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PDF vs DOCX: Which format is better?

PDF vs DOCX: Which format is better?

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November 19, 2022

This article will tell you about the important formats PDF vs DOCX.
We will discuss what they have in common, highlight their advantages and disadvantages, and finally find out which format is better for working with your files and documents.

Table of Contents

What is a PDF


Portable Document Format (PDF) is the most popular cross-platform format for storing electronic documents because it allows the exchange of documents regardless of the end user’s software, hardware, or operating system, which is infinitely essential for users. The peculiarity of this format is that the printed text will be exactly as it is presented in the PDF file.

Benefits

  • Popularity and accessibility: Most files on the Internet are in PDF format, which can be opened on any device since there are an infinite number of applications for this format.
  • Safety: The format is virtually immune to virus infection.
  • Security: It is also possible to set a password, thereby protecting your document from prying eyes.
  • Easy to use: Most browsers already have built-in applications for viewing PDF files, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader. This program is the most popular one. In addition to being free, it is simple and easy to use, even for beginners.
  • Copyright protection: You can use an electronic signature and seal, protecting your documents and rights from intruders.

Disadvantages

  • Impossibility to change the sent file: A document sent to you in PDF format is practically impossible to edit. It is perceived as a digital image, not as a document. 
  •  The lack of free PDF editing programs: Most PDF editing programs are chargeable, and only PDF readers are free.
  •  Difficult to edit: If you have purchased a paid program, it is still more challenging to edit PDF files in specialized programs than any other graphic files.
  • Large file size: The file size of a PDF file can sometimes be very large depending on the content stored in it, such as fonts, images, videos.

Using PDF format

Do not use the PDF format to create a “living document” that others can modify.

PDF stores and transmits text and graphic information on the Internet. In most cases, it is used to send a document for printing or signing, post a questionnaire on a website, print magazine articles, books, brochures, or essential documents, or send a resume.

Most books today are published in the PDF format because copying and plagiarizing text with this format is very difficult.

Environmentalists also recommend using the PDF format. When using electronic documents, books, and pamphlets, people waste less paper, reducing the need to cut down forests and ultimately conserve natural resources. It turns out that PDF is not just a dream to do away with paperwork. Instead, it is a small contribution to the global idea of preserving forests and improving our planet.

You can learn more about the origin and handling of PDF files in our previous article.

What is a DOCX

DOCX files are the file format used by Microsoft Word, which are archives containing labeled XML text and other document data that a word processor can interpret. In other words, DOCX is an Office Open XML format for text documents containing text, images, objects, formatting, and styles compressed into an archive.
DOCX format is an open format like the whole family of Microsoft Office formats, i.e. it can be used by programs of other companies as well.

The first edition of Microsoft Word as part of Microsoft Office appeared in 1983. The developer was Richard Brody, who had previously worked at Xerox PARC on the Bravo graphics editor.
From 1990 to 1995, Microsoft Word took the lead over its competitors.
In 2007, Microsoft released “Microsoft Word 2007,” which uses a new document format, with the extension .docx. In 2008, Microsoft made the “doc” format specification available, but it can only be used for non-commercial purposes for free.

Benefits

  • Compressed file size: DOCX format uses ZIP archiving, which can significantly reduce the file size. The file size of DOCX files is much smaller than PDF files.
  •  Supports various objects: You can use images, diagrams, auto templates, equations, and many other objects inside a DOCX document.
  •  Complex formatting: You can change fonts, page layouts, styles, and elements.
  •  Can be saved in any format you choose: Can be transmitted as is and printed or converted to other formats, such as PDF.

Disadvantages

  • No choice of programs: A limited number of special software for reading and editing DOCX files.
  • Potentially malicious: Files of this type can launch scripts when they are opened. Intruders can use this to inject malicious code into a document.
  • No consistent layout: The displayed layout may differ depending on the operating system, hardware or software used.

Using DOCX format

DOCX is designed for collaborative work. Other users can edit created documents by opening them in DOCX-enabled programs. Either on their own or in a shared mode in the cloud, like Google Docs.

Conclusion PDF vs DOCX

You now understand the differences between PDF vs DOCX formats and when to use them. Before you create a document, think about the circumstances in which it will be used. Choose PDF if you only need to send the file for a signature or reading without editing. But if the document you send will need to be corrected or edited without unnecessary thoughts, feel free to choose the DOCX format.

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