What's the best way to share documents with Microsoft Word?

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What's the best way to share documents with Microsoft Word?

Post by martin »

Use RTF to ensure the best fidelity:
If you are working on a document in both Nisus Writer Pro and Microsoft Word — or otherwise collaborating and exchanging files with a Word user — we recommend that you use the Rich Text Format (RTF) file format. That's because support for RTF is excellent in both Nisus Writer and Microsoft Word. Nearly every feature in both applications will be preserved and transfer cleanly when using RTF.

Alternatively, you could use the "Save As" menu to create a file with a .doc file extension. When you do this Nisus Writer will create a .doc file with RTF codes inside. This achieves the same great fidelity as using RTF directly.

If you have any trouble with settings or formatting being lost when using RTF, please contact us and we will strive to fix the problem. RTF is Nisus Writer's native format, and we are dedicated to making it as robust and compatible as possible.

If you choose to export a document using the "Export As" menu (perhaps using the DOCX file format), a file conversion is required. It's possible some errors may be introduced during conversion, resulting in undesirable changes that are more serious than just a difference in text layout.

Even with perfect fidelity, text layout can change:
Even if you're using the RTF file format, and everything in your document transfers exactly between Nisus Writer and Word, there may still be small shifts in text layout or pagination. How can that be? If all the text is the same, all the formatting is the same, and other settings like the margins are the same, shouldn't the text appear on screen exactly the same?

The answer is that file formats like RTF and DOCX are designed for living editable documents that do not attempt to provide exact text layout. These file formats are concerned with what you've written and what formatting you've applied, not where exactly each and every line and character should appear on the page.

When you open some text in Nisus Writer or Word, each application uses its own text layout engine to place that text on the screen. This process is called text layout or typesetting. Nisus Writer uses a modified version of the "Cocoa" layout engine provided by Apple; it appears that Microsoft Word does not use this layout engine. These two layout engines can place exactly the same text in different ways on screen.

Usually any small layout differences aren't noticeable, but if your document needs very precise layout, it's something to be aware of. Also, sometimes small layout differences can accrue. For example, a few lines of text wrapping early here or there may result in an extra page or two over the course of a long document.
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