Microsoft to include native support for PDF in Office 12

Redmond (WA) - Microsoft increasingly is leveraging its MSDN Blogs to unveil news about upcoming products, especially developer tools as well as components of software such as Windows Vista and the Office suite. Program manager Brian Jones used his latest post to confirm to the community that the upcoming Office package will integrate support for Adobe PDF format in all core applications.

PDF functionality never was a matter of availability, really. There are plenty of applications to choose from - ranging from free- and adware, demos, simple commercial tools all the way to Adobe's Acrobat software that retails in two versions for $300 and $450. However, the wide-spread use of PDF apparently has sparked a wave of requests to Microsoft to directly include PDF support in office - and not just the support for third-party PDF tools that integrate with Office applications.

According to the Blog of Brian Jones, users run more than 30,000 searches for PDF support on Microsoft's website - every week. "We looked hard at how people get work done and what they want to do that is too hard and figured out an easier way. In the case of PDF though, it was a really simple straightforward problem, he writes."

Jones indicates that the PDF support will show up in the Beta 1 of Office 12 and will be integrated Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, OneNote, Visio, and InfoPath. He released few details on how extensive the functionality of the implementation will be, but mentioned that it will work "well" with the new Open XML formats in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

"We realize that this is a really important scenario, and that's why we're making the move to default XML formats that are fully documented. Now we've moved to the files being in open, redistributable, and archivable formats; and we can focus more of our innovations around ways to act on those formats. This is true on the client and the server," Jones writes.

Microsoft Office 12 is scheduled for launch in the second half of 2006.