J. P. Braselton, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
Ohio University

Here are a few reasons for converting DOC, DOCX and PPT documents to PDF, the preferred format for documents that many can view, before sending as email attachments or posting online.

  1. To view a DOC, DOCX or PPT document one must have proprietary software (Microsoft® Office) installed on his or her computer. Viz., using DOC, DOCX or PPT assumes that everyone is using some version of Microsoft® Office. Not everyone uses Microsoft® Office.
  2. Individuals who know how to use software that reads DOC, DOCX or PPT documents can view formatting marks, which means anyone can see how much the person who prepared the document knows (or in many cases does not know) about proper ways to format.
  3. Formatting in DOC, DOCX and PPT documents may vary from user to user, depending on the way individuals have set preferences in their Microsoft® Office or comparable software. Simple formatting such as margins and tabs may be different for different users.
  4. Documents in portable document format, i.e., PDF, are accessible to everyone, including those individuals using alternative computer platforms, not just Microsoft® products. PDF documents can be viewed by anyone who has the free Adobe® Acrobat® Reader, which is easy to download and which comes standard on many operating systems, including Windows. Some internet browsers, e.g., Firefox as well as Google Chrome and its open source version Chromium, have extensions that allow one to open PDF documents, and there are a number of free PDF readers in addition to Adobe Acrobat® Reader available for the various operating systems.
  5. Formatting for a PDF document will appear the same to everyone.

Most office software comes with ways to export or print a DOC, DOCX or PPT document as a PDF. The following link lists several ways to convert to PDF.