Portable Document Format.

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I think CISV should make it a policy that the only file format we use internally is the PDF format. Adobe Reader is available for free and there are a ton of free "print-as-pdf" plugins available as well. So, to make life easier for everybody, everytime you attach a file to an e-mail, every document uploaded to the resources website should be a .pdf document. This should apply to documents (Word), tables (Excel) as well as in most cases presentations (PowerPoint).

Unless, of course, you are still in the process of collective editing or creating of a new document, then I guess PDF won't do the trick.

(The other day, I went through the trouble of trying to print a .docx file - only old MS Office versions around here - and only  Google Docs saved my day: If you "save a copy" first it let's you download the same file as .doc or even, you guessed it, .pdf.)

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I would like to add that beside the Adobe Reader, there are several great alternatives that a) work faster, b) are sometimes open source, c) don't install themselves into your startup-process taking up valuable memory while not even being needed and d) are less likely to be targeted by hackers in case they have a security problem, because the user base is significantly smaller than the Adobe community.

I tried using an alternative one time and never want to go back, just because of the incredible quick opening of a document in comparison to Adobe.

Examples for alternatives can be found here (under "viewers"):

One comment about making everything available as PDF: Generally great idea, but for example I love to fill out our forms on my computer so I can submit them by email and for that I love to have word/excel/... files.

The best solution would be to have PDFs with spaces to fill information into. I know those exist, I have used them, but I don't know if you can create them without great monetary/time cost.
But given the amount of paper and time saved through that, I would just love that.

i know that the national report form was(is?) done in the pdf-format where you could fill in things, so it is already in use and would probably be great to be spread.
agree with you nick!

@Nick: Most documents that are distributed by CISV International are PDFs already - check what is currently in Resources. In many cases both as Word and PDF.

I see potential to improve for Excel/Powerpoint data.

@Aninia: Filling in data in a PDF is sadly about as fun as going to the dentist. Every reader (and as Hendrik said - there are meany) will save the filled in data in a different, incompatible, format. This essentially makes it useless for the receipient who then has to manually clean what was received...

It might be a monetary problem to create PDFs where you can fill data in, but in the end it's just a, well... let's say "challange". I mean, legaly or not, it doesn't take much time to create a fill-in-PDF from a doc-document.

The bigger problem I see is, that many people, no matter what viewer they use, are not able or willig to fill the PDFs in. Right now I'm getting a couple calls each week, were parents ask me how to fill them in. Sad but true, I guess we need to expect the most stupid user we can imagine... (but it doesn't get better if we use word-, excell- or pp-files)

Another advantage of PDF: It opens really fast, and can be viewed on most mobile devices. In many cased (except for Resources that "forces" a download) you can look at the document right on the website in the browser window.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick published on November 30, 2010 2:01 PM.

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