What is an .ODT file?

The .ODT format is a type of document file - .ODTs contain formatted text and are created by programmes such as LibreOffice Writer or Apache OpenOffice Writer - both of which are word processors.

If that rings a bell, it may be because you’ve used other, more commonly found word processors such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

What does .ODT stand for?

The meaning of .ODT abbreviation is Open Document Text .ODT is part of the Open Document Format (ODF), which was created to store data for OpenOffice systems.

History of the .ODT file.

.ODT files were the brainchild of a technical committee, whose purpose was to create open and accessible file formats for office applications. Formed in 2002, its members were part of the Organisation for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards or ‘OASIS’. OASIS still exists today and for the past thirty years it has championed open coding and standardisation as a means of solving technical challenges.

One of these challenges was creating office programme file types. It was important that the file format should be practical, easy to use and compatible with not only existing programmes, but programs that might be created in the future.

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What are .ODT files used for?

.ODT files are used by word processors to store formatted text. Designed as a storage option for word-processing programmes, they’re hugely popular with free and open-sourced software. However, their compatibility means you can access and edit .ODT files with a wide range of word processors.

.ODT files are deigned to hold text, but unlike plain text files, such as .txt, they also carry formatting with them. This means that whatever your chosen styling - whether that be type size 7 with Times New Roman or Comic Sans size 15 - .ODT can save it.

As a highly compatible file type, it’s primary use is sharing word processed documents between users and software without losing any formatting information.

Pros and cons of .ODT files.


  • Compatibility. .ODT was purpose built to make sharing files easier between users, regardless of which software was used. The ability to write something in Microsoft Word, save it as an .ODT file and share that with someone using OpenOffice Writer can be a huge time saver.
  • Accessibility. If you've received a .DOCX file but don’t have access to Microsoft Word, you might have to find a way to convert the file. But if you’re sent an .ODT file, but don’t own a programme that automatically saves documents as an .ODT, you can still access free software that does.
  • Low cost. One additional benefit of using a file type that doesn’t require paid software is the minimal cost. While it doesn’t cost anything to save a file as .DOCX file, it could cost you to have regular access to Microsoft Word.


  • Open sourced. The organisation that monitors and improves the .ODT, OASIS, is a not-for-profit organisation. You might find that the latest software is less compatible and doesn’t always display content the same until the .ODT is improved.
  • Obscure. With the majority of the world using either Microsoft Office software or Google Apps, .ODT has become increasingly rare. This means that many people are either unaware of it or may even mistrust a file they don’t recognise.

Discover other document file types today.

How to open an .ODT file.

Opening an .ODT file is usually relatively straightforward. Wide compatibility means that there are a variety of apps that can recognise and interpret an .ODT file. Free options include Google Docs, Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice.

You can also open .ODT files on Android devices by downloading and install apps such as the OpenDocument Reader App. iOS devices have similar apps such as OOReader and TOPDOX.

Why can’t I open .ODT files?

There could be a number of reasons why you can’t open an .ODT file. It could be that the file was altered by third party software. This could happen if the file is shared between computers or is opened and saved using numerous software types. It could also be that you don’t have any programs capable of opening .ODT files.

How to create and edit an .ODT file.

Creating an .ODT file starts by opening a word processor. This could be a free programme such as Google Docs or LibreOffice or it could be a paid service such as Microsoft Word. Once you’ve opened your document, edit as you normally would.

When it comes to saving the file, select Save As. You should have the option to change the file type. Look for .ODT or OpenDocument Text and confirm with a save.

Convert an .ODT to PDF

Yes, converting an .ODT file to PDF is easy, quick and in most cases, free. With Adobe Acrobat, it’s possible to convert almost any file, .ODT’s included, to a PDF. To do so, open Acrobat and select ‘Tools’ then ‘Create PDF’. From there select your .ODT file and click ‘Create’ or ‘Next’. Then choose where you wish to save your PDF.

Learn more about similar file types to .ODT.


Discover more about Microsoft’s early word processing file type here. Now generally used only with pre-2007 editions of Word, is it still worthwhile?


Explore the advantages and disadvantages of Microsoft Word’s flagship file type.


Apple’s intriguing piece of software has plenty of handy tools. Explore some common questions about the file type with our guide.


Uncover some of the pros and cons of plain text files, found on PCs only.

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ODT File Extension: FAQs.

Can .ODT files be opened in Microsoft Word?

Yes, it’s possible to open .ODT files in Microsoft Word. However, there is a slight risk you might see some formatting differences. This is most likely to occur if Word doesn’t share the same features as the programme used to create the .ODT file.

Can Windows open .ODT?

Windows can’t open .ODT files by itself, but programmes can be downloaded onto Windows that can read .ODT files. Windows is an operating system, as is Apple’s OS. Both can access programmes used to open .ODT files.

Can I open an .ODT file in Adobe Acrobat?

No, Adobe software, such as Adobe Acrobat doesn't natively support the OpenDocument Text (.ODT) format. However, you can still open and view .ODT files by converting them to a format that Adobe software can read, such as PDF.