Microsoft has confirmed that Mac versions of Office will support a new file format the company plans to introduce.

The company intends using a new file format for its Windows Office products. This is the Microsoft Office XML Open Format which is based on an open standard (XML).

This new format will become the default format in Office 12 for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. One symptom of this change will be easy to see: the .doc file format will be replaced by a new designation, .docx.

Microsoft told MacCentral: "The Mac Business Unit continues to partner closely with Windows Office to ensure seamless cross-platform compatibility. The Mac BU will support the new file formats and work to enable forward compatibility with future Office releases".

Mac users will be able to "take advantage of the benefits of the new technology", MacCentral said. Benefits include: "easier recovery of corrupted documents, improved security and smaller file sizes".

Microsoft has previously explained the new format uses Zip compression to create smaller files, and segments data within files to be stored in separate components. The latter feature should help users trying to recover data after a bad crash or when files are damaged.