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OpenDocument Format

Enable future proof office documents.

This page contains a concise overview of projects funded by NLnet foundation that belong to OpenDocument Format (see the thematic index). There is more information available on each of the projects listed on this page - all you need to do is click on the title or the link at the bottom of the section on each project to read more. If a description on this page is a bit technical and terse, don't despair — the dedicated page will have a more user-friendly description that should be intelligible for 'normal' people as well. If you cannot find a specific project you are looking for, please check the alphabetic index or just search for it (or search for a specific keyword).

AbiCollab — AbiWord Telepathy and SIP backends

This project is centered around AbiWord, a Free and Open Source word processor, which supports most of the features people have come to expect from a modern word processor. It also comes with features that are not present in competing products, most notably support for real time document collaboration through the AbiCollab plugin.

The AbiCollab plugin allows multiple people to work on-line on the same document at the same time. This eliminates the error prone practice of sending document updates over email to co-authors to keep everyone in sync. AbiCollab is designed to be transport protocol independent. It currently supports collaborating over plain TCP, XMPP/Jabber, the OLPC mesh network and over the service.

This project aims creation of two additional AbiCollab transport backends. The first would use the Telepathy framework. The second AbiCollab backend would be based on the SIP SIMPLE client SDK.

>> Read more about AbiCollab

AbiMacOS — Port Abiword to MacOS

Within the scope of this project the open and free word processor AbiWord will be ported to MacOS platform and submitted to the AppStore.

>> Read more about AbiMacOS

AbiRDF — Abiword RDF

NLnet strives to broaden the footnote of the ODF standard. RDF (Resource Description Framework) is one of the distinguishing features of ODF.

The project is to enhance the existing RDF support in Abiword. Many use cases which are highly user oriented are being handled: drag and drop, sidepanels, notifications, stylesheets, and hookups to Web services. Allowing SPARQL queries will significantly enhance the possibility of ODF for real time collaboration.

>> Read more about AbiRDF

AbiRDF2 — Abiword RDF-2

Abiword is an open source word processing application with advanced collaboration features. The project is to improve RDF support in abiword with the goal of increasing user adoption and interest in the technology.

The following improvements are foreseen:

  • Support for office:annotation-end in Abiword's ODF handling
  • C++ Semantic Objects which relate to common RDF vocabularies.
  • Drag and Drop to/from Semantic Objects

Presenting drag and drop possibilities, both from other applications into an ODF file, and from an ODF file to other applications, should entice users to see ODF as a solid single file container for storage and transmission of not only words but also semantics.

>> Read more about AbiRDF2

Calligra-SVG — Improve fallback mechanisms in Calligra ODF loading and saving.

The ODF standard specifies that adraw:framecan contain text boxes, ODF objects, binary objects, images, applets, plug-ins or floating frames. No current ODF-handling application can handle all of these. The standard anticipates this and specifies a fall-back mechanism by recommending to include an image representation of the object into the frame in addition to the object itself.

The image specification does not limit the formats for the images but recommends that vector graphics are stored in the SVG format and bitmap graphics in the PNG format. We propose to improve the fallback mechanism for unsupported objects in the Calligra suite.

>> Read more about Calligra-SVG

Calligra-Windows — Bringing Calligra Suite to Windows

The Calligra project is an ambitious new take on productivity and creativity. Built on the powerfull cross-platform QT and KDE technology platforms, it offers a complete open source office suite that sports exciting new features and offers excellent support of the OpenDocument Format.

The project will port a number of open source library to the Microsoft Windows platform and produce a standalone Windows installer that users can download and execute. Applications include

The Windows Calligra applications will check on startup whether a new version is available and warn the user. The applications will be built using Microsoft Visual C++ to conform best to platform standards.

Visit the website of Calligra and Krita.

>> Read more about Calligra-Windows

FLOSS-manuals — on-demand printing of Open Source manuals

FLOSS Manuals produces high quality collaboratively authored manuals about how to use free software.

Within this project FLOSS Manuals integrates the content creation platform with Print on Demand services. This will enable collaborative authoring of manuals online, and the output directly to book form available for purchase via a print on demand service.

The project wil result in a platform allowing:

  • To extend our available output formats. We currently enable output to html, basic pdf, and we have inclusion api. However its very necessary to extend this to output to docbook, man pages, and the forthcoming new scribus file format.
  • To tie in manual production and remixing to a print on demand service.
  • To build RSS subscription services for manuals.

>> Read more about FLOSS-manuals

Kolab-Sync — ActiveSync your Kolab

Kolab is a modular groupware solution being used in a wide variety of settings, including heterogeneous environments with KDE Kontact and Microsoft Outlook clients.

Differentiating features for Kolab include a security centric design and support for end-to-end encryption on GNU/Linux and Windows. Kolab is also unique in that it has no proprietary components and offers a strong migration path on the desktop from Windows to GNU/Linux and has been designed with strong privacy in mind.

The next generation of Kolab clients will bring secure semantic search in encrypted email for Kontact, the primary Kolab client, on GNU/Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, Maemo and Windows Mobile.

This project is being co-financed by Intevation GmbH.

>> Read more about Kolab-Sync

LibreDocs — LibreDocs

This project aims to develop a open web-based office suite and offer it online for everybody to use, free of charge. Contrary to GoogleDocs leaving users in control of the documents they author with it. Using Unhosted it will separate user data from the application. Libre Docs is a perfect proof of concept for Unhosted. It will help the Unhosted project evolve from a conceptual phase to proven technology, after which many more applications can follow this successful path.

There are three distinguishing advantages to applications like Google Docs. It is free and thus allows the technology to evolve freely, without generating lock-in and monopolies. The Unhosted web architecture is better than hosted software because it separates user data from applications. It is storing the data in a location that is chosen by the user and not at the premises of an application provider, leading to better privacy control and security.

>> Read more about LibreDocs

Lokalize — cross-platform computer-aided translation system

KAider was renamed to Lokalize and will be included in kdesdk package for KDE.

Lokalize is a computer-aided translation system that focuses on productivity and performance. Translator does only creative work (of delivering message in his/her mother language in laconic and easy to understand form). Lokalize implies paragraph-by-paragraph translation approach (when translating documentation) and message-by-message approach (when translating GUI).

This project will develop of a cross-platform computer-aided translation system. Currently it is fine-tuned for open source software translation and is used in production by contributors of KDE, openSUSE, and several other projects.

>> Read more about Lokalize

ODF-AbiChanges — ODF Track changes in AbiWord

The ODF file format is an open format for storing computing documents. The format is gaining support for tracking changes made in revisions of documents. In order to advance the cause of including change tracking in the ODF/ODT file format specification some office suites must be able to save and load the change tracking information.

The project is to add initial support for change tracking to the ODF code in the Abiword word processor.

>> Read more about ODF-AbiChanges

ODF-AbiChanges2 — ODF Track changes in AbiWord (2)

This is the continuation of the earlier project ODF Track changes. The ODF file format is an open format for storing computing documents. The format is gaining support for tracking changes made in revisions of documents. In order to advance the cause of including change tracking in the format ODF/ODT file format specification some office suites must be able to save and load the change tracking information.

The project is to improve how paragraph merge is handled in the ODT+ChangeTracking code. Explicitely tracking of paragraph merges. This will render many of the current existing heuristics for tracking paragraph merge situations unnecessary.

>> Read more about ODF-AbiChanges2

ODF-AbiWord — improving AbiWord OpenDocument

Free and Open Source Software (F/OSS) is rapidly gaining market share, especially in the Netherlands, where the government stimulates the use of F/OSS in the entire public sector. On its way to full acceptation in the real (business) world, F/OSS applications need to meet open and widely accepted standards. For the domain of Word Processing the emerging standard is the OpenDocument specification. The goal of this project is to make the AbiWord word processor more compliant with the OpenDocument specification.

Scope: Resolving the software bugs related to AbiWord's OpenDocument compatibility.

The produced software improvements submitted to the AbiWord community.

>> Read more about ODF-AbiWord

ODF-changes — Representing Changes in Open Document Format

This project addresses deficiencies in the ability of the Open Document format to record changes. This is deemed to be a critical area for the wider acceptance of this format.

The current capability in this area has limited scope and a number of known problems. These issues mean that the Open Document format is significantly weaker in this area than Microsoft Word.

>> Read more about ODF-changes

ODF-changes2 — Standardisation for Tracked Changes in ODF

This project is intended to assist the Standardization Committee preparing the standard for a syntax named XML Change ML (short for XML Change Markup Language) that allows for accurately describe any incremental change and edit to the content and structure of (compound) XML documents, typically in multiple editing sessions by different authors.

OpenDocument already supports a track changes mechanism, but this is limited in scope and functionality. This project's contribution will be used as one of the starting points of the work of the XML Change Markup Language SC.

The goal is to create a generic syntax that will allow for 100% reliable capturing of differences between different versions and states of office document of any class (text documents, spreadsheets, presentations), including those that have been enhanced by custom XML markup. Change should thus provide a futureproof, application neutral syntax, that should even be capable of being used to provide change tracking between versions of documents as they are converted to yet unpublished versions of the OpenDocument Format specification, using features not currently available - although this might involve significant complexity on the side of the software in meaningfully presenting this to users.

>> Read more about ODF-changes2

ODF-compare — Creating Tracked Changes in Open Document Format by Document Comparison

This project Provides an inter-operability demonstration of the proposed new track change format for ODT. There is an urgent need to demonstrate that the proposed tracked-change format for ODF works in practice. Therefore this project will provide a simple on-line demonstration of this. It will not be based specifically on ODF but will rather compare any two XML files and generate a tracked-change result. This will enable evaluators to put in, for example, two versions of an ODT table and see how the changes would be represented.

The work will be done in two phases:

  1. Generate a tracked-change (TC) XML document from two XML input documents neither of which have any tracked change within them. This would be achieved by comparing the files using DeltaXML Core and then converting the DeltaXML delta format into the new TC format.
  2. Provide the above as a web service for access by a limited number of members of relevant technical committees. This would provide the ability to upload XML files and download a tracked-change representation of the changes. The web service will be maintained until January 2011.

>> Read more about ODF-compare

ODF-DocMod — Modularise ODF 1.2 documentation

The modularization of the Open Document Format is one of the most important upcoming tasks for the OASIS ODF TC. Unfortunately it is not an easy step, as the model of the ODF 1.2 part 1 is listing about 600 XML elements about 1300 XML attributes. The modularization of these elements into logical pieces (like section, image, paragraph, table, etc.) is needed. To ease the TC's work and avoid errors such huge tasks are best being solved by tools, automating all the parts that can be automated.

The idea is to provide a generated ODF documentation in HTML that lists alphabetically all attributes and elements of ODF. In addition this will allow to extract values for attributes and an easy to read backus naur form for all 'children elements'.

>> Read more about ODF-DocMod

ODF-KOffice — ODF load and save in KOffice

KOffice has long had a strong OpenDocument implementation, the main implementation outside the famous OpenOffice. In KOffice version 2, the text engine was upgraded to support more features and to support anonymous properties inside the text engine. This project aims to make KWord ready for release based on the new text engine.

The new text engine requires that large parts of the existing ODF loading need to be reworked. The main task is therefore to make the ODF loading and saving code work as good (or even better) than with the latest stable release (1.6.3). To reach this goal, automated tests based will be created based on existing collection of ODF test-documents.

The ODF-testsuite is available with an open licensing model, but is hardly used by any vendors. One reason for this is the amount of manual labor to load each test and visually confirm the on screen version is according to spec. The second problem is that the results are open to interpretation.

The main project goal is to import relevant tests from the test-suite. This is estimated to contain around 100 tests. There will be a framework to load each test and code that tests if the loading succeeded and thus if the test passed.

The second goal after this is to make a significant portion of the tests pass, which implies that KOffice can correctly load the ODF data. This goal includes implementing features in KWord that are required by ODF.

The third goal, is that KWord as an application is finalized to be releasable at the KOffice 2.0.0 release. This includes fixing bugs and polishing the user interface.

>> Read more about ODF-KOffice

ODF-KOffice2 — ODF metadata in KOffice

KOffice has strong OpenDocument implementation, the main implementation outside the famous OpenOffice. The goal of this project is to add ODF metadata support to KOffice.

>> Read more about ODF-KOffice2

ODF-KOffice3 — ODF revisions in KOffice

The open source cross-platform KOffice suite is an exemplary ODF implementer, currently lacking some features. In KOffice 2.1 there is only basic support for track changes as per the OASIS ODF specification. The project will add full support to the relevant KOffice products, to create another strong independent implementation of this part of the specification.

Specifically, the following features are targeted:

  • Bug-fixes to fix Danish Test Failures
  • Complete Delete change implementation
  • Tool-Tip Support
  • Change Tracking for lists, images
  • Change Tracking for tables
  • Change Visualization Configuration
  • Re-factoring to separate show and record.
  • Text Layout Bug-Fixes
  • Unit-Testing of Table Layout

>> Read more about ODF-KOffice3

ODF-KOffice4 — ODF track changes/tables in KOffice and Calligra Suite

This project is about Writing and testing the code to produce valid ODF track changes according to the proposed ODF 1.2 track changes format. The ODF TC has received a proposal for a new and vastly improved change tracking format, that is able to capture an unprecedented nuance in change tracking. By creating a full blown implementation of the proposed specification in an ODF compliant suite, including the most difficult use case, the technical proposal is validated in a real world environment.

The project will also implement Basic Change Tracking Migration to the new proposed format.

>> Read more about ODF-KOffice4

ODF-Numbertext — number to text conversion for the upcoming ODF OpenFormula standard

This project represents well-defined spreadsheet functions and a language-neutral algorithm for the number to text (number name) conversion for the upcoming ODF OpenFormula standard, also an Calc extension as a working implementation. It is a generalization of the BAHTTEXT function and a huge number language-dependent third-party extensions of Microsoft Office Excel 2003 and

This is an important function for spreadsheets, but there was no language-neutral solution yet. Finishing the project will imply support for a dozen new European languages, plus document the implemented functions and the algorithm.

>> Read more about ODF-Numbertext

ODF-Recipes — ODF Software Recipes

This project demonstrates what ODF libraries can do (and how) and helps attract users to them. For programmers and users ODF ODF is a great solution, and the projec thelps by showing its effectiveness and simplicity compared to legacy formats such as binary office formats and OOXML.

The result of the project is a platform where any ODF library developer can upload its own library and benefit from this suite of recipes. Practically, such a project entails the opening of a wiki grouping cookbooks and recipes to perform defined tasks in those libraries. But instead of separating each library with its own pages, we'll compare them to perform the same task. Emulation... Pros and cons of each approach will be exposed.

The developers of these libraries could compare its API with the other ones and find ideas to improve and complement it.

Run by Itaapy.

>> Read more about ODF-Recipes

ODF-Symbian — view ODF on Symbian OS and other mobile systems

As more and more governments are adopting ODF --some of them even as the obligatory document format-- it is disappointing that no open source viewer for Symbian OS or other mobile systems exists. (Symbian OS is the leading smartphone operating system in Europe, with a market share of about 80%)

This project is aimed to support and release the source code of Mobile Office under a license like GPL3/LGPL3.

The following will be supported by the funding:

  • create an appropriate project under e.g Google Code, Sourceforge or other
  • release Mobile Office's source code under an appropriate license
  • add end-user documentation about Mobile Office as html and/or pdf pages as well as help content integrated into the application itself.
  • finish up some remaining stuff to make it compatible with some changes done by, e.g. in relation to encryption of documents.

>> Read more about ODF-Symbian

ODF-Valid — ODF Online Validator to the command-line

The current ODF Online Validator is hosted by Oracle Hamburg and due to the site shut-down, will be turned off any moment. The project will answer to this urgency and build an open, free, easy and out-of-the box web application - the command-line validator.

The source code will be contributed to Apache, as the ODF Toolkit has become an Apache Incubator project.

>> Read more about ODF-Valid

ODF-XLIFF — convert ODF to Gettext PO and XLIFF for translation and localising

Much content, both open and closed, is produced in office documents: word processing documents, presentations and spreadsheets. The advent of XML based formats such as OpenDocument Format (ODF) has made it possible to manipulate and add value to these documents.

An important part of produced content is the ability to localise or adapt it to another culture. By translating documents it is possible for more people to access the information. This project aims the creation of a filter that can convert ODF documents into common translation formats (PO and XLIFF) so that they can be easily translated into other languages.

Thus the objective of this project is to allow documents in the XML based OpenDocument format to be extracted for easier translation in translation tools. In order to reach this objective, a collaborative arrangement between and Itaapy will be forged with the objective to build a solid platform by using the expertise from each organisation and software project, thereby providing a stronger platform for innovation in the future.

>> Read more about ODF-XLIFF

ODF Autotests — a framework to help users and developers write test documents for ODF software

The Open Document Format (ODF) is an international standard, a vendor neutral and open format for document exchange. ODF is currently supported by multiple office suites such as, Google Docs, Microsoft Office, Apache OpenOffice, WebODF and OX.

In an ideal world, all these ODF implementations would be fully compatible with each other and with the published standard. Unfortunately in the real world, multiple ODF versions with software bugs and other inconsistencies present document designers and authors with many of the same problems that HTML authors face on the world wide web. Different applications may display and handle ODF documents in different ways.

ODFAutoTests is a framework to help users and developers write test documents for ODF software. Tests are a great tool to help software and standards mature, but writing tests by hand is very time consuming. ODFAutoTests makes it easy to create them, and run them across multipe products.

>> Read more about ODF Autotests

OdfKit — base library for processing ODF

OdfKit is being designed as an open source library for creating, loading, storing, manipulating, saving and rendering documents in the OpenDocument Format (ODF). Like WebKit. It provides a framework of classes, functions and macros that can be used with a toolkit library like Qt or Gtk+ to create the actual library that can then be used in an application.

Project deliverables:

  • Odf Loader and saver
  • Lossless roundtripping of documents from the beginning
  • API for manipulating the document contents. This API should follow the specification of the OpenDocument toolkit.

>> Read more about OdfKit

odfsvn — use SVN to maintain ODF documents

ODFSVN is a toolset to store ODF documents in a subversion repository. Why you would want to use subversion for documents:

  • it allows you to use all features of a version control system: all changes are archived along with change notes, roll back to previous versions, see who made what changes and why, etc.
  • people share their changes on the document through a shared repository. You can always see all changes from all editors, update your version to the latest revision and submit your changes.

ODFSVN stores all repository information in the ODF metadata, you do not need to configure anything on your system. To illustrate how this works lets examine the differences between using odfsvn and email when working on a document with multiple people.

Take Alex, Burt and Charles who are working on a proposal. Alex writes a first draft and mails that to Burt and Charles. Burt makes a few changes and mails the updated document to Alex and Charles. Finally a few hours later Charles finds two emails with documents in his mailbox. He needs to read both emails to see which one has the latest revision of the document, download the attachment and edit that. When he is done revising the document he, sends his updates back to Alex and Burt. As you see, this scenario involves a number of emails being exchanged at every step, people having to switch from their email application to their office application and back again for every revision, and no quick method to check if you have the latest revision of the document.

Now lets see how Alice, Bernice and Charlene prepare a new marketing proposal using odfsvn. Alice creates a first draft and uses odfsvn to store it in a central subversion repository and mails it to Bernice and Charlene. Bernice is the first to respond and uses the document to download the latest version. When she is finished making changes, she uses odfsvn to commit her changes to the repository. When Charlene comes back in after lunch, she sees the email from Alice. She grabs the attachment, just like Bernice did earlier, uses odfsvn to update the document. odfsvn updates the document to the version Bernice commited earlier and Charlene can start editing.

The second scenario is much simpler: there is no longer a need to exchange extra emails or for people to switch between their mail and office applications: odfsvn will always be able to update a document to the latest revision. In a future version, when odfsvn will also be available as a plugin for, this will be completely automatic.

>> Read more about odfsvn

OfficeShots — see how different office suites render your ODF document.

The Open Document Format (ODF) is a new, vendor neutral and open standard for document exchange. ODF is currently supported by multiple office suites such as, KOffce, AbiWord and IBM Lotus Symphony. Microsoft has announced that MS Office will also include support for ODF.

In an ideal world, all these ODF implementations would be fully compatible with each other and with the published standard. Unfortunately in the real world, multiple ODF versions with software bugs and other inconsistencies present document designers and authors with many of the same problems that HTML authors face on the world wide web. Different applications may display and handle ODF documents in different ways.

This project will create a service called “ODF-Shots" which lets ODF authors and designers upload documents to a webservice and see how different office suites render their documents. This allows authors of complex documents and designers of ODF templates to ensure that their documents work under many different office suites. The service works in a manner similar to Browser-shots where HTML authors can ensure that their designs work under various browser versions.

>> Read more about OfficeShots

SIPcollab — Decentralized and secure collaborative editing on office documents

Collaborative editing on documents is required (or at least very helpful) in a broad range of use-cases. Collaborative editing capabilities between peers gets rid of the need of server and enables usage in places and circumstances where it was not possible before.

>> Read more about SIPcollab

ViewerJS — A multiformat document viewer for embedding, combining WebODF.js and PDF.js

Is your website still littered with unfriendly commands to your users like "In order to read this document, you must install Acrobat Reader"? Start using viewer.js today, so that your visitors can read safely read documents online within your own website.

Users hate switching between applications as they are browsing the web. Just adding links with downloads all over your site is seen as unprofessional, lousy UX and oldfashioned. Yet sometimes all you have are a bunch of documents you need to show, and manually converting each of them to native content on your site is just not practical. In addition, more and more users are becoming aware that downloading documents from the web and then running them outside of the browser is a major security risk - in fact one of the most common ways in which people are infected with malware on their computers.

View some examples or just try it out on your own site.

The heavy lifting in Viewer.js is done by these awesome projects:

PDF.js (by Mozilla)

PDF.js logo

PDF.js is a library created by Andreas Gal and others at Mozilla Labs. It is an HTML5 technology experiment that explores building a faithful and efficient Portable Document Format (PDF) renderer without native code assistance. PDF.js is community-driven and supported by Mozilla Labs. Its goal is to create a general-purpose, web standards-based platform for parsing and rendering PDFs, and eventually release a PDF reader extension powered by PDF.js.
Visit project website

WebODF (by KO GmbH)

WebODF logo

WebODF is a JavaScript library previously funded by NLnet that shows office documents created by KO GmbH. It was started by Jos van den Oever at KO and is now developed by a growing team including external collaborators. It makes it easy to add Open Document Format (ODF) support to your website and to your mobile or desktop applications. It uses HTML and CSS to display ODF documents.
Visit project website

>> Read more about ViewerJS

WebODF — ODF editor in the browser

Aim of the project: make an ODF editor that runs in the browser.

WebODF is an innovative initiative because it is the first attempt at FOSS implementation of an office suite based on HTML5. Using HTML5 means that the code will run on nearly all modern computing systems. On top of that, it uses CSS in such a way that the ODF XML is used nearly unaltered in the program. This simplification allows us to develop fast and with little code.

This project will help WebODF to grow: to have architectural documentation, save support, simple editing support and better rendering. Also a plugin for OfficeShots is planned to be written that writes png and PDF files.

>> Read more about WebODF

WebODF-Dissem — WebODF Dissemination

WebODF is a JavaScript library that makes it easy to add Open Document Format (ODF) support to your website and to mobile or desktop application. WebODF is extremely innovative because it is the first attempt at FOSS implementation of an office suite based on HTML5. Using HTML5 means that the code runs on nearly all modern computing systems.

This project aims to make WebODF stable, versatile and easy. To achieve this, a number of highly desired scenarios are being implemented:

  1. Read ODF documents on iPhone, iPad, Android and MeeGo devices.
  2. View ODF documents directly in Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
  3. Add and view ODF documents that are stored in a CMS or web mail system.
  4. Report bugs in WebODF.
  5. View a text document as it would be printed.
  6. View a document with proper placement of graphics.

>> Read more about WebODF-Dissem