Differences Between the OpenDocument Text (.odt) Format and the Word (.docx) Format

Computer documents and files can be presented in two major formats. These are the open document text (.odt) and the word (.docx) format. These two differ mainly in terms of style and structure. The word (.docx) format is the most common and syncs with most applications while the open document text (.odt) lacks some crucial features. Below are other major differences between these two file formats that will help you have a better understanding of how they relate.

Using the word (.odcx) format does not pose as much challenge as using the open document text (.odt). The problem often arises when one needs to save or convert one file format to the other. Mostly it is the word being converted to open document text. This is what brings about the supported, partially supported, and not supported features.

A supported function is one that works in both the open document text and the word format. Using it does not lead to any loss of data or changes in format in either context. In the partially supported function, the feature works well in both open document and word but the format is a little bit different. Lastly, when a feature is not supported, it does not work in the open document text. It is advisable not to use the feature in case you have plans of saving the document in the open document text format. Other than the format being tampered with, you stand high chances of losing your data.

The collaboration features

The supported features in this case include blog, address book, reviewing pane, compare-merge documents, and mail merge. The only feature that is partially supported in this area is the comments. They lose their format whenever a file saved in .odt format is opened again in word. Those that are not supported are track changes, and Information Rights Management (IRM).

Editing features

Here almost all features from auto correct, auto complete, auto text, change case, word count, sort, drag and drop, envelopes and labels, selection, cut-copy-paste, to click and type, and change cases are supported except auto summary.

Formatting features

The supported features in this case are tabs, live preview, text columns, styles, highlighter, paragraphs, and horizontal lines, reveal formatting, drop caps, format painter, bullets and numbering, borders and shading, and format consistency checker. The unsupported ones are themes, watermark, and background. Partially supported include text orientation and positioning.

International, MODI, printing, and Navigation features

All of them are supported fully. Examples of the printing features are page setup and print preview. The international features include two lines in one, IME, pluggable UI, and insert symbol. There is only one MODI feature that is OCR while the Navigation features are document map, Go to-go back, and find-replace.

View features

With the exception of zoom, all the others are supported. Some of them include draft, print layout, outline, ruler, thumbnails, status bar, web layout, scrolling, reading, and windowing.

XML features

None of them is supported. They are OOUI, attributes, include text, tree view, external source, and merge XML.

Content features

In this area, we have diverse numbers in almost all categories. The supported features are as follows; E20, templates, and wizards, pictures, page numbering, header-footer, office art, index, equations, footnotes-endnotes, and cross references. Moving on to the partially supported, they include frames, insert break, text boxes, tables, and table of contents. Those not supported are framesets, content controls, bibliography, captions, table of figures (TOF), and table of authority (TOA).

In WordMail, all the features are supported except options that is not supported. Under research feature, we have research pane that is supported.

Proofing features

Hyphenation, translation, thesaurus, intelligent auto correct, language properties, language auto detect, and custom dictionaries are some of the supported features in this category. Grammar and spelling react in a way whereby parts that are marked “don’t check spelling or grammar” lose that property. As a result, grammar and spelling is checked.

File operation

Almost all file operations such as trust center, text encoding, organizer, HTML file format, encryption, bullet proof, binary file format, open XML file format are supported. Master documents is the only exception. It is not supported.


Here we have the partially supported features being events, addins, COM addins, and C-API. Supported ones are VBA recording; WordBasic, VBE integration, object model and lastly, the not supported ones are macros, and smart documents.


Under infrastructure, we have supported features such as bookmarks, acetate, boot-quit, help freeze dry, and hyperlinks. Partially supported are OLE and fields. Closing our list are not supported and they include DDE, data binding, ink comments, keyboard customization, OCX, and ActiveX/Forms.

The graphics

Next, we have the graphic features under which there are supported, unsupported and partially supported features.


When the feature is supported, it does not change in any way when converted to open document text. It is well supported in both formats. Some of the supported graphic features include shapes, word art, text boxes, pictures, 3D shapes options, objects in charts, picture cropping, object fills, and object borders.

Partially supported

In this case, the graphics will look different in the formats. Examples are group of objects, picture recoloring, object visibility, and picture styles

Not supported

Here we have ActiceX controls, signature line object, and hyperlink on shape, themes, and 3D picture options that will not be supported in open document text due to the difference in design and structure between the two formats.