OpenDocument Text

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File Format
Name OpenDocument Text
Extension(s) .odt, .fodt, .ott
MIME Type(s) application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.text, application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.text-template
LoCFDD fdd000427, fdd000428
PRONOM fmt/136, fmt/290, fmt/291
Released 2005-05-01

The OpenDocument Text format is one of a number of types of the Open Document Format for Office Applications (commonly referred to as OpenDocument), an XML-based file format defined by the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) in 2005.

OpenDocument Text can, like all OpenDocument files, be represented in one of two fashions - as a single XML document or as a collection of several sub-documents within a single package (commonly a ZIP archive). Generally, the extension .fodt is used for the uncommonly-used single XML documents and .odt for packaged sub-documents.


Image embedding issue

Both OpenOffice and LibreOffice are affected by a long-running bug where upon pasting an image into a document, only a hyperlink to the image is inserted by default (rather than the actual image data). More details can be found here. This bug was first reported in 2004, and as of 2013 it still had not been resolved. It was apparently fixed in LibreOffice in early 2014 [1].


Zipped Archive Structure

When stored as a ZIP archive (with an .odt extension), it contains XML files describing text and relationships and JPEG, PNG, and other graphical files for pictures and other media included in the document.

The layout of the regular ODT file is the following:

    • manifest.xml
  • Thumbnails
    • thumbnail.png
  • content.xml
  • manifest.rdf
  • meta.xml
  • mimetype
  • settings.xml
  • styles.xml

Inner files description


Lists all the other xml files that are in this document. In the event of the simple document its contents maybe something like:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE manifest:manifest PUBLIC "-// Manifest 1.0//EN" "Manifest.dtd">
<manifest:manifest xmlns:manifest="urn:oasis:names:tc:opendocument:xmlns:manifest:1.0">
 <manifest:file-entry manifest:media-type="application/vnd.oasis.opendocument.text" manifest:full-path="/"/>
 <manifest:file-entry manifest:media-type="text/xml" manifest:full-path="content.xml"/>
 <manifest:file-entry manifest:media-type="text/xml" manifest:full-path="styles.xml"/>
 <manifest:file-entry manifest:media-type="text/xml" manifest:full-path="meta.xml"/>
 <manifest:file-entry manifest:media-type="text/xml" manifest:full-path="settings.xml"/>


This is the file that contains all the text in the document.

The root element is always <office:document-content>. To get the text without metadata you go through the following hierarchy:

  • office:document-content
    • office:body
      • office:text

There you will find tags in the text namespace, that either mirror HTML in their names or are self-explanatory for the most part. Some examplese are:

  • text:p - paragraph
  • text:list - a listing that will have several text:list-item elements
  • text:list-item - a single item of the list

Each text tag may have text:style attribute that links it to the style that is defined in office:document-content > office:automatic-styles > style:style.


RDF metadata. Most often the contents are just

 <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
 <rdf:RDF xmlns:rdf="">


This is the metadata that somebody fills in to describe the document or is automatically recorded by the software. The root element is always office:document-meta. The contents are defined rather loosely, the editing software is advised not to delete tags that it doesn't recognise, since other software maybe using them. In practice deleting all the contents of office:document-meta > office:meta will not damage the document, and it can be considered non-essential information.


A text file that consists of



Software specific settings of the document. The root tag is <office:document-settings>. No inner contents are required for the functioning document.


Non-automatic document styles, that are held in <office:document-styles> tag.

Microsoft Office 2010

Microsoft Office 2010 seems to have some issues adhering to the OpenDocument standard. See the following link for more information;

Microsoft Office 2013

Microsoft Office 2013 supports ODF 1.2. See the following links for more information;

Sample files


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