File Formatting: PDF vs. Word Document

In 2015, there were 1.6 billion PDFs that are on the Internet.

Today, there are even more PDFs available on the Internet, but what makes this different compared to a Word document? 

So what’s the best file format? Keep reading to find out all you need to know about file formatting!

What Is PDF?

PDFs are one of the most common types of documents, but they’re not as easy as a document to edit. Some people think this is a weakness, but it can also be a strength. 

It’s also harder to edit PDFs. Because of that, if you send the PDF through an email, the formatting will likely stay the same regardless of what application people use to open it. 

PDFs are also sometimes considered a more professional document because they are harder to edit which means that you can keep other people from changing your PDF. 

It’s also great because you can still use all the normal functions as you would in a Word document, like learning how to search in PDF.

When to Use a PDF

So when should you use a PDF? 

Some people argue that a PDF actually has more benefits than a Word document, but it really depends on what you’re going to be using it for. 


If you’re going to be printing a document, you should format it into a PDF. Because a PDF keeps its formatting, you’ll have a higher chance that your document will come out formatted as you want it.

Plus, this can be great if you have high-resolution images in your PDF. The PDF can create a print preview file that will let you proof everything before it’s actually printed.

Plus, many professional printers only accept PDF files rather than Word because of formatting issues.  Most printers also are compatible with PDFs, so you can even send the file to a printer in a different department without having to reformat it. 


If you need to archive a lot of files, you should consider using PDF. When compressed, these files are really small which means that you can store a lot of them in a small space.

Plus, they’re searchable, which makes them really easy to organize, categorize, and find. 

Online Content 

If you want to make a high-quality document available on the Internet, you should use a PDF. You could turn documents like catalogs, manuals, technical papers, studies, or even newsletters into a PDF and then upload it onto the Internet. 

This will make sure that all kinds of people can find your PDF, but they can’t alter it. It will also look correctly formatted on anyone’s phone or computer. 

You can also include all kinds of hyperlinks into your PDF so that your PDF can even act like a webpage. 

File Exchange

If you’re going to send the document back and forth between people, use the PDF. It’s a compact format so it won’t exceed the email size limitations. 

However, it’ll also keep all of the formattings inside the document even if the user who opens it doesn’t have the font or colors installed on their computer. 

What is a Word Document

So on the other hand, what is a word document? It’s also another common file format in the Microsoft Word Document. You’ll know it’s a Word document when it ends with .doc or .docx. 

These documents were built for tools like Microsoft Word. These are really easy to edit, and it’s easy to make formatting changes as well. 

Even if you need Microsoft Word, it’s a pretty universal file. You could use any type of word processor that is on your computer. 

When to Use Word Documents

So when should you use word documents? It’s great if you need to reuse different images from one Word document to the next. 

You can’t really do this with a PDF because, in a PDF, the images are embedded in the PDF. But with a Word document, you can just copy and paste it right out. 

.DOC also requires a word processor, and Adobe Acrobat is not a word processor. So if you’re going to write a new document from scratch, you should probably use a word document. 

Plus, you’ll get all kinds of benefits like grammar and spell checking. There will also be all kinds of other useful writing and formatting tools to help you make your documents perfect. 

Once you’ve done all your editing and formatting and made it how you want, you can also export it into a PDF format to ensure that the formatting sticks.

Differences Between the Two Formats

PDF and Word files were developed by two different companies. Adobe invented PDF and Microsoft invented the Word document. 

However, most computers have software that can manage both of these files. You can save your preferences for what default you want to use on your computer. 

One of the biggest differences is the ability to edit formats. However, you can convert a Word document into a PDF and vice versa. But keep in mind that if you convert from PDF to Microsoft Word, the formatting might get messed up. 

Learn More About File Formatting

These are only a few of the file formatting tips that you should know, but there are many more things to keep in mind.

We know that creating professional documents can be overwhelming and difficult at times, but we’re here to help you out.

If you enjoyed this article, make sure that you explore our website to find more articles just like this one.

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