PDF or Word: Which One To Use When?

By Ashutosh Jha → Last Updated on Wednesday, November 25, 2020
You may have already read a lot of articles listing the different benefits of using a PDF file rather than a Word format. While this is true, it is undeniable that this two software have their own strengths, weaknesses, and purposes.

So, before you jump into the craze to have your Microsoft word convert to pdf, here are a few guidelines to identify which format suits your document’s purpose. 

Best usage of PDF Format

If you are looking for more permanent and secure formatting of your document, PDF is the best option. These are the instances:

1. Printing

If you want to make sure that your document will be printed with the precise layout and formatting as you prepared, PDF is the way to go. It also helps enhance the images you included in the document. This option is also very ideal if you are using a different computer to print your file or if you are sending it to someone else for printing. Converting your file to PDF locks in the actual appearance as you see it. So, no need to worry if you will use different software or operating systems when printing your document.

2. When publishing an online content

Google reads PDF files, so if you are publishing a document, save it in PDF format. It’s the best way to make sure that Google will crawl your content and will appear on relevant searches. This is good publicity for your content, too. PDF is ideal for online publishing of newsletters, manuals, research papers, etc.

Since it cannot be edited, your content is safe and will not be altered. And it can also be viewed using a browser. A document file may require downloading before reading the content. So, if you will publish it using PDF, it will just open another tab or window on the user’s browser and it will behave like a normal website page.

3. Archiving important documents

Since PDF files are permanent, it is recommended for archiving important and confidential documents. For example, if you are working in the Human Resources department of your company, you can use a PDF file for your company policies and employee contracts so it will be preserved and protected. Plus, you can also add security measures such as passwords to guarantee confidentiality and will only be accessed by authorized personnel.

4. Sending business and legal papers

Every business has its letterhead, and it’s essential for sending a document to make sure that it will have the exact appearance when it reaches the recipient. If you are sending an important legal document via email, save it as a PDF. It keeps its integrity and security. For example, if you are sending terms of an agreement to a potential client, you wouldn’t want them to edit it and alter the agreement, right? Lastly, PDF looks more formal and elegant. Word files are too tacky for a business contract.

Best to Use Word Format

A .doc file or a Word format is not something that you should take for granted. Surely, a PDF file gives a lot of benefits, but it also has its limitations. Here are some scenarios where it’s still advisable to use a Word Format:

1. If you need to reuse the image

Unlike PDF, a Word file can be edited. Thus, if you still need to extract or copy the images for a specific file, it’s best to keep it as a doc file. Once you convert it to pdf, you won’t be able to reuse those images anymore.

2. When writing the document

If you are only the first draft writer of a specific document, do not save it as a PDF yet. It’s better to use Word so the other party can still access it. Word also has other features that can help you compose the content such as spelling and grammar checking. Just keep in mind that PDF is not a word processor and it won’t help you in the writing process.

3. If you need to submit it for editing

Same as mentioned above, if the article or the document is not yet final, use Word. In that way, your editor can easily edit the parts that need editing and insert recommendations where necessary. Of course, if you submit a document for editing via PDF, your editor would still need to copy the content and do the editing, it’s more leg work. Keep it in Word first until it’s final.

How to choose the best format - PDF or Word

Word and PDF are not enemies. In fact, they complement each other. If you are looking for a permanent, secured, and complete finish of your document, it’s best to use PDF. But if you are still writing it, Word is the best way to go. When choosing the file format, think of its purpose. Through this, you can attain a more productive and efficient result.
Ashutosh Jha

Ashutosh Jha is a professional blogger, Blog and IT Consultant. He writes about Blogging, SEO, Making Money, Internet Marketing and Web Design.
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