Microsoft will allow users of its forthcoming Office 12 collaboration suite to save documents in its own XPS electronic document format.
A “save as” button will be added to the software to allow users to save files in the XPS (XML Paper Specification) format, which is a new potential rival to Adobe’s portable document format (PDF) product.
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Microsoft recently announced that Office 12 would offer native support to the widely used PDF format. By introducing the XPS format Microsoft will allow users to see what document format they prefer and help build up support for its own fledgling technology.
Microsoft said the Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access, Publisher, Visio, Onenote, and Infopath applications in the Office 12 suite will include the XPS formatting option.
To view and print XPS documents users will need a viewing tool similar to Adobe’s freely available Adobe Reader viewer. This tool will be included in Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows Vista operating system, which will appear just before Office 12 is released in 2006.