The two most popular file formats just might be Word documents and PDFs. These formats are designed with functionality and sharing in mind. But which one is better? Whether you are operating a business and need to share a file or have to choose a file format for personal use, knowing a little more about the formats you use can unlock huge potential. Our guide will compare these two hugely useful document types so you can choose the right format next time.
Benefits of Word Documents
First let’s start with Word documents. This is the format that is created with Microsoft Word. The biggest benefit is fairly obvious. Word documents are the best choice if you need to create a text document. After all, that is the whole point of Word documents.
The format may not handle pictures and other information as well as other formats, but you can slip pictures, charts, and more into your documents if you really need to. However, when it comes to text editing, Word has a huge amount of functionality and options, from something as simple as a library of fonts to more complicated functions.
Another huge benefit of Word documents is how easy they are to edit. Assuming you have the right software to open and edit a Word document, it is as simple as opening it up and jumping right in. It really could not be any quicker and easier.
PDFs are a lot more complicated to edit, but as you will soon learn, this is an intentional design choice which is really a benefit in its own way. You will have to use a special PDF editor, which is an extra step that is simply not there with Word documents. PDFSimpli strives to be the best PDF editor.
Benefits of PDFs
So, what is it that sets PDFs apart? This is a file format developed by Adobe, although it is incredibly universal at this point. The biggest benefit that PDF offers is security. PDFs are intentionally designed so you cannot simply edit them haphazardly. When you open a PDF, it is locked in its current state.
This makes it great for sharing sensitive information or information that is not supposed to change. Of course, it wouldn’t be a very useful format if it was impossible to edit. However, the ease of editing will depend on which PDF editor you use.
Next, PDF is useful because it preserves documents with precision. With Word documents, you can never be completely certain that the person you send it to will see the same thing you do. Their computer might not have the right font, which means it will have to do the best it can to display the document.
This is just one of several ways a document could be changed from one computer to the next. PDF documents are never changed in this way and you can be confident that the document you send will be received in exactly the same condition.
Where Word excels in text functionality, PDF excels in form functionality. If you need to create a form for someone to fill out electronically, PDF is the clear winner. You can create text fields where information can be entered, alongside other form-filling features.
Here are a few benefits that both Word documents and PDFs share:
- Both document types are incredibly easy to share
- Both document types are compact and take up very little space
- Both document types have become universal standards that nearly anyone can open and read
If these are the features that you value, then you really cannot go wrong with either of these file formats.
Although most of the downsides either of these file formats have is simply an inability to do something the other format can, there is one downside that Word documents and PDFs share. Both of these file formats need special software to edit them. However, this is not much of a disadvantage. These file formats are widespread and universal enough that software that can read and edit them are easy to get.
Only PDF is open source, however. This means that anyone can create a piece of software to access PDF files. You can only access Microsoft Word documents with software created or licensed by Microsoft. Ultimately, these two file formats excel at different things. The matter of which one is better really depends on what you want to use it for.
Related article you may like to read: “What is Software?“