entire document. Even within a proprietary document format (such as .doc from MS Word ) there can be display problems between different operating systems or different printer drivers. When it comes to layout compatibility, the software developers are therefore still at the beginning of a long development process.

In addition, for the greatest possible compatibility, the author of a document has to limit himself to standards that can be used by all display programs. For example, LibreOffice Calc does not support all functions and formulas that MS Excel has. Conversely, LibreOffice traditionally placed more emphasis on uniform format templates than z. B. in MS Word, where documents are traditionally formatted more hard . Authors who want to create documents with high compatibility therefore have to use several applications to check the display of their documents on different programs. It is useful to know the capabilities and limitations of individual programs.

Delimitation problem between document format and programming languages

  • Macro / script support: Although ODF defines an XML tag for macros and scripts, it does not define a programming language, document model or application toolkit. This means that macros and scripts can only be used to a limited extent across applications. However, removing this restriction would mean tying all applications to a programming language, a document model and a toolkit, which is not the task of a document format.
  • Formulas in tables: Up to version 1.1, the ODF standard did not specify how formulas for tables are to be saved. Calculations in a table therefore do not work in the same way across programs. In version 1.2 of the standard, OpenFormula was defined as a comprehensive, uniform standard.

Alex Brown, who was involved in the ISO standardization process of the competing OOXML format , criticized the fact that - due to errors in the RELAX-NG schemes of the various standard versions - there is no application that creates valid OpenDocument files. However, the developers contradict this statement and state that the tested ODF 1.0 cannot be compatible with 2.4 (because it uses ODF 1.1, which is not standardized by the ISO); as a result, the test setup is flawed.

Open Document Format Alliance

The Open Document Format Alliance has existed since the beginning of March 2006 to support the OpenDocument format. The aim of the alliance is to give decision makers support and lobby for ODF .

Programs that support OpenDocument

Integrated office packages including any required plugins

Program packages that contain at least word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software are:

  • Calligra Suite , a spin-off from KOffice, uses OpenDocument as the native storage format from the first version 2.4 (2012).
  • IBM Docs
  • From version 1.5 of March 11, 2006, KOffice uses OpenDocument as the standard format; from version 1.4 of June 21, 2005, the formats could already be used optionally.
  • LibreOffice : standard native file format for all versions.
  • Microsoft Office : native under Windows from version 2007 and Service Pack 2. The Microsoft Office version for Mac OS X does not natively support OpenDocument; however, from Office 2016 for Mac (and iPad and iPhone) viewing of OpenDocument files and the editable conversion into the “Microsoft OOXML” format is supported by an automated Internet application from Microsoft.
    • older Microsoft Office versions with the help of external plugins: Oracle ODF Plug-in for Microsoft Office supports OpenDocument import and export in Word , Excel and PowerPoint 2000, XP, 2003 and 2007 SP1.
    • ODF add-in for Microsoft Word: an add-in for opening, editing and saving ODF files in Word 2007. For Word XP and 2003, the Office Compatibility Pack must also be installed.
  • Mobile Office , OpenDocument Suite for Symbian OS.
  • from version 2.0 and all programs based on it such as StarOffice from version 8, Oracle Open Office , NeoOffice from version 2.1, Lotus Symphony (from IBM) and the "Productivity Tools" from IBM Workplace (from version 2.5) use OpenDocument as the standard format . from Version 1.1.5, StarOffice 7 from Patch 5 and NeoOffice from Version 1.2 from February 2006 mastered the import of OpenDocument - and StarOffice in older versions use a closely related, zip- compressed format ( SXW ), with slightly different award specifications

Note: With Corel Office and SoftMaker Office, the use of the OpenDocument format is limited to word processing

Individual applications and specialized systems in the office area, provided they do not belong to one of the office suites

Word processing and spreadsheet programs

  • AbiWord has been able to read OpenDocument since October 2005 (version 2.4.0) and from version 2.4.2 also has an export filter for OpenDocument.
  • Corel supportsthe import of OpenDocumentin word processing WordPerfect from version X4.
  • Gnumeric , support for OpenDocument spreadsheets.
  • Google Drive (formerly Writely and Google Docs ), free online word processing and spreadsheets
  • Tables , a spreadsheet program for macOS with support for OpenDocument Spreadsheets (ODS)
  • TextMaker from version 2006 (import, from revision 467 also export); Textmaker is part of SoftMaker Office, but is the only application that processes odt files
  • WordPad from Windows 7 (read and write)
  • TextEdit ( Apple ) since Mac OS X 10.5
  • Zoho Writer , free online word processor

Desktop publishing

Groupware for the corporate sector

  • Lotus Notes from version 8 (mid 2007), groupware and database system with e-mail connection

Reference management programs

"Reader" software (can read and display OpenDocument files, but not create and save them)

  • Office Reader is a program for reading OpenDocument files on Symbian smartphones.
  • OpenDocument Viewer , a file viewer for OpenDocument text, spreadsheets, and presentations.

Conversion programs that convert OpenDocument Office formats

  • AODC - An OpenDocument Converter , a free converter for OpenDocument text files and spreadsheets. (The program does not require or any other office application with OpenDocument support.)
  • LaTeX2html , TeX4ht , Writer2LaTeX , converter for LaTeX

Additional software with OpenDocument functions

  • Beagle 0.2, desktop full-text search engine of the Gnome project. Indexes and allows searching in OpenDocument files.
  • eZ Publish , an enterprise content management system with built-in OpenDocument import and export.
  • FreeMind , a program for creating mind maps with an export filter for OpenDocument text.
  • An unofficial plug-in for the OpenDocument formats is available for Google Desktop .
  • Inkscape , free vector-based graphics and drawing program, currently only exports OpenDocument graphics.
  • PEAR :: OpenDocument , a PHP package to read, create or modify OpenDocument files.
  • PhpMyAdmin , a free PHP application for the administration of MySQL databases, which allows exporting to the OpenDocument format.
  • Qt , a platform-independent class library for programming graphical user interfaces, allows writing of OpenDocument text files.
  • TYPO3 , a content management system with support for OpenDocument text.
  • WebODF , JavaScript library to support the representation of ODF in web and mobile applications

Use of the OpenDocument format in public bodies


Misiones is one of 23 Argentine provinces with a population of one million. In September 2007, a decree stipulated the ODF document format for all official digital communication.


As part of the Bel gian G over management I nteroperability F Framework covers such contingencies ( BELGIF ), the Belgian government aims to the exclusive use of open formats and standards in external data exchange.

OpenDocument was proposed for the exchange of Office documents , from September 2007 every federal authority must support OpenDocument formats as part of a pilot operation . If this test phase is successfully completed, ODF is to become the standard format from September 2008.

However, the Belgian government is keeping the option of expanding the list of approved file formats to include competing standards.


In Brazil, ODF was accepted as a national standard on April 8, 2008 by the national standardization organization ABNT ( Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas ). Since the authorities are instructed to use this standard, a considerable spread is to be expected.


From April 2011, government agencies must use the Open Document Format (ODF) to save their documents (decision of the parliament of January 29, 2010). Regional or municipal administrations are not yet obliged to do so, but will probably follow suit.


Various authorities, municipalities and countries use products that support the ODF format (for example LibreOffice ).

It is the standard (SAGA 4.0) recommended by the Federal Government'sCoordination and Advice Center for Information Technology in the Federal Administration ” (KBSt).

The Foreign Office is generally switching to the use of the ODF format, also in all 230 German diplomatic missions abroad, which helps to reduce costs (the costs are already only a third of the other ministries). In a greeting to the international ODF workshop in October 2007, the Foreign Minister stated: “The open document format as a completely open format standardized by ISO is an excellent basis for the unhindered exchange of knowledge and information in an age of globalization can."

The Federal Office for Information Security interspersed with StarOffice on all computers extensively the ODF standard one, work across platforms and to create accessible documents.

Since the migration from Windows NT 4.0 to Linux as the operating system in 2006 with on all workstation computers, the Rhineland-Palatinate Surveying and Cadastre Administration has been using the ODF standard extensively. Reasons are the higher profitability, but also the implementation of internal guidelines that provide for cross-platform work with open standards.

The Bavarian Surveying Administration can process files in ODF format at all offices.

The city of Freiburg sets z. B. As part of the switch to Linux, the city ​​of Munich has already migrated over 13,000 users to (as of August 2011). From their point of view, another format besides ODF would involve considerable additional costs.

Since September 2007, files in ODF format can also be sent for communication with the Federal Court of Justice and the Federal Patent Court . The Federal Labor Court and the Federal Social Court have also been accepting ODF files for some time. The same applies to the administrative courts and the tax courts in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, including the Düsseldorf tax court. So far, this does not apply to states such as Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia.

On December 2, 2008, the Federal Government's IT Council decided to gradually introduce the ODF format in the federal administration in order to increase IT security and improve interoperability.

England (UK)

On November 1, 2005, the BECTA (British Educational Communications and Technology Agency) published a technical specification that recommends the use of OpenDocument for Office files in addition to several other file formats . In 2014, ODF (and PDF) became government standards. All government documents are only allowed to use these open formats.


The Finnish Ministry of Justice decided to use and the OpenDocument format primarily from 2007. The decision was made after an in-depth examination of the possible uses of ODF. Other ministries may follow.


A report published on April 10, 2006 and commissioned by the French government proposes the use of ODF as a document exchange format at European level. In addition, he suggests a legal regulation that should oblige the French administration to use OpenDocument.

Both the French Ministry of the Interior (on more than 40,000 computers) and the French gendarmerie (with 80,000 computers) use the ODF format.


South Tyrol began to switch to LibreOffice in June 2013 and, at the same time, to switch to the OpenDocument format. South Tyrol wants to save up to 600,000 euros in license costs at 7,000 jobs in the regional administration within three years, plus several thousand jobs in the municipalities and in the health sector. In addition to the savings potential, the flexibility of free software is also valued. OpenDocument is just the beginning, with more free software to follow.

The Italian Ministry of Defense decided to equip all 150,000 computer workstations with LibreOffice from October 2014; This goes hand in hand with the specification of the ODF format.


As part of the eCroatia 2007 program, Croatia made the requirement to only allow ODF and PDF for electronic document exchange by public authorities in the future. The government also announced that it would make ODF the national standard.


On June 29, 2007, the Japanese government published a new standard for e-government applications that gives priority to the implementation of products that use open standards.


Since April 2008, the use of ODF has been mandatory for all authorities.

Massachusetts (USA)

According to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Enterprise Technical Reference Model (ETRM) , all official US state records must be drawn up and stored in an open file format. Massachusetts defines open file formats as formats that are based on an open standard, are collaboratively developed, are managed by a standards body , are fully documented, and are publicly available (page 16).

ETRM 3.5 allows the following file formats: OpenDocument , Plain Text , HTML and PDF , whereby from 2007 all Office files must be saved in the OpenDocument format by default (page 18ff). The exact date of the change has not yet been set.

In an interview, however, the then State Secretary Thomas Trimarco said that Office Open XML would also meet the requirements and could therefore be used.

ETRM 4.0 now also allows the Office Open XML standard.


NATO has included the Open Document Format (ODF) in its list of prescribed standards for creating interoperability.


ODF has been a binding standard for all government organizations since 2009: for reading and writing as well as for the publication and exchange of all digital information. However, prior to purchasing software, the relevant authority can justify why OpenSource software (or software that supports ODF) is not used in a specific case.


In December 2007, the Norwegian Ministry of Government Administration and Reform (Fornyings- og administrasjonsdepartementet) decided that from 2009 ODF (ISO / IEC 26300) must be used by all government agencies if the appearance of the published documents can be changed after they have been downloaded. In other cases, such as forms, PDF can also be used.

From 2010, the ODF format (optionally PDF) will be required for the exchange between authorities and consumers for e-mail attachments.


The City of Vienna accepts the ODF format. The Federal Ministry of Justice has announced that it will equip all workstation PCs in the courts with This will enable courts to accept ODF files. From February 2008 the city of Linz will accept the ODF format and will also offer all online forms in this format.


According to an ordinance of the Council of Ministers of October 11, 2005, the ODF format in specification 1.0 for text and graphics, in addition to TXT , RTF , DOC and PDF, meets the minimum requirements for communication systems in official use.


In 2011 a law was passed that makes the use of open data formats mandatory in public authorities. Any exceptions must be reported to the President of the Portuguese Council of Ministers and their status must be periodically reviewed. In 2012, ODF was also established as the only editable data format in authorities.


Sweden adopted ODF 1.0 as the national standard in August 2008.

South Africa

On October 23, 2007, the responsible administration of the South African government (Department of Public Service and Administration of the South African government) published a report on interoperability standards in government information systems. It specifies ODF as the standard for office documents still to be processed (“working office document formats”) (with UTF-8 / ASCII text and comma-separated values ​​data as the only alternatives).

ODF has been a national standard since April 2008, i.e. no longer just the standard used by authorities and government organizations. From September 2008 all government organizations will be able to read and write ODF, and from 2009 ODF will become a mandatory standard there.


The responsible government agency has recommended the use of ODF for all documents that have yet to be processed since June 2008.

Web links

Commons : OpenDocument  - collection of images, videos and audio files

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