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Documents Formats

The Internet is an ideal medium for distributing documents to colleagues or members of the general public. However you must keep in mind the fact that not everyone will have the same programs or the latest versions as you might have.

So for example, a document created in Microsoft Word 2007 will not be able to be read by someone who has an older version of Word or who has some other word processing program. You can however get round this by saving a file in a format that makes it accessible to all.

When uploading a document it is therefore important to use a portable format that will be accessible to all types of computers and devices.

Text File Formats

Portable Document Format (.pdf)
This is the preferred Text File format and is recommended for its portability. The PDF format is supported by all operating systems on all types of computers and handheld devices. Using this format will ensure all users can view your document.

Other advantages of this format are that people will not be able to alter the contents of the file and the style of the original document is kept intact.

An Internet search will show many programs and websites that will allow you to convert your documents to PDFs – some of these will be free.

Microsoft Word (.doc)
This format will only be able to be read by those who have Microsoft Word. This limitation will make the documents less accessible to your website visitors.

You can save a Microsoft Word document in a more accessible format as follows:

  1. Click on the File menu and click Save As
  2. Choose the location for the file to be saved to in the Save In box and type in the filename in the File Name box
  3. Now click down on the Save as Type box and choose Rich Text Format.
  4. Click the Save button.

Your file is now ready for uploading to your web page.

Microsoft Excel (.xls)
This format is used for spreadsheets but will only be able to be read by those who have Excel or the Excel Viewer software that is free to download from Microsoft. This limitation will make the documents less accessible to your website visitors.

Microsoft Powerpoint (.ppt)
This format is used for presentations and slideshows will only be able to be read by those who have PowerPoint or the PowerPoint Viewer software that is free to download from Microsoft. This limitation will make the documents less accessible to your website users.

Rich Text Format (.rtf)
Most if not all word processing programs understand this format. So even someone who doesn’t have Microsoft Word will be able to read and print it. This format will not allow fancy enhancements on the page.

Multimedia File Formats

Video

Flash (.flv)
This is the preferred Video format and is recommended for its portability. The Flash player needed to view the video will work on most if not all computers.

You can also use the .wmv, .mpg and .mov video formats but the players needed for them are not as popular or widely used.

Audio

.mp3
This is the preferred Audio format and is recommended for its portability.

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