Econ 479

The Art of Writing, the Science of Economics

On file formats

Some of you have written to ask about file formats. As I said in the syllabus, I ask that you save your files in the “rtf.” or “.doc,” and not “.docx,” format. The last is the proprietary format of the newest edition of Microsoft Word, which is not yet industry standard–just as most businesses continue to use Windows XP, and not Windows Vista. If you send a business client a file that he or she has to struggle to convert, then you are not likely to make the best impression–and you always want to make the best impression.

Use the “save as” command, therefore, to save your work in either Rich Text Format (RTF) or Word 97-2004 format. And be sure to follow the font specification as well: in a business setting, you will never go wrong using 12-point Times New Roman, whereas not all of your clients and associates will have the newer fonts that come bundled with the new Microsoft software.

Written by gregorymcnamee

September 17, 2008 at 6:18 pm

2 Responses

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  1. When will Microsoft 2007 be considered the industry standard? It is practically 2009 and the business world hasn’t updated its software since 2004? All computers at UofA have made the transition. I feel these companies should expect files in the latest format and they should download the free converter package themselves if they do not want to update. In order to make the best impression, I think one would want to show that he or she is technologically advanced, not still using Word97.


    September 24, 2008 at 6:56 pm

  2. Good question, Madison. Businesses are typically slow to upgrade software, since they have to pay for time lost as workers learn to use what may or may not enhance productivity later. But businesses have been very slow to take to Office 2007, mostly because—so I’ve read—it was thought buggy on its first release, and because overall businesses have not switched to Vista (for the same reason), changes in operating systems always being a good excuse to upgrade other software.


    September 24, 2008 at 8:14 pm

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