Various kind of document file formats and it’s utility?

Document file formats

In the online world, sharing the written word is always grabbing a special attention. Contracts, books, letters, thoughts, notes - whatever you want to write down, you can easily spread, send and share it on the internet. people are able to open, view, read or even edit the documents you send them. Sometimes, it may require to convert a document file into another format to be able to open it. For conversion, it's important to choose the right file format for your purpose because document files differ from one another in many respects. If document conversion is made by the wrong format then you will never be able to open it. That's why, here, we discuss document file formats and their differences. It will help you to choose the right format for your documents.

So, let's see the different types of document file formats -

DOC and DOCX (.doc, .docx)

One of the most popular and common document formats is the native format of Microsoft Word. Documents written and created in Word are typically saved as either DOC or DOCX depending on the Microsoft Office version you are using. DOC and DOCX files can contain text and rich formatting as well as tables, images, and other objects. This makes them a preferred file format for different purposes that require a flexible way of formatting a document. From invoices or contracts with specific fields to reports and essays containing graphs and tables, DOC and DOCX files provide a great way to express thoughts, present findings, and provide information. Both files are able to be edited further, either by the original author or by the receiver. Furthermore, many programs are able to open DOC and DOCX files depending on their version. However, in some programs, the formatting may change or images and tables may be displayed differently.

HTML and HTM (.html, .htm)

HTML and HTM are the standard markup language used when creating web pages. When opened in a text editor, HTML and HTM files allow HTML code to be edited. When opened in a web browser, the web page the code creates is presented.

PDF (.pdf)

PDF files were developed by Adobe and differ greatly from the document files mentioned above in several aspects. Next to formatted text, PDFs can contain images, graphs, tables, and even 3D drawings. Sometimes, they consist of images and scanned pages only instead of an underlying text file. Mixtures of both are possible as well. PDF formats are perfect for printing since they preserve the formatting of the file they were created out of. Similar to an image, the PDF contains a fixed layout and always looks the same, no matter which program, software or device is used to open it. Next, to the cost-free Adobe Reader, many programs are able to open PDF files. There are apps for mobile devices, and most browsers support opening PDF files as well. Furthermore, most word processing programs are able to export documents in the PDF format. Unless using a program that specifically allows the modification of PDF files, they are protected from further editing. Furthermore, PDF files can be secured using a password or even encrypted. The common distribution, as well as the fact that everyone will see a PDF in the same way, make it a perfect file format for spreading, sending and sharing documents.

ODT (.odt)

ODT files are text documents that are similar to DOCX files. However, these files can be opened in open-source word processor programs, such as Openoffice. This is useful when you’re sharing files with others who may not have Microsoft Office.

PPT and PPTX (.ppt, .pptx)

PPT and PPTX are known as presentation files rather than documents. They are native to the Microsoft PowerPoint program and can include images as well as text, graphs, animations, tables, slide transitions and embedded videos and audio files. It is the most common file used for different kinds of presentations among smaller or bigger groups of people. The slideshows created using PowerPoint can be opened by other, open source programs as well. However, slide transitions, animations, and the overall formatting, as well as the overall display, may differ from the original one when PPT or PPTX files are opened in programs like LibreOffice.

XLS and XLSX (.xls, .xlsx)

XLS and XLSX are the standard file formats for Microsoft Excel. Like with DOCX files, XLSX files are used in the more modern versions of Excel.

ODS (.ods)

ODS is the spreadsheet counterpart of .ODT files. Unlike XLS and XLSX files, they can be opened in third-party, open-source programs in addition to Microsoft Excel.

TXT (.txt)

The best known and most compatible document type is the TEXT document. TXT files contain raw text and can be created with any if not all word processing programs. TXT files do neither contain formatting nor images or other objects. They are basic documents, developed to store text only. This makes them perfect for data storage or quick and easy information exchange, especially across platforms. These raw text files can be opened by almost all programs like Microsoft Word, Pages for Mac, LibreOffice LaTex, and more. Of course, TXT files can be further edited as well.


ODT files are similar to DOC and DOCX files. Yet, while the latter ones are native to Microsoft Word, ODT files are distributed under the open standard license and are thus native to many different open source word processing programs like OpenOffice and LibreOffice. Documents with the ODT extension can contain rich formatting, OLE objects, tables, graphs, and images as well. They are common among many people and can be used for many different purposes like contracts, essays, reports, letters, and more. ODT files can be edited by the original author as well as any receiving member. The format is also supported by other, non-open source programs like Microsoft Word which makes them very versatile. However, formatting and the overall display can be shifted or otherwise differ from the original formatting when opened with software that did not create the document.

RTF (.rtf)

RTF is the file extension for Rich Text Format documents. It was developed by Microsoft as well, but can be created using almost every other word processing program like Microsoft NotePad or OpenOffice Writer. RTF files can contain basic text formatting. However, no images, videos or other files can be implemented in the document, only text. Thus, the file is applicable for all needs that do not include images but formatted text only, like letters, contracts, or invoices. Like all aforementioned document files, RTF files can be further edited. The file format is highly compatible with almost every word processing software and thus not only widespread in the web and among users, but also easily distributed and shared.

ODF (.odf)

The Open Document Format for Office Applications (ODF), also known as OpenDocument, is a ZIP-compressed[6] XML-based file format for spreadsheets, charts, presentations and word processing documents. It was developed with the aim of providing an open, XML-based file format specification for office applications. The standard was developed by a technical committee in the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards consortium. It was based on the Sun Microsystems specification for XML, the default format for, which had been specifically intended to provide an open standard for office documents.

SYLK (.sylk)

Symbolic Link (SYLK) is a Microsoft file format typically used to exchange data between applications, specifically spreadsheets. SYLK files conventionally have a .slk suffix. Composed of only displayable ANSI characters, it can be easily created and processed by other applications, such as databases.

XPS (.xps, .oxps)

Open XML Paper Specification (also referred to as OpenXPS) is an open specification for a page description language and a fixed-document format. Microsoft developed it as the XML Paper Specification (XPS). In June 2009, Ecma International adopted it as international standard ECMA-388. It is an XML-based specification, based on a new print path (print processing data representation and data flow) and a color-managed vector-based document format that supports device independence and resolution independence. In Windows 8 .xps was replaced with the ECMA standard .oxps format which is not natively supported in older Windows versions.

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