CNet is reporting that Microsoft said Thursday that it will introduce new XML-based file formats for its Excel, PowerPoint and Word applications when the company launches its Office 12 software package next year. Company officials said the move to replace Microsoft”s traditional binary file formats with open-standards-based XML versions will allow companies using Office 12 to more easily access data across XML”s various applications. Microsoft pledged that the shift to XML, also known as Extensible Markup Language, will decrease the size of many individual files and make documents created in its Office products more resistant to corruption. While Microsoft”s Excel and Word programs already offer some XML compatibility, the new formats will bring those applications, and PowerPoint, into a “full fidelity” version of the standard, said Takeshi Numoto, senior director for the Microsoft Office System. The biggest advantage of the new formats, Numoto said, will be their capacity to allow workers to access data from various documents without opening individual files, and to allow workers to use that information in new ways.