Five reasons I’ll never send you a word doc

1. It’s presumptuous of me to assume that you own software that will be able to interpret the document’s format.

2. If I merely wanted you to read the contents a format such a .pdf is much more universally acceptable and there is free software you can use to open my document.

3. If I want to interact with you on the document, I have no way of knowing you are working on making changes.

4. If I suddenly realize I want to make a change, even while you have the baton (file), I want to be able to make changes to the document.

5. If it’s necessary to invite other people to give feedback, there’s no easy for us to all coordinate making the changes and ensuring we can all see the most current revision.

I will, however, gladly send you a link to something you can work on in your browser and we all have access to the latest revision in real-time. This is the future.


3 thoughts on “Five reasons I’ll never send you a word doc

  1. I can see points 3, 4 and 5, but it seems that 1 and 2 are weak. MS makes a free viewer/printer for Word files, and besides, Open Office, which is also free, handles them quite well for viewing and editing.

    The new Word format is, practically speaking, almost as universal as PDF, and it is based on Open Office XML, standardized as ECMA-376 and ISO/IEC 29500. It’s just as accessible as the PDF format.


  2. Good points Rob. It’s been my experience that .docx files don’t always open well in Open Office.

    This often annoys me, when people send me .docx files, because they simply assume you have the software because they do.

    It seems like every computer / device generally have the ability to open .pdf files but that has not been my experience with .doc or .docx.

    I also think that .pdf if more multi-platform and multi-device than .doc. Has that been your experience?


  3. Rob, Russ is right. Microsoft’s office viewer is not available for all platforms (I’m a Linux user), and often Open/LibreOffice don’t render things well.

    What’s more, while OOXML (Office Open XML, not Open Office XML) is a very poorly authored standard. It is too vague — if a programmer started solely from the OOXML standards documentation and created a OOXML viewer (much less an editor), it is very unlikely that the end result, though following the standard to the letter, would render an MS Office OOXML document in a way that looks anything like it did in Word. So, at least for cases where formatting is important, Word is a poor choice. For cases where format is not important, Word remains a poor choice, since there are much simpler standards available…


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