While Microsoft Word is a widely-used and fairly powerful program for a variety of desktop publishing applications, it is not ideal for sharing documents with your coworkers in the office or clients. Here are a few reasons why:
Formatting Changes from one Computer to Another
Imagine this scenario: you have a lengthy document, and have spent hours formatting it just perfectly. You’ve adjusted margins, used a variety of special fonts you downloaded, and set the page breaks so that they’re logical within the flow of the document. Everything looks perfect, so finally, you send it off to the client.
The client receives it and is not impressed at all. Though you haven’t made errors, in some places there are no spaces where there are supposed to be. You used a font that the client doesn’t have installed on their computer so their version of Word substitutes a different one in, altering the layout of the document. The client has different margins set by default, and when they go to print off the document, the page breaks make no sense.
Unfortunately, this scenario actually happens all the time. These sorts of things can ruin the impression you make on current or potential clients. Your client may never mention to you that some things on the document looked sloppy or strange, and instead, just assume that you were careless, not knowledgeable, or not diligent enough to check over your work. There are workarounds, but they require a good deal of knowledge about Word (or at least a good deal of searching around online.)
Compatibility with Other Word Processors
The same sorts of things can happen if your client or colleague opens Word documents in alternative Word Processing software, like OpenOffice, or Google Docs. Have a look at this side-by-side comparison of the same document in Word and Google Docs, and notice some of the issues that can occur.
- You can’t be sure that Google Docs will recognize or render fonts in the same way;
- Google Docs is unable to render the custom bullet points used on the lower half of the page;
- Google Docs inserts dashes below the second heading, where none are visible on the Word document.
These are just a few examples of how things can go wrong from one program to another.
Microsoft Office products are notoriously vulnerable to hackers and malicious activity. As recently as last year, a major vulnerability was discovered that allowed hackers the same computer privileges as the users that they infected.
Whatever industry you work in, you likely have some sort of sensitive information stored on your work computers. It’s bad enough if one machine is infected, but passing an infected file around the office could have devastating consequences and lead to a breach of information.
For maintaining your formatting…
PORTABLE DOCUMENT FORMAT (PDF): PDFs are a great way to maintain document layout, and is a quick and easy way to ensure that your formatting, margins and layout remains intact. When you print to PDF, with a product like PEERNET’s PDF Image Printer, you can rest easy knowing that the recipient of the document will receive the document as intended. Check out the comparison below of our Word document (left) and the PDF version of it (right) — they’re basically identical.
For maintaining your formatting and network security…
TIFF: TIFF is an image format, similar to something like a JPEG. The difference is that TIFFs, unlike JPEGs, GIFs, PNGs, or other image formats, are what’s called a loss-less format. While that makes them a bit bigger in terms of file size than other image formats, it ensures the highest-quality output. The other big feature of TIFFs is that it can never have a virus embedded with it, making it the best choice in terms of network security. Check out our TIFF Image Printer program to get your business started on the path to safe, loss-less document sharing… and never worry about messed-up formatting again!