Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gratuitous Use of Office Documents

Folks here seem to love to send around Microsoft Office documents. If you're sending a document that is not meant to be edited by the receiver, why not just send it as a PDF? Word and Excel are not great for reading documents!

Back in the USA many people won't actually have Word or Excel installed on their computers, so sending a newsletter out in Word format just doesn't make sense. MS Office software costs a lot of money, so it's often something that is just never installed on home computers. In Vietnam you can get these programs for a dollar or two on the street, so perhaps this is why everyone assumes you'll have it on your home computer.

Reasons not to send Office Documents:

  • Not everyone has MS Office installed
  • Reading MS Office documents is no fun (PDF is so much better)
  • Office documents carry viruses
  • Office is slow and a memory hog
If you like to create your letters and other docs, try saving them in PDF format before sending them out. On a Mac you can simply print to a PDF. I'm sure there is a simple way to do something similar on a PC. Another alternative is to use Google Docs. Nothing to install, but network access is required.