Thanks For Your Help, Open XML Translator (ODF Support For Office), Comments

First, I would like to thank everyone that provided feedback on our PivotTable questions – there were many helpful comments.  I will see if I can get a member of the PivotTable team to post a reply sometime this week.

Second, last week Microsoft announced the creation of an “Open XML Translator project” that will help translate between the Office Open XML formats (the new file formats in Office 2007) and the OpenDocument format (which is a specification developed by the open source community).  Specifically, the project will create tools to make it possible for Microsoft Office to save and work with files using the Open Document format.  The basic idea is that after downloading these tools, users will have the ability to save to and open ODF files directly within Office (just like any other format).  One goal of this effort is that these tools will also work in current versions of Office (this is possible because the tools the project is building take advantage of our Open XML file format, and we’re providing updates to current versions of Office that allow them to read and write Open XML).

The project is open source and is located on SourceForge, so those interested can see exactly how everything works.

For those looking for more information, here are a couple of sources … Brian Jones’ file format blog, the Microsoft press release, and the BBC.

Third, I wanted to address a few of the comments that came up in recent posts.

Paul Morriss  wrote “The reason I’m commenting is because despite all the good things that have been added in, I really miss a feature that’s been taken away.  It’s the auto filter – show blanks or show non-blanks. I know it can be done with four clicks, but I would like those two options to be on the menu when you first click, thus saving two clicks.”  Paul, this is back in current builds, so it will be there when we ship.

Tim made a comment with respect to chart performance.  This is an area we have been working on since the public beta was released.  There will be a beta refresh before we release for real, so I would encourage everyone to take another look then.  I think you will see some significant improvements.

John Rylander asked about using a different compression routine (other than ZIP) for our file format.  Sorry John, not this time.

Francis, thanks for the ALT + SHIFT + INS suggestion.  I will pass it along, but no promises at this point.  Ditto your suggestion wrt the macros dialog.

Anonymous asked “why doesn’t Excel just disable most of it’s UI and run the macros on a separate thread, instead of running them in the main thread like it’s 1987 again?”  The answer is the way that VBA is integrated into Office.

Mike Staunton asked “Does this affect just macros or will it freeze for all my user-defined functions – if so, I’ll retrofit Windows 2000!”  The answer is any VBA, and I think you will find a similar “not responding” in the title bar on any version of Windows.

SR, I passed on your list of  charting ideas to the chart team.

Sam, what I mentioned by “recently noticed” was the frosting.  We were aware of the general behaviour.  And by recently, I mean this calendar year.  I am a bit behind on my blog posts.