XML, or Extensible Mark up language is a ‘meta language’ that can be used to create a set of rules for encoding documents, which is both human-readable as well as machine-readable. It is used primarily for securely transferring and storing data. However, it has a variety of uses with many different resources. In particular, it is used frequently in relation to electronic publishing and can be also used in the creation of new internet language such as XHTML and WAP.
Nevertheless, it also plays a prominent role in the document formatting of the Microsoft Office package. In 2007, Microsoft changed their formatting to use XML and ZIP technologies. This had a range of benefits. One key benefit involves the exchanging of data. XML is a plain text file format, which therefore simplifies the process of data transfer as it can be read by different incompatible applications. In addition, the XML format enables a greater level of security in the exchanging of documents which may contain confidential information. XML enables easy and simple identification and removal of personally identifiable information as well as business sensitive information. Furthermore, by using XML in conjunction with the ZIP container allows for the creation of much smaller file sizes due to the ease of compression. Moreover, the Microsoft format uses XML to define the connection of the parts which relate to create a document. These relationships between the parts are stored in XML and make it possible to manipulate documents without having knowledge of content mark up. Therefore, XML simplified many of the traditional processes used within Microsoft Office, whilst also improving security.