Is there a connection between XML and MS Office?


The MS Office 2003 professional edition and Office 2007 offers extensive support for XML. The programs recognize the extensions .xml and they also offer the possibility to modify them.


Here are the main advantages of using the XML files in Office:

  • Reduced dimensions of the files. The new format uses ZIP and other technologies to compress and reduce the dimensions of files with 75 % compared with the binary forms used in the older MS Office documents.
  • Easier recovery information and increased security. XML can be read by humans, so if a file deteriorates, it can be opened in Notepad or other text editors to partially recover the information. Moreover, the new files are safer, as they allow elements from VBA. If you are using a new format to create patterns, any ActiveX controls and VBA macros are contained in a separate section of the file. You can also use other instruments like the Inspector Document to eliminate any personal data.
  • Portability and flexibility. As XML stores data in a text format, not in a binary code, the clients can define their own schemes and they can also use data in different ways, without having to pay for copyrights.
  • Every Office Suite offers a different set of instruments. The interfaces with the user and the processes from Word are different from the interfaces and processes used in Excel or PowerPoint. Why? Because what is working for Word won’t necessarily work in Excel. The MS office programs can work in schemes, transformations and data from other providers, as long as the code is correct.


Some programs are using XML in background, and some of them like the MS Office Note won’t accept it at all. The best method to find out if a certain Office program accepts XML is to launch the Online Help for the program and to look for XML.

Ok, but what can we do if we have XML data without a scheme? The MS office programs have XML supports and their own concepts that will allow you to manage data. For the moment, if you are opening an XML in Word without a scheme, Word will display the tags and data that will allow you to transform the file to compile with your programs. For example, the author of the file from the IT department ca offers you the scheme. In the worst case, you will have the possibility to read the tags and data from a file.

On the other hand, Excel offers a scheme if you are opening an XML file if you don’t have one. Excel offers the option to load those files for reading or for assembling. For MS Office 2003 and 2007, you will have the possibility to sort the XML tables and lists, and also to add calculations and data. MS  Office 2003 and 2007 offers the same XML instruments, and you can also launch the instruments from other locations. Practically, you can use any XML file from any computer that has MS Office.


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