File formats - save the pain!
Over the years I have come to observe an issue which still recurs with almost monotonous but frustrating regularity.
It is the sending of e-mail file attachments which recipients of e-mails simply can't open!If this was a rare issue I wouldn't bother to devote a page to it. However this still recurs with numerous instances of frustration being expressed by groups of people ranging from highly competent and respected bodies to individuals, charities to churches, cricket clubs to hotels.
There are only a few file formats which a sender can be sure a recipient will be able to open. These are:-
Generally two other types of file will open:-
These are multimedia files but there are some (hidden) variations (codecs) which may cause difficulty opening some files if the codecs aren't installed.
These files can be opened on Microsoft operating systems, Linux, Mac and other operating systems. On Microsoft operating systems it is usually necessary to install additional but free software to read .pdf files and programs such as Foxit Reader and Adobe Reader will do this (check the options as you install either).
Some instances of the problems and why they occur:-
Microsoft have produced a number of office suites and they have included an extra (but not free) program named Publisher. The office suites have been and are:-
In addition Microsoft offers Skydrive which works with existing versions of Microsoft Office but sometimes it appears to create it's own compatibility problems.
All of versions of Microsoft Office have different versions of Publisher all of which which save files in .pub format - and they notoriously aren't compatible with each other! Sometimes earlier versions of Publisher may be opened by a later version but not vice versa.
But - NB. It's impossible to open any version of Publisher unless it's already installed on the PC or laptop on which someone is trying to open it.
This has caused incredible frustrations.
Another instance is that from Office 2007 onwards documents were saved in .docx format which couldn't be opened by earlier office suites unless a compatibility pack had been installed. It is possible to set Office 2007 to save in .doc format however.
(The free office suite) OpenOffice.org will open .docx format but needs to be set to .doc to save document files. (It will also open Microsoft Works files).
Note also the size of file format. .jpg, .bmp and .png are picture files. However .bmp and .png files are usually much larger than .jpg files (This is related to file quality). Inserting any of these files into a document file causes the document file to become enlarged and can result in a massive file size. Some .doc files can be as much as several megabytes in size.
Sending files of this size can block the mailbox of someone (there are still some) who only have a dial up e-mail connection. They can also be frustrating for anyone on a slow broadband connection.
The proportion of people with Publisher installed is fairly low as it is a specialized program. The same with other specialist programs.
Therefore, to save the pain, please only send reasonable sized files (no more ideally than about 500 kilobytes) in .doc, .pdf, .jpg, .bmp and .png formats.
If you are sending a document, especially one with pictures added it will always be smaller and all users should be able to open a document which has been converted to a .pdf file.
OpenOffice.org (now LibraOffice) has a .pdf facility as standard. Microsoft Office files can be converted to .pdf by a number of free downloadable programs such as Primo.
If you stick to mailing these few formats your popularity is certain to grow.
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