The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has given its \u201csweeping approval\u201d to the OpenDocument Format (ODF) as an international standard for retaining and exchanging digital office documents, according to a press release from the ODF Alliance, a group of entities dedicated to improving the management of electronic government documents.The ISO underwent a six-month approval process that ended May 1 to determine whether the ODF should be granted the group\u2019s special status, according to Marino Marcich, the ODF Alliance\u2019s executive director.\u201cApproval of the OpenDocument Format by ISO marks an important milestone in the effort to help governments solve the very real problem of finding a better way to preserve, access and control their documents now and in the future,\u201d Marcich said in the release. \u201cThere\u2019s no doubt that this broad vote of support will serve as a springboard for adoption and use of the ODF around the world.\u201dThe ODF is based on work conducted at the open source OpenOffice.org project. It was then developed further by OASIS, where it was approved as an official OASIS standard last May, according to the OpenDocument Format Alliance.Other well-known tech formats that have won ISO approval are HTML and Adobe\u2019s Portable Document Format, according to Computerworld. Microsoft has opposed ODF because the document formats within its Office suite\u2014.doc, .xls, .ppt, from Word, Excel and Powerpoint, respectively\u2014are considered to be the norm and are widely used by enterprises and individuals, according to Computerworld.Microsoft is working on a successor format for its upcoming Office 2007 suite, which is has dubbed Office Open XML, Computerworld reports. Microsoft plans to license that format to companies free of charge, and it will submit Open XML to Ecma International, a European standards group, for its OK, according to Computerworld. If approved, Microsoft will likely request that Ecma submit the format to the ISO for its sanction, Computerworld reports.Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.