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File formats - how to use them

When sumbitting a document for an assignment, it is important that the recipient be able to read and/or print the document with the software that is available to them. Thus you should choose a document format that is widely supported and does not require the recipient to buy a particular software tool. This generally means you should use one of PDF, RTF, TEXT, or OpenDocument all of which can be freely created and viewed via a number of products.

To create a document in these formats, one genrally uses the "save as" feature in the word processor software that one is using. Sometimes, one uses a feature such as "Export as" or "Print as PDF". Some versions of MS Word can output OpenDocument formatted files., and some versions can output PDF files.

For MS Windows, there are a number of free options to create a PDF from any file that you can print, such as qvPDF (open source) or CutePDF. Be careful with PDFCreator. If you use PDFCreator you likely want to unselct the option to install its "toolbar" and the "Brower Add On" - there are reports such as here that this ends up installing junk you do not want.

For Mac OS X, any program can create a PDF by using the menu "File" -> "Print..." command and selecting the "PDF" -> "Save as PDF" button.

In order to save a document in RTF/Rich Text Format, a search for the phrase Saving in Rich Text Format turns up a number of links to tutorials for most major word processing software.

Freely available software that can read and/or write some of these formats includes: Please let me know of any other freely available resources of this type.
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