.doc vs .docx – Which & why?

March 18, 2015 at 11:40 am | Posted in copywriting | 4 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Begin with the end in mind.

Begin with the end in mind.

I got a new editing project the other day.

A piece of technical writing destined to pass through many hands.

It’s also intended to form part of a series.

I always start a job by setting ground rules. And given this brief, the need for consistency from the start was paramount.

So the first question I sent to my client was:

‘Hi there!

I want to save everyone a lot of hassle by deciding which Word document format we’re all going to use.

I use Word 97-2003 (.doc) format.

This ensures everyone in the food chain can access and use it, regardless of how old their software is.

However, the document you sent me is in the more modern Word Document (.docx) format.

I want to ‘dumb down’ your files to Word 97-2003 (.doc) format.

Not just for the reason outlined above.

But because if we have two formats flying around, the various filenames won’t always appear together when we look for them in folders.

This could create problems.

My guess is that you have up-to-date software, with a Word template that automatically creates new documents in .docx format.

If so, you should be able to switch this to .doc format.

But before doing so, you may wish to see what format your staff, designer and publisher are using, so everyone is on the same page.

There are pros and cons to .doc and .docx:

You may decide you want the bells and whistles of .docx and that my ultra-conservative .doc approach isn’t for you.

If you and your people really want to use .docx going forward, that’s totally cool.

So long as everyone knows this, has the software to do so, and complies.

This may sound like a tiny and arcane point, but making this simple decision now could avert dramas down the track.

To this end, could you please let me know which way you (and your team!) wish to go?

Kind regards,

P.’

My client’s reply was wonderfully clear and concise.

So much so that I wondered if she needed an editor at all.

She wrote:

‘Yes revert to .doc.’

What a wonderful way to begin!

🙂

Brought to you by The Feisty Empire.

Pic by rahego.

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4 Comments »

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  1. Reblogged this on Desolie: thoughts about editing, writing and words and commented:
    Setting the ground rules before starting the editing process ‘…may sound like a tiny and arcane point, but making this simple decision now could avert dramas down the track.’
    Paul Hassing, copywriter, editor, author, shares his experience.

    • Dear Desolie, nothing screams ‘success’ like being reblogged by you. Thank you for being an advocate of the first water. Kind regards yet again, P. 🙂

  2. Ground rules and style sheets are fundamental to excellent editing.

    I confess to not knowing the pros and cons of the two formats – thank you. I’ll need to include that point in my pre-editing checklist.

    #loveyourwork.

    • Hi, Desolie. I was hoping I’d strke a chord with you. I too had to look up the rules of this microcosm. Just to see how they stacked up against my instinct for keeping things simple and safe. A bit like using Arial, I suppose. As far as I’m concerned, all stakeholders can go nuts AFTER the content is approved. Until then, Keep. It. Simple. Best regards, P. 🙂


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