What's wrong with text?
These days, the standard format for a text document is one of these two: either Microsoft's Word or Adobe's PDF. It doesn't matter whether they travel over the Internet, by e-mail or copying and pasting the file to a USB drive, it is usually one of the two.
I understand these two formats are popular and "pretty", but recently I have started to doubt they are the best options we can use. Here I tell you why.
Both are proprietary
First, because both are proprietary. Although they have become compatible, and we can open both a .doc and a .pdf file with a variety of software, this has not been exactly because of their creators' will to provide openness and help the exchange of information. Quite the opposite, year after year they have both developed "new versions" which are in theory more "enhanced", and "allow users to do more things easier". Truth is that all those new versions seem to have been made to try to leave competition behind, so that those two manufacturers could stay as the only members of those markets.
Second, these two formats are large. This article weighs (yes, up to here) 12 kb if saving it under Microsoft's .doc format, 14 kb if saving it under Adobe's .pdf format, and just 2 kb under the standard old-fashioned .txt format. What's the use of saving it under either of them, then? Besides the spell-check or the availability of drawing a table, I can't find a serious reason to save, store, or email a simple text file in either of those two file formats.
Third, they are usually horrible. No offence, but people in general do not have a much-developed sense of aesthetics; so text documents usually end up being saved in a very simple font, an uncomfortable text size, bold and italics where they are not needed, and a pile of other small atrocities. Of course, there are exceptions, but all in all, text documents are all the same: Arial, Times New Roman, Georgia or Verdana font at 11 or 12 points, about 2 cm of text margin on top or bottom... Shall I continue?
The alternative is going back to basics: A simple, non-wrapped text file can be shared over the Internet faster and even in the message itself. It can be opened by every single word processor in the world, and, if you need some aesthetic work, you can do it easily afterwards. In addition, using a simple text format, you release me from the obligation of acquiring an expensive proprietary "new version", or of waiting until open source software developers manage to decode how to open it in full. We would both save time.
I understand common word processors are useful because of the tools they provide (spell-checker, grammar checker, thesaurus, hyphenation, drawing of tables and simple diagrams), but for common use, a simple text file is more than enough.
Arts and expression + Opinion