The Difference Between PDF and Word

Charlotte Miller

Updated on:

In both business and personal communications, documents are an essential tool to convey and store information. While documents used to primarily be written through typewriters before the current age of computers for everyone, now there are very easy options for writing documents digitally. This is a comparison of two document formats that are used nowadays, PDF and DOC.

About DOC

DOC was created by Microsoft to use with their Word document writing platform. It is possible to both create and edit DOC files using Microsoft Word.

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About PDF

The PDF (portable document format) format was designed by Adobe Systems for better visuals and compatibility across devices. This format allows for the creation of PDF files. 

Differences Between DOC and PDF

The DOC format focuses more on text, with many different fonts and styling options available. However, image creation is somewhat bulky because it is difficult to overlay different layers and make new shapes. If you are focusing less on visuals and more on content, this format is optimal for you.

In PDF format, files are easy to customize, with efficient image generation and overlay. Nevertheless, text insertion is more difficult because you always have to create new text boxes when writing. PDF files are always the same on any device because they do not come with pre-programmed fonts or sizes. If you desire more visual appeal, you should choose PDF.

Furthermore, since PDF files are more difficult to edit, your files are more secure from copying and piracy. A PDF password protector is included in Adobe Acrobat for more security.

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A common problem of the DOC format that PDF does not experience is the default font changing of Word. When a document is written with a font in the DOC format that the receiving computer does not recognize, it changes the font to an unintended version, compromising the content delivery intentions of the writer. Image placement when sending DOC documents between computers is also an issue because sometimes the images on a document can either become garbled or change locations on the page. However, PDF documents always stay the same when exchanged between computers, and nobody can change it because of the writer’s ownership of exclusive software rights.

Which Is Better?

PDF files are more secure and consistent in content delivery. Content creators want the consistency that PDF format offers. It is possible to reverse PDF files back to DOC files, but they can easily become garbled if it is not in the simple text format with which Microsoft Word is compatible.

Both PDF and DOC formats are useful for content creation, but only PDF offers superior security.