An ODT file is an XML (eXtensible hypertext Markup Language) based open source standard for text files, created especially for the OpenOffice list of tools. It is part of the OpenDocument 1.0 specification created by OASIS for OpenOffice Writer and StarOffice word processor with the intention of making it the industry standard specifically in mind. It has been adopted as a godsend by many open source adherents who refuse to take up the most popular proprietary XML-based text format – one used by Microsoft’s Word – the .doc file.
Since the inception of the ODT file format, it has become very useful in the realm of open source and has indeed become a champion for open source’s cause as many people did not wish to switch over to open source programs for fear of losing out on the formats that Microsoft spoon-fed them over the years.
Not only is it a very versatile file format – appearing in many revisions and widely accepted forms of the open source specifics, it is also a very simple file for the sole reason that its basic structure can be encapsulated in a single line – that is an XML file in a ZIP wrapper!
The ODT file extension can be opened in a variety of ways by a number of programs. In Windows itself, one of the most prominent ways of opening it is by using Word itself – with an add-in called OpenXML/ODF translator to help it screen it like a normal .doc file. Other ways include using the StarOffice office suite that comes with a program called Writer – the same as the OpenOffice.org suite. This Writer is an open source clone of Word and is charmingly fulfilling in its roles.
Other programs include AbiSource’s neat word processor called AbiWord – a very light and feature rich word processor. This program can also invoke spelling checks and other measures that usually feature in full fledged and large proprietary software.
IBM’s Lotus Notes also has a nifty way of picking up this file format and reading and editing – it carries over the XML specifications from the original file and formats it on the go for its own reading purpose.
All in all, the ODT file extension is a must-use for all of those budding open source engineers and software solutions experts.