"Ideally, all software of the same genre would use the same format to save work. Then every program could open and work on a file, save its changes and pass the file to another program without any loss of the integrity of the file contents. There would always be differences in how each program handled the work; there might even be some capabilities of a program that no others had, which would be stored in the file for later use without harming the rest of the file. But by using an open, interoperable standard fully implemented by multiple programs, everyone would be free to make their own choices, without being compelled to be a customer of the same vendors as everyone else in the network of collaboration.
In the areas of word-processing, spreadsheets and presentations, such a file format exists - it's called Open Document Format (ODF). It works with a wide range of different software, and when you save your work in ODF it can be passed to other people for their contribution."