File Format Policies

When sharing files with others or attaching files to e-mails, the department has the following preferences.
  1. When you need to convey simple information in an e-mail there is no need for an attachment; just put the information in the body of the e-mail
  2. When you need to attach a file use the following formats
    1. plain text (.txt suffix) when no special formatting such as bold, underline, superscripts, different fonts are needed
    2. html when basic formatting is needed (tables, bold, italics)
    3. OpenOffice open document text format (.odt) or LaTeX (.tex, .dvi) if you expect others to be able to edit the contents and you require special formatting
    4. pdf if you do not expect the recipient to edit the contents and you require special formatting
    5. OpenOffice Spreadsheet (.ods) or Gnumeric for spreadsheets
    6. OpenOffice Presentation (.odp) or LaTeX (.tex, .dvi) for slide presentations

Note that Microsoft Office formats for documents, spreadsheets, and presentations should only be used if you are sending documents outside the department and you expect the recipient to be able to edit the file or to navigate spreadsheets in special ways. Otherwise pdf is preferred.

OpenOffice is available for free on all platforms and its files are far smaller than corresponding Microsoft Office files. Make sure you have upgraded to the most recent version of OpenOffice.
Topic revision: r2 - 28 Jun 2007, LindaStewart

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