Differences between the OpenDocument Text (.odt) format and the Word (.docx) format used by Word Online

When you edit a document in Word Online, some of the content of that document is not displayed, but is retained in the document, for example, the page margins. When you edit a file in the OpenDocument Text (.odt) format by using Word Online, and then open it again in Word 2010, you might notice some formatting differences between the original version and the edited version. Likewise, you might also see formatting differences when you open an OpenDocument file in Word Online. This is because of the different features that the file formats support.

 Note    The differences you will experience when you work with two file formats are generally constrained to formatting differences. Data and content will convert, but how you format and interact with the data and content might be different between the formats.

What happens when I edit a document in the OpenDocument Text format?

The table below shows which Word Online features are supported or partially supported in the OpenDocument (.odt) format.

  • Supported    Both Word Online and the OpenDocument Text format support this feature. Content, formatting, and usability will not be lost.
  • Partially Supported    Both Word Online and the OpenDocument Text format support this feature, but formatting and usability might be affected. No text or data is lost, but formatting and how you work with text or graphics might be different.

For information about graphic features that are fully, partially, or not supported in the OpenDocument Format, see the Graphic Elements table at the end of this article.

Area Subarea Level of support Comments
Collaboration Mail Merge Supported The connection to the data source must be established again if the document is edited by another ODF application.
Content Cross References Supported
Content Equation Editor Supported
Content Equations Supported
Content Footnotes-Endnotes Supported Custom separators not supported.
Content Header-Footer Supported
Content Index Supported Multiple columns indices not supported.
Content Insert Break Partially Supported Continuous section breaks might lose some properties, such as top/bottom margins, headers/footers, borders, and line numbering.
Content Office Art Supported See Graphic Elements table for details.
Content Page Numbering Supported
Content Pictures Supported Pictures from a document created in OpenOffice are not displayed.
Content Tables Partially Supported Tables with more than 64 columns are not supported.
Content Text boxes Partially Supported Text boxes cannot be nested.
Content Table of Contents (TOC) Partially Supported TOC loses items labeled with a SEQ field.
Editing AutoCorrect Supported
Editing Cut-Copy-Paste Supported
Editing Drag and Drop Supported
Editing Envelopes and Labels Supported
Editing Selection Supported
Editing Undo-Redo-Repeat Supported
File Operations WSS Integration Supported
Formatting Borders and Shading Supported Patterns on shading not supported.

Picture border styles are not supported. They are converted to a solid line.
Formatting Bullets and Numbering Supported Spacing between number/bullet and text might be slightly different.

Spacing between list items increased to match line spacing of document.

Default bullets in OpenOffice change appearance when .odt file is opened in Word Online.
Formatting Drop Caps Supported Anchors to some regions of the margin are not supported.
Formatting Highlighter Supported The highlighting is converted to character background color when you save the document.
Formatting Horizontal Lines Supported
Formatting Paragraph Supported
Formatting Reveal Formatting Supported
Formatting Styles Supported There is an increase in the number of styles after you save the document in .odt format, and all formatting in ODF is style based.
Formatting Tabs Supported Positional tabs are not supported.
Formatting Text Columns Supported Some properties associated with the section might be lost, for example, top/bottom margins, headers/footers, borders, or line numbering.
Formatting Text Orientation Partially Supported The following text orientation formats are supported:

rltb: right to left, top to bottom

lrtb: left to right, top to bottom

tbrl: top to bottom; right to left

Text orientation in a table cell is not supported.
Formatting Positioning Partially Supported The position of some text boxes, frames and shapes might change depending on the type of anchor used.
Infrastructure Bookmarks Supported
Infrastructure Fields Partially Supported Fields that are not supported are converted to plain text.

Fields that are supported continue to be retained as fields.

SEQ fields are not supported and affect the behavior of TOCs and captions.
Infrastructure Hyperlinks Supported Documents from OpenOffice do not have the hyperlink style applied but are still functional.
Infrastructure OLE Partially Supported Objects embedded in document created in OpenOffice are not displayed. The image type is not supported, and the link is relative.
International IME Supported
International Two Lines in One Supported
Printing Supported
Proofing Language AutoDetect Supported
Proofing Language Properties Supported
Proofing Spelling Supported Areas of text that that are marked “don’t check spelling or grammar” will lose that property. Spelling and grammar will now be checked for that text.

Graphics Features

The table below shows which graphics features are supported or partially supported in the OpenDocument Format (.odt).

  • Supported     Both Word Online and the OpenDocument Format support this feature. Graphics using this feature generally appear and behave the same in either format.
  • Partially Supported     Both Word Online and the OpenDocument Format support this feature, but graphics might appear different between the formats. No data is generally lost between the formats, but formatting and how you work with these graphics might be different.
Basic Shapes Level of support Comments
Shapes Supported
Text boxes Supported Supported except for objects in text boxes that are partially supported for Word 2010. SmartArt graphics, shapes, or text boxes inside a text box are not supported and are lost when you open the file.
WordArt Supported
3D shapes options Supported
Pictures Supported Supported except for the insert and link option that are not supported by ODF.
Objects in charts Supported Converted to a group containing the chart and objects. Word 2010 cannot support a group containing a chart so the objects are ungrouped when you open the file in Word 2010.
Ink annotation Supported The ink annotation is converted to an Enhanced Metafile (EMF) image.
Group of objects Partially Supported Some objects cannot be grouped together in Word 2010, so the objects are ungrouped when you open the OpenDocument file. This includes anything grouped with a chart, and a picture grouped with a shape, text box, or OLE object.
Object visibility Partially Supported Invisible objects become visible after saving the file and opening again in Word 2010.
Object borders Supported Not all border styles are supported. Border styles that are not supported are saved as the default border style (black, solid line).
Object fills Supported Supported except for gradient fills with more than two stops lose all stops after the first two.
Line formatting Supported Not all line and line end styles are supported in ODF. Styles that are not supported are saved as the default, black solid line and open arrow type, respectively.
Picture recoloring Partially Supported Some picture recoloring has the equivalent in ODF, such as black and white. Other picture recoloring does not have an equivalent and is flattened. The picture appears the same but the recoloring can no longer be changed or removed.
Picture styles Partially Supported Borders are partially supported, but might not look the same.

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Applies to:
Word Online, Word Web App