From Microsoft Office 97 to Microsoft Office XP, international support has expanded dramatically with each new release of Office because of its built-in Unicode support. Examples of international features that Office provides include proofing capabilities in over 40 languages, support for Asian-language input, sorting support, locale-aware date and currency formats, support for I/O of text files and of Web pages in any encoding, and application-specific features for certain markets. Because of their multilingual support, Office applications are a good design and development model for your own world-ready application. Also, you can take advantage of all the work that the Office development team has done by building your application on top of an Office application, and using COM interfaces to the object model of Office applications.
When working with Office in a global environment, maintain a single code base. Consider the user-as Windows XP becomes more widespread, you might not need to support Windows 95/98/Me. This makes coding your application for global support significantly easier. Design for global support from the start. Also, don't assume that the international user merely needs translated software, or that the software needs to be completely different from that of the original-language version. Finally, make sure your application is localizable.