Microsoft Office Binary File Formats

Last week Microsoft published the 97- 2007 binary file formats for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Drawing. They can be downloaded from here. Joel Spolsky has a very good article on the subject.

A normal programmer would conclude that Office’s binary file formats:

  • are deliberately obfuscated
  • are the product of a demented Borg mind
  • were created by insanely bad programmers
  • and are impossible to read or create correctly.

You’d be wrong on all four counts.

I recommend you read Joel’s blog entry before diving into those specifications.

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