News

Tool Checks for 'Custom XML' in Word Files

Microsoft's court loss to i4i LP has spawned a make-shift tool to check for patent-infringing technology in Word files.

The free tool can be used to scan .DOCX and .DOCM Word files. It generates a log file that lists "custom XML" code references in the Word files. The unsupported tool is described by Gray Knowlton, a Microsoft product management team leader for Office developers, and it can be downloaded at his blog page here.

Custom XML is a term used by Microsoft to describe user-defined schemas in XML, according to the inventor of the technology, Michel Vulpe, founder and CTO of i4i. Microsoft was enjoined from selling copies of Office 2007 and Office 2003 that use this technology after Jan. 10, according to a court decision, which was upheld on appeal.

The scanning tool may be just for the morbidly curious. Existing users of Office 2007 and Office 2003 do not have to stop using those products, nor do they even have to care that custom XML code is used in those products. Those who buy Office products today however will use updated technology, or they will be prompted by Microsoft to apply a patch that avoids the infringing technology.

"The documents identified by the tool as containing custom XML markup are themselves not affected by the ruling, and require no action on your part," Knowlton explained in the blog. "What positive scan results will indicate are documents that will behave differently when opened in patched and unpatched versions of Office."

Knowlton added that the tool can be used to help determine "possible areas of impact for your specific IT environment."

In other posts in his blog, Knowlton explained that the custom XML technology can also be identified by "pink tags" that show up around the tagged content. The court's judgment against Microsoft doesn't apply to ECMA and ISO/IEC standards for Office Open XML, according to Knowlton.

"Even if Word's specific implementation of custom XML support does infringe the i4i patent (which Microsoft does not believe to be the case), i4i has never claimed that its patent is essential to the OXML standard," Knowlton wrote in his blog. Microsoft is currently seeking a rehearing of the i4i case.

Some news accounts reported that copies of Office 2007 and Office 2003 were removed from store shelves after the Jan. 10 injunction date. However, the Microsoft Store in Mission Viejo, Calif. currently stocks all editions of the products, according to a "store associate" via telephone. Possibly, there's disruption in ordering the products online. An attempt to order full editions of Office 2007 from Microsoft's online store produced a "temporarily out of stock" message. However, a check at Amazon.com showed the products to be in stock.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

Featured

  • Office 365 Attack Simulator Now Supports Attachments

    The Attack Simulator in Office 365 tool has been updated and now has the ability to include message attachments in targeted campaigns, according to a Friday Microsoft announcement.

  • How To Disable Touch Input in Windows 10

    When the touchscreen on your Windows 10 laptop goes bad, there's no reason to throw that baby out with the bath water.

  • Microsoft Previews Windows VM Authentications via Azure Active Directory

    Microsoft on Thursday announced a preview of remote authentications into Windows-based Azure virtual machines (VMs) using Azure AD credentials.

  • Windows Server 20H1 Getting Smaller Containers and Faster PowerShell

    Microsoft is promising to deliver a smaller container size and improved PowerShell performance with its next release of Windows Server.

comments powered by Disqus

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.