[guispeak] Announcing OfficeConvert and EasyEncode - free, open source utilities for common file conversions

  • From: Jamal Mazrui <empower@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: guispeak@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, Program-l <program-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "'Uaccess-L'" <uaccess-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, sec508@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2011 07:27:21 -0500

Now available at




OfficeConvert and EasyEncode are two sets of free, open source utilities under Windows that I have recently developed for conveniently converting files among common formats and encodings. They can aid the production of alternative formats in order to maximize accessibility for readers with disabilities. Batch processing is possible, allowing multiple files to be converted with a single command.

These command-line utilities are stand-alone executables, operating in console mode, without a graphical user interface (GUI). They are distributed as zip archives rather than Windows installers. Programming knowledge is not required to use them, but basic familiarity with the Windows command prompt is needed. The utilities may be used either manually at the command line, or programmatically by applications that call them to prepare files in a chain of processing steps.

OfficeConvert is a set of utilities for converting file formats using the COM-based APIs of Microsoft Office applications, including Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. Many file formats are supported. Common file extensions may be used to specify the formats desired. Conversions include going to and from formats used by other office suites, such as the Open Document formats supported by the cross-platform, Open Office suite.

Significant capabilities include conversions to plain text: doc2txt, xls2txt, and ppt2txt. The conversion of a PowerPoint presentation extracts text comprehensively, including the outline, notes, comments, and hyperlinks. Formats of Office 2007 and above are supported. The doc2pdf conversion can be an effective way of creating an accessible, tagged PDF from a well-structured Word document.

EasyEncode is a set of utilities for detecting and converting text files among common encodings. Four encodings are supported, accounting for most encodings in use today: UTF-16, UTF-8 with a byte order mark (BOM), UTF-8 without a BOM, and ANSI. The utilities can smoothen the transition of text files from one operating system to another, where an inconsistent encoding can render a file unreadable.

Character encodings are a complex subject. EasyEncode does not eliminate a developer's need for knowledge in this area, but once encodings are understood conceptually, the software eases work with them.

The OfficeConvert documentation is also separately available online at


and the EasyEncode documentation is available at


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