Sharing documents with others sounds simple enough, right? You send it via email, on a USB drive or through a cloud storage service. However, it’s not always as straight-forward as it might seem. What you see on your screen isn’t always what others will see on their screen.
Sadly, there are quite a few problems that come with sharing your documents. The good news is there are ways around it to ensure your documents show up the way you intend them to.
1. Compatibility Errors Between Programs
There’s not just one word processor tool available, which means there isn’t just one common file type either. While many people opt for .doc, that doesn’t mean there still won’t be compatibility issues between programs. While Filestack lists just some of the most common document file extensions, you should note that there are even more.
When you try to open a document that’s not supported by another program, you’ll get compatibility errors. If the program is able to open the file, you’ll probably just get a bunch of gibberish instead of a nicely formatted document. When you’re sharing documents with a client, this isn’t the first impression you want to make.
2. Formatting Issues
Formatting issues are the most common type of problem you’ll encounter when sharing documents with others. Maybe you set the line spacing to 1.5, but when someone else opens the document, it’s double spaced between lines. It’s not anything either of you’ve done. It’s just how different systems read the exact same file.
MakeTechEasier shows that even when you use a cloud-based solution like Google Docs, you still get formatting issues. Of course, some users find that certain word processing programs, like Word, display formatting differently on different systems.
For instance, one user sent a 226-page Word document to a client that was using a different version of Word. The client’s version showed the file was 330 pages and was formatted completely different.
3. Content Missing Completely
While formatting errors are annoying, at least those you share with can decipher the content. What if content is missing completely? For instance, if you use a font in one word processor that’s not available in another, that content might not show at all. This could range from just a few lines to your entire document.
4. Can’t Open Or Edit Files
Many programs will at least try to open your document, even if there are compatibility errors. However, one of the more common problems with sharing documents with others is the inability to open or edit the file. If they can’t open it, sharing becomes pointless. If you need to collaborate on a document, being able to open, but not edit ruins the potential for collaboration.
5. Newer Or Older File Extension Errors
As word processors change over time, sometimes the file extensions change too. For instance, Microsoft Office Word went from .doc to .docx. Early versions of Word can’t open the newer .docx extension. While the newer versions of Word can open the older .doc, you’ll need a special reader just to open a .docx file if you’re using an older version of Word.
As file extensions change, the problems with sharing documents with others increases.
6. Your Content’s Message Isn’t Delivered
Between formatting errors and missing content, another issue is created – your content’s message isn’t clear. Another person might completely misinterpret what you’re trying to say. Or, it’ll lead to a long email chain of explanations, which usually end up longer than the original document.
Avoiding These Issues
There is a workaround, however. Obviously, using the same version of the same word processor is ideal. You’ll also want to use a word processing tool that supports most file types, such as WPS Office.
The other solution is to convert your documents to PDF before sending. This retains the original formatting, no matter what computer or device the file is opened on. Plus, PDF readers are usually free, if a user doesn’t have a native program to support them.
Some word processors support not only viewing PDFs, but converting them editable documents. This means as you share back and forth, you can convert to and from PDF to retain formatting and avoid all the above issues. WPS Office Premium allows you to do this easily.