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Document Exchange Formats

DTS Technology Standard 4300-0009

Status: Approved April 29, 2009

Effective Date: June 1, 2010

Next Review Date: June 2012

Sponsor: Robert Woolley

Approved By: Architecture Review Board Stephen Fletcher, CIO


The purpose of this standard is to establish common exchange format standards for exchanging specific types of information and file formats between agencies of State government and external State partners.


The following common document exchange formats are approved as standards:

    • Office Documents: Microsoft Office 1997-2003 .DOC and .DOCX file format for word processing office document sharing. Rich Text Format .RTF is also appropriate for sharing documents which may be opened and utilized by other non Microsoft applications.
    • Accessible Non-Editable Documents The standard file format for exchanging accessible, non-editable documents is the Portable Document Format (PDF).
    • Data Exchange The standard format for exchanging raw data between databases and from spreadsheets is the comma separated value file, .CSV. Spread sheet data may also be exchanged in .XLS format for spreadsheets not in the standard.CSV file format.
  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Control Structures: EDI defines a class of files that are used to transmit information from one computer system to another. Some of the better-known variants include EDIFACT, HL7, and X12. XML is the basic standard for exchanging electronic information between computer systems using EDI structures. The major dialects for EDI currently supported and often implemented with XML converters include:
      • EANCOM for general commerce
      • EDIFACT for general commerce
      • HL7 for healthcare
      • X12 for general business and health
    • Facsimile and Scanned Documents The standard file format for exchanging facsimile and scanned documents is Tagged Image File Format for Image Technology (TIFF/IT).
    • Raster Based Color Documents The standard file formats for exchanging raster based color documents, drawings, or photographs include Graphical Interface Format (GIF 89a), Portable Network Graphics (PNG) and Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG).
    • Editable Word Processing Documents The standard file format for exchanging editable word processing documents between dissimilar Word processing platforms is Rich Text Format (RTF).
    • CAD Documents The standard file formats for exchanging computer aided design documents are the Initial Graphics Exchange Specification (IGES) and Data Exchange File (DXF).
    • Presentations The standard file format for exchanging presentations is Powerpoint (.ppt and .pptx)
  • Movie File Format The standard file format for exchanging moving images and audio is the Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG-4).
  • Editable Vector Based Graphics The standard file formats for exchanging editable vector based graphics such as line drawings are the Computer Graphics Metafile (CMG) and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) formats.Visio (VSD) format is also approved as a drawing exchange format for sharing editable drawings between agencies.
  • Google Documents Sharing – A wide variety of document formats can be loaded to Google Docs environment for sharing, viewing, and processing.
    • For spreadsheets: .xls, .xlsx, .ods, .csv, .tsv, .txt, .tab
    • For documents: .doc, .docx, plain text (.txt), .html, .rtf, .pages
    • For drawings: .wmf
    • For OCR: .jpg, .gif, .png, .pdf
    • Autocad: .dxf


The Department of Technology services is charged in Utah Code 63F-1-104 et seq with the overall responsibility for defining technology standards. The Chief Information Officer (CIO) has rulemaking and policy making authority for technology standards and practices for the Executive Branch agencies as specified in Utah Code 63F-1-206 et seq, with the exception of those agencies exempted in Utah Code 63F-1-102.


These file formats should be used as standard types when sending information to other Executive branch agencies, or in the case of EDI transactions, XML should be used to minimize file sharing and interoperability issues. Multimedia standards for Internet iuse are specified in the Multimedia Internet Standards document.

Changes and Revisions

Suggestions for changes, revisions, and additions to this document are encouraged. This standards document will be subject to review and revision six months from the initial date of publication, and every six months thereafter. Suggestions for changes, additions, or revisions may be e-mailed to the Architecture Review Board ( or to Robert Woolley ( at any time. Change recommendations will follow approved processes for enterprise standards approval and changes.