PDF vs Word: Which One Should Use & Why

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Adobe’s PDF and Microsoft’s Word are document formats that are accepted universally and have played a very big role in the document industry. Even with the large popularity of these formats, they are not all used in the same way since each one of these formats has features that set it apart from the other. That means, if you have been on a quest for information regarding PDF vs Word, you have just stumbled on the right article.

This article aims at looking at the aspects of PDF and Word formats in order to help you choose which one to rock depending on the goals you have. Generally, the PDF vs Word is more of a head-to-head kind of competition but the differences are what will help you decide on which format to settle for in your tasks.

In simpler terms, the winner of the PDF vs Word match will largely depend on the goals you have at hand and the good thing is that this article goes the extra mile to lay out for you when each of these formats are best-suite for use. I know you must be itching to learn of the aspects and that is why we are now going to dive right into the aspects of the PDF vs Word supremacy battle.

In Article

Why Use the PDF Format?


In this section, we are going to look at what really sets the PDF file format apart when there is a PDF vs Word match. PDF (Portable Document Format) is a creation of Adobe and boasts of being open source in nature.

Now that you have some introduction regarding the PDF format, what would make it the best document format option over Word. having said that, let us look at reasons why you would need to consider PDF as your target format of use. At the back of your mind, these are more of the specific traits that put the PDF format ahead of Word. Let us now dig in!

  • Security – Talking about security, we are referring to the most loved feature of PDF files that they cannot be just edited haphazardly let alone in any easy way. The advantage of this is that when you are sharing information that is sensitive or meant not to change, the PDF format will give you all this and even more. This does not mean that PDFs cannot be edited but that there will be a hassle to achieve that.
  • Precision preservation – The PDF format is able to encapsulate all the components of a document like fonts in a way that viewing is independent of your base system. This means that the viewer of the PDF file can view the file just like it is from the source, unlike the Word format that does not guarantee the same case especially when you consider that some components like font may not all be the same on all computers. The precision the PDF format uses when preserving documents makes the viewer experience convenient.
  • Form functionality – There are instances where you may want someone to fill a form and send it over to you. In such a case, the PDF format is the winner here as it makes it convenient to create a form that can be filled out electronically. The Word format does not excel in this case as it takes more of a text functionality approach to how it works.
  • Multiple formats combining – PDFs happen to be superior in that they can carry different documents formats in themselves. For instance, you can have a Word file, an Excel spreadsheet, vector graphics among others all combined in a single viewable PDF file. This is something that the Word format is limited in achieving.
  • Archiving – If you happen to deal with a lot of documents, there comes the need to archive documents for future reference. The PDF format happens to be the right candidate here as it becomes very compact when compressed. Of course, compression can hurt the layout as it can be the case for Word. Luckily, PDFs are able to withstand the compression effects and everything remains intact.

What Situations Warrant the Use of the Word Format?


Just like the PDF format, there are definitely scenarios that are best suited for use with the Word document as we are about to find out in this section. These are areas where, in the PDF vs Word situation, you do not have to think even a second before you can choose Microsoft’s Word as the format to rock. Basically, you will be looking at certain aspects that put the Word format above the PDF format.

At what instance are the odds in favor of the Word format when in a PDF vs Word battle? Of course, Word has its share of traits that make it a favorite as you are about to find out below. Here is why you should consider using the Word format.

  • Editing – This is the biggest trait that the Word format has over the PDF file format. We have all had a chance to use Word in our documents and can attest that there is a lot of freedom in regard to how much editing you can do. To be specific, you can edit the text, adjust pages, change font styles, play with the font size, just to mention a few. At the same time, creating a document in Word is just like a walk in the park. Achieving the same aspect with a PDF does not come easy and will prove to be a real headache.
  • Reuse of images or graphics – Word wins by a big margin here because of how it is to extract images from a Word file and reuse them in another document without much hassle. For a PDF, the images are usually embedded and that means you have to rely on specialized tools to help you achieve the task at hand.
  • Collaboration – Let’s say a group of people need to work on the same document since each one of them is handling a specific section. It is, in a large way, easy to collaborate on a Word file especially when you factor in the convenient editing it brings. Collaborating on a PDF will be a far-fetched task when you consider just how editing unfriendly the PDF format is.
  • Word processing – With Word, it is possible to create and edit Word documents without any restrictions whatsoever, unlike the PDF format that does not support actual composition but rather relies mostly on other documents being converted into PDF. At the same time, Word lets you apply actions like spelling and grammar checks that are not possible for a PDF.

Shared Aspects of PDF vs Word

The PDF vs Word may be a heated battle for the best but that does not prevent these two formats from sharing certain aspects. In simple terms, there are instances that these formats come to share traits away from the many choice-determining features. If these are the features that top your list, it will not at all be unfounded to settle on either of these formats. Some of the common benefits of PDF and Word are;

  • Ease of sharing – At any moment that you need to share any of these formats with the target audience, there are no hurdles at all during the process thanks to the next trait.
  • Compact – Both the Word and PDF formats take very little space and therefore become very easy to manage especially when it comes to sharing.
  • Universal standards – The moment any of these formats is mentioned, it will not feel like anything new since these are very common formats in the document industry. This also translates to the fact that these formats can be opened or viewed fairly easily from any device.

Of course, the best strategy is one that takes both of these formats into consideration so that they can complement each other. While the Word format is best suited in the creation and editing of documents, the PDF file is the perfect candidate to conveniently view or share a document as it is and rest assured that the content will not change in transit.

The good thing is that there are programs that can help you interchange between these formats when the need arises and by doing so, you are able to make the most out of these formats. But still, you are the one to analyze all the powerful features that each format offers, and after that decide on which tool proves to lace your shoes in the best way possible in the instance of a PDF vs Word stalemate.

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