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The new Office 2010 filter in GlobalSight 8.0 for docx, xlsx, pptx files

GlobalSight version 8.0 introduced a new filter for Office 2010 documents. Prior to 8.0, GlobalSight used separate utilities to convert and import doc, xls and ppt files. This was due to the proprietary nature of older MS Office formats. In order to be able to work with doc and xls files in GlobalSight, you needed to have a dedicated Windows Server with Microsoft Office to run the conversion utilities. Needless to say, errors occur whenever conversion and file transmission between servers involve in a process.

doc vs docx, xls vs xlsx, ppt vs pptx – What is the difference anyway?

Microsoft introduced the x formats with Office 2007. In an effort to support the standards based formats, Microsoft quit the proprietary formats of the past and added an x to the end since the new format is not backwards compatible. Essentially a docx is a package of many xml files (same applies to xlsx and pptx). This package consists of files that contain information about the end file you see in Microsoft Word such as the content, styles and fonts. If you change the extension of a docx to zip (i.e rename MyFile.docx to MyFile.zip) and unzip the file, you can access all these xml files. This is the same logic that Open Office uses for the odt (open document) format.

How does the Office 2010 filter differ from the older Word/Excel filters?

Since docx is essentially a collection of xml files, no major conversion is necessary anymore. GlobalSight extracts the content from the content xml during import and puts everything back together as a docx/xlsx/pptx once the export is performed. You no longer need the Windows Server with MS Office as long as you use the x extensions. Since there are no conversions, errors are much less likely to occur during import and export.

Another benefit is the number of file profiles you need for Office documents. In the past, you needed a separate profile for doc, xls and ppt files since each required different convertors. With GlobalSight 8.0, a single file profile with “Office 2010 filter” will handle docx, xlsx and pptx files.

How to make the transition?

As of yesterday, I notified our project managers that txPortal (our GlobalSight implementation at Globalme) no longer accepts doc, xls and ppt files. I removed all file profiles that support doc, xls and ppt files and replaced them with Office 2010 filter. If a doc file is received for translation, the project manager simply needs to save it as a docx before submitting it to txPortal. This is a much safer and easier conversion that what the old filter in GlobalSight had to do to handle doc files.

I am hoping that this transition will significantly reduce the number of errors that occur during the Office suite document translation process. Thanks to the dev team for adding this support!

What about Office 2007 files?

Even though the name suggests that this is an “Office 2010” filter, it works just fine with the docx, xls and pptx files that Microsoft Office 2007 produce. If the Office version is older than 2007, it is time to upgrade :)

You may also me interested in customizing GlobalSight.

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