PDF vs Word Doc: When to Use Each?

Documents and PDFs are two of the most common file types used in digital communication. Whether it is in a formal business setting or casual communication, passing information through documents is more appropriate and convenient. PDF and Microsoft Word are the most common types of formats used to store and transfer information.

Sometimes people get confused between PDF files and Word Docs because of their similarity in terms of features. The word PDF means Portable Document File, while Doc is a name given to a file created using Microsoft Word.

About PDF

As mentioned above, PDF is a short form for Portable Document File. It is a popular documentation format that allows the storage and transfer of information more conveniently. In most cases, people convert Word docs into PDFs to ensure compatibility across different devices while still enabling mark up capabilities. When you edit PDFs through Adobe Acrobat, you can leave comments and add drawings directly on the PDF.

About Doc

Doc is a file generated from Microsoft Word software. It is considered the most popular software across the world. Despite its popularity, most people tend to prefer using PDF because of its versatility and convenience.

Differences Between PDF and Doc

Even though PDFs and Docs are all used to store and transfer data, the two files are distinct in their own ways. First of all, Doc and PDF were created by two separate software companies. Doc was developed by Microsoft, whereas PDF was created by Adobe Systems, and the purpose and use case for each differs depending on the situation.

Platform Ability

One of the major differences between Word Doc and PDF is their features and ability to edit documents. PDF is limited in terms of file editing. In most cases, Acrobat is used to viewing and reading PDF files.

This is different from Microsoft Word, where files can be created and saved either as PDF or Doc. You can also modify or change the file’s contents via MS Word and later save it as a PDF.

Content Delivery

Another way through which PDF and Doc differ is how content is delivered. Documents created using Word can easily be edited by anyone and often get jumbled during transmission and opened on different devices. But with a PDF file format, the information cannot be edited inline and can even be protected with a password for greater security. 

When to Use PDF Format

  • Online content: PDF is most appropriate when working on high-quality documents such as newsletters, manuals, technical papers, catalogs, among others.
  • Mark ups: PDF format is ideal for marking up and annotating documents that include written and visual content. The editing functionality makes it easy to draw and leave sticky note commentary anywhere on the document.
  • Printing: If you would like to make clear and high-quality print-outs, then a PDF format is more appropriate than a doc.
  • When archiving: It is easy to store a compressed PDF file compared to Docs. Besides, PDF files can easily be searched, and this saves time.

When to Use Word Format

  • Draft content: Word is great for creating documents that you intend to convert to PDF. Documents like lease agreements or invoices are good to edit and draft in Word before converting to a PDF. 
  • Word processing: Word is a word processor while Adobe Acrobat isn’t. Word format is most convenient to produce documents such as business letters, articles, and long-form write-ups.
  • Content editing: If you are working on documents that require a lot of back and forth, in-line editing in long-form written content, then Word format may be a good option.

Which Is Better?

The best approach is to use both file formats depending on the need as both PDF and Word docs have different features that are important in document creation and presentation.

Also Read: 5 Reasons to Use PDF Software

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Ifeanyi Okonduhttp://Thewordweavers.com
Ifeanyi Joseph Okondu is a freelance writer and editor covering everything from tech to health, entertainment, and fitness. He enjoys great creating quality content that will improve knowledge and experience.

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