Metro – head to head with PDF!

At last Microsoft seem to have decided to deliver a portable document format for distribution and archive.  It’s code named metro and was demonstrated at WinHEC.  Here is a snippet from an article in Computer World:

The format, based on XML, will be licensed royalty free and users will be able to open Metro files without a special client. In the demonstration, a Metro file was opened and printed from Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s Web browser.

Printers and printer drivers can include support for Metro and deliver better and faster printing results than with today’s printing technology, Microsoft said. On stage, a Xerox printer with Metro built in was used to print a sample slide.

It’s going to be an open specification, so says Jancology:

Metro is build on top of an XML based page description language similar to Adobe’s PostScript. This happens to be tied into Avalon — Longhorn’s presentation subsystem. Microsoft is releasing publicly the specification for Metro on Monday royalty-free.

What do I want from this format:

  • The fidelity we have come to expect from PDF when we want it
  • The reflow we have come to expect from HTML when targeting different screen formats
  • Full support for anything that can be printed
  • Full support for Office Information Rights Management capabilities
  • Support for multi-user annotation as used in document review workflows
  • Intra document navigation, eg word bookmarks and PowerPoint hypertext links and navigation buttons
  • Inter document navigation, eg to a specific word bookmark from the URL passed to metro
  • The ability to bookmark locations, as in Reader which will hopefully go away
  • Ideally the ability to distribute a document, eg an office document with a metro rendition embedded, or in a separate stream, or vice-versa.
  • Slick integration into the shell, so that a metro rendition can be auto generated on save and displayed without needing to open the native document when browsing the shell.
  • Great Tablet PC support when navigating documents and annotating them
  • Maybe support for InfoPath forms

This article in betanews implies IRM functions will be included – great news!


Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

3 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Graham had a problem with leaving comments, so he rang me and his comment was: It would be nice if multiple renditions of a document could be stored, for example to support different display formats.

  2. Anonymous says:

    At the end of the day this Metro thing didn’t lift up from the ground.

    Or am I wrong?

    Maybe it changed from the “Metro” name to something else and I didn’t notice?

  3. Anonymous says:

    its now called XPS, XML Paper Specification

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