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What is the Best Document Format: DOC or PDF?

Overview of the DOC file format

A DOC file format is used for a word processing document that is generated using Microsoft Word. These files have the .doc extension and are usually used to create and save multiple written documents including essays, letters, brochures, CVs, etc. One can use DOC files at work, school or college, and at home for performing a range of tasks.

.DOC file extensions are primarily opened or accessed via Microsoft Word, but there are other third-party applications as well that allow users to open, read, or edit DOC files. Some popular tools for software supporting .doc files include LibreOffice Writer, Google Docs, WPS Office Writer, and others.

DOC is an acronym for “document”. It is a word processing file format that is used via Microsoft Word. However, users can export .doc files to other kinds of file formats, too, such as PDF, TXT, XML, XPS, web page, etc. Apart from text, DOC files can also consist of other multimedia, such as charts, graphs, images, tables, audio files, and other print or page formatting settings.

Advantages of the DOC format

DOC files have a series of benefits.

  • Compatible with Any Word Version: No matter which Microsoft Word version you are using, you can open any DOC file seamlessly. It will maintain continuity in your work, even if you use an outdated Word version. The person you are sharing the files with will also be able to open it with an earlier version of MS Word.
  • Access and Edit Old Files: Users can open and modify their old DOC files, even those that are beyond 10–15 years old. Therefore, you can always refer to your old dissertation projects or drafts that you need to refer to after years for a similar paper submission. You can also relive your old memories or continue writing your childhood novel.
  • Convert to Other Formats: After creating and editing your DOC file, you can choose to save or print it in other file extensions, such as PDF. PDFs are usually non-editable, but they help to “lock in” the data so it cannot be tampered with. (We will discuss PDFs in more detail in a short while.)

Disadvantages of the DOC format

Now, you should be aware of the downsides of DOC files to make more informed decisions before creating or saving a file.

  • Large File Sizes: DOC files usually take up more space compared to DOCX or PDF file formats because they have larger file sizes.
  • Outdated Format: Microsoft Word has changed its document file extensions by replacing the DOC format with DOCX, as per the 2007 standard. Therefore, DOC files may require compatible document editors or readers to view or modify them. Furthermore, the .doc file formats may be less optimized with the latest versions of Microsoft Word or other document editors.
  • Microsoft Owns its Proprietary Rights: There are many .doc readers available today; however, these files are proprietary to Microsoft. So, you might face lags or other difficulties while reading or editing them with other document editors. Furthermore, other applications may require you to pay some subscription fees to open DOC files.

Overview of the PDF file format

PDF, an abbreviation for Portable Document Format, is a multi-platform document format that users can create easily through Adobe Acrobat or other third-party apps. Unlike DOCs, PDFs are much more versatile and widely used as they allow users to read and exchange data seamlessly, irrespective of the operating system, hardware, or software they are using.

Advantages of the PDF format

Here are the benefits of PDF files.

  • Universally Compatible: One can open or read PDFs on any operating system or device. Besides, PDFs can preserve the document’s formatting, font styles, and layout across multiple operating systems.
  • Higher Security: PDF files support password protection and encryption, enabling users to control who can access or modify the document’s contents. Therefore, PDFs are ideal for storing sensitive information and creating confidential documents.
  • Efficient Printing: Printing PDFs ensures high-quality printing results, which makes the format an excellent choice for marketing packages, design projects, brochures, etc.

Printing PDF files gives a more accurate, clear, and professional look to the printed materials.

Disadvantages of the PDF format

We have also mentioned a few cons of PDF files.

  • Non-editable: Since PDFs are designed to preserve the original Word document’s layout and structure, these can be hard to edit without specialized software.
  • Conversion and Extraction Limitations: Users may have formatting difficulties while converting PDFs to plain text or MS Word. Besides, sometimes, PDFs cannot be extracted with all its structured data intact, such as graphs, charts, forms, tables, etc. So, users may not be able to use them in advanced tasks.

How to convert DOC files into PDF files?

You can easily convert files from DOC to PDF format using online converters or document editors.

Microsoft Word has the in-house option to export your .doc file into PDF. You simply need to click “Save As” and select the PDF option in the “Save As Type” drop-down section.

Alternatively, if you are on the go and do not have the option to access Microsoft Word, use an online converter. Select the export file type as PDF after uploading your DOC file/s. Your file will be converted in seconds!

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