2011-06-16 13:37:50

Basic information about documents and how to open document files

About documents

In computer terminology, document file format can be described as a text, or binary data file type, used to store formatted documents (texts, pictures, cliparts, tables, charts, multiple pages, multiple documents etc.). Today, there is a multitude of incompatible document file formats.

The most known document file extensions are used for documents created by Microsoft Office suite, such as DOC and DOCX for Microsoft Word documents, XLS and XLSX for Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and also PPT and PPTX for Microsoft PowerPoint presentations.
Microsoft Office Document format contains collection of records and structures that specify text, tables, fields, pictures, embedded XML markup, and other importatn document content.

The main competitors to the Microsoft Office document formats are OpenDocument Formats (ODF) used by the open source suite called OpenOffice.org and its clones.
The OpenDocument Format is an open XML-based document file format for office applications used for documents containing text (ODT), spreadsheets (ODS), presentations (ODP), and graphical elements (ODG).

Special document formats are file types using page description languages such as PostScript like Portable document format (PDF) developed by Adobe Systems, that you can read with the help of e.g. Adobe Acrobat Reader. PDF is a standard for documents, which the user should be able only to create and read, but not edit. PDF format has become an ISO standard in 2001 and today its widely used.

The most used open international standard are the HTML (HyperText Markup Language) files, which can also be used as document file format.

The most known applications, that are able to open many of the document file formats are office suites such as Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org, StarOffice (commercial version of OpenOffice.org), Corel WordPerfect and Apple iWork under MAC OS X.

You can check all document file formats sorted by name in our Documents file type category, that you can access from the main page on the left category bar.

How to open document files

Many of the document formats can be opened in most Office suites. However some special proprietary documents are only used by its respective application.

Simply check our database for the document file extension you are looking for and in the table below its description you will see a table with software, sorted by platform and actions, that is able to perform a specific action with the documents, such as open, edit, create, print, etc..

Example of document software table of recommended applications, sorted by platforms and by actions they are able to perform.

You can also click on each software to open its own web entry on our website, that often contains additional useful information about it, such as developer, website, reviews or other useful articles.

How to open unknown documents

More information can also be found in our how to identify unknown file formats article.

Other Related articles:

Following articles in our database share the subject:

Tips how to open and work with the Microsoft Office and OpenOffice.org documents

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