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Documents for the Web

PDF vs Docx

The file format chosen should be based upon intended use and intended audience. PDF, Doc, and Doc(x) formats each have specific advantages and in many cases either format is acceptable.

When to use Adobe PDF

PDF should be used when high print quality is required. PDF can display high resolution images and illustrations better than doc or docx.

Documents scanned into a PDF format negate most of the advantages of PDF and should only be used when other methods are not available. In addition, documents scanned as PDF are not indexable by Google, have large file sizes, and text cannot be selected from the document without Adobe Acrobat.

When to use Microsoft Docx or Doc formats

Microsoft doc or docx formats are best suited to documents that need to be edited and for general Word processing tasks.

Docx vs Doc

It is recommended that the docx format be used instead of doc format.Docx is the latest file format from Microsoft and has considerable advantages over the older doc format. Compatibility packs are available for older versions of Microsoft Office and there a multitude of free tools that can read the docx format.

File Format Comparison

Document Type/Use/Need

PDF

Doc

Docx

Collaboration

 

x

x

Editable Forms*

x

x

x

Editing

 

x

x

Google Indexable

x

x

x

High Resolution Images

x

  

Illustrations

x

  

Image Extraction

x

  

Legal Documents*

x

x

x

Letters

 

x

x

Memos

 

x

x

Printing

x

  

Secured Document*

x

x

x

Small File Size*

x

x

x

Vector Graphics

x

  

Word Processing

 

x

x

*Editable Forms: Adobe requires Adobe Acrobat to create editable forms.

*Legal Documents: Legal documents in doc or docx format must be protected to prevent changes. Documents authored in Adobe Acrobat may be malleable if not secured.

*Secured Document: Securing the document, protecting the document with a password and encryption, is inadvisable in some case. There are better methods for securing information.

*Small File Size: PDFs must be optimized for the web to achieve a small file size. Word documents saved as PDF may be much larger than the original Word format.

Document Filenames

Document file names should match the title of the document. For example: A PDF document titled UNM Web Standards should have the filename unm-web-standards.pdf.

The use of dates and version numbers within the filename are discouraged. In most cases, there should be only one published version of any document at a given time. Having only one published version of a document will improve data integrity, help prevent old documents from re-appearing, and prevent broken links. An archiving process may prove helpful when handling outdated documents.

If a date is used, it should be placed at the end of the filename when possible. For example: A PDF document titled 2011 UNM Web Standards should be retitled to UNM Web Standards 2011 and have a matching filename of unm-web-standards-2011.pdf.

Dates should be used in the title and filename if the subject of the document is date specific. For example: A PDF document titled UNM Department May 2011 Calendar and named unm-department-may-2011-calendar.pdf would be an acceptable use of the date in the title and filename.

Document Properties/Metadata

Document properties/metadata, should be accurate when publishing a document to the web. Document metadata can be accessed using the Document Panel in Microsoft Word or by viewing the file properties with Windows Explorer. For PDF documents, the file properties can be accessed from File Menu --> Properties in Adobe Reader.

Metadata Fields

Author: Should be the Department, Program, or Faculty Member who created the document.

Title: Should match the title of the document.

Subject: Should be relevant to the document content.

Keywords: Content specific words that could be used when searching for the document. The words included should appear in the document text.

*Category: Should be relevant to the document content.

*Comments: Any other relevant information.

*Category and comments only exist in Microsoft Office documents.