Norway backs Open Document Format

Norway backs Open Document Format

End of the line for Microsoft Word

The Norwegian government has thrown its weight behind the Open Document Format (ODF) by insisting that all files on official websites use the format.

However, the mandate set out by Norway's Ministry of Government Administration and Reform will not come into effect until 2009.

"The government has ruled that all information on governmental websites should be available in the HTML, PDF or ODF formats," an official statement said.

"This decision means that the time when public documents were only available in Microsoft Word is coming to an end."

Heidi Grande R√łys, Norway's IT minister, claimed that the decision would improve the competition between suppliers of office applications.

"'Everybody should have equal access to public information," she said. "From 2009 citizens will be able to choose which software to use in order to access public information."

The order states that public websites should use HTML as their primary format, use PDF 1.4 or newer or PDF/A for other documents and use ODF for files that are meant to be edited by users.