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.