Whitwick & District U3A - Computing tip July 2013
This month we take a break from security, and instead look a transferring data to other people. This is most commonly found in using an attachment to an email.
But first we need to introduce the idea of a file format. This is the way that a program configures information in order to save it on your computer, and there is almost always more than one way. However, not all programs understand all formats. (A rough analogy is that you can have the same music on disk, tape, CD or an mp3 and you need a specific player for each.)
The most common email attachments are pictures and documents. Pictures don’t normally cause a problem in that most cameras produce, and virtually all computers understand the format known as .jpg or .jpeg (They are the same and both are pronounced Jay-peg)
Regrettably the same can’t be said for documents. One format that pretty much every computer recognises is .pdf, but not all document programs can produce these files. The most likely answer for both PC and Apple® users is to use the .doc format. This is the one used by Microsoft Word® from the 97 to 2003 versions. Later versions of Word® by default use a different format known as .docx, but you can choose to Save As a .doc. The same applied to most of the free programs such as Open Office, where again you can choose to Save As a .doc.
Example from Word 2007, showing the Save As sub-menu, where we want the "Word 97-2003 Document" option.
Note there are options for PDF, and also for "Other Formats"
"Other Formats" provides a range of formats, including Rich Text Format and Plain Text as in the screen shot below
If your recipient is really struggling with what you have sent them, then you could try using .rtf (Rich Text Format) which may lose some information (but not your words), or .txt (Text) which will preserve only your words and paragraphs, but no other features of your document.
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