Word Attachments

I have received a number of Word attachments recently. Nowadays, I only touch MS Word when I am forced to by other people, as I rely on TextWrangler, TextEdit, OpenOffice and LaTex for my various text related activities.

I started to summarize why I think people should avoid Word, especially as e-mail attchments, but then I found some web pages with more well-thought and well-rounded arguments:

– Manuel M T Chakravarty’s Attachments in Proprietary Formats Considered Harmful

– Jeff Goldberg’s MS-Word is {Not} a document exchange format

– Richard M. Stallman’s We Can Put an End to Word Attachments

Good alternatives to the word DOC format is RTF or HTML, and this are easily writable and readable on all software and platforms I have tested recently.

Concerning PDFs: OS X has PDF-support built into the system. Windows people without an acrobat license can use CutePDF which supposedly is a totally free PDF maker for windows (many of the other free programs around are not that free when you start using them), but I don’t have any windows machines aroundt to test it right now.

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Alexander Refsum Jensenius is a music researcher and research musician living in Oslo, Norway.

One thought on “Word Attachments”

  1. Alex Mamishev University of Washington: I was looking through your page for signal processing software (I’m and electrical engineer), and came across your rant about LaTeX vs Word. My students write documents of several hundred pages with a dozen of contributors in Word routinely, faster and more productively than when working in LaTeX. This became a side project for me. We keep making self-explanatory templates available on http://www.streamtoolsonline.org/index.php/templates/, feel free to use them if this becomes of interest.

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