5 Most Commonly Used Document Formats Worldwide

Paper written documents are the things of the past. Information written in the paper can often get lost or erased. They cannot be edited to correct mistakes, are hard to carry around, and require careful handling.

However, with the creation of productive formats, writing has been made easy. They let us digitally write, edit, save and view documents on electronic devices. We all are familiar with these formats as we use some of them on daily basis as listed below.

Table of Contents


This is probably the most widely known format for writing documents digitally. It is created when you save a file written in Microsoft Word. You can do a lot with this format for composing a quality document. You can add tables and charts or insert pictures and clipart to create engaging files. You can edit a file as many times as you want and correct grammar mistakes with language tools. Other than these, there are endless tools present to create a DOC file according to your needs.

This format is mostly used in schools due to its simple structure. You can use it to write essays and reports for academics. Businesses can use it to create contracts and invoices.


People normally think of this format as the second most used format, but PDF has already replaced DOC in many fields. To write up an attractive document with PDF you can use tools that are similar to DOC’s except for some that create 3D drawings and include annotations. Content in a PDF format doesn’t change when you convert, print or view it in another operating system.

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Once a document is written or converted to this format, it cannot be edited further without leaving traces that are trackable which is why it is known as a legal format. Businesses, courts, retailers, and hospitals use this format to create reports, evidence, invoices and documents that can be electrically signed. Adobe created PDF and now there are several online providers with fully functional series of different PDF formats like the Sodapdf to complete numerous writing tasks.


Documents written with this format are the simplest. A file that is in TXT contains plain text which can be edited as many times as needed. There aren’t tools to insert images, tables, or graphs. Softwares that provide this format of plain text include, Notepad and WordPad. If you want to take down notes or write a text that is easy to read, this format is right one to go with.


While the above formats are used to create documents, this one is for creating and displaying presentations. A PPT file can include text, images, tables, charts, and graphs that are presented in the form of slides. This format is included in the Microsoft series supported by Microsoft PowerPoint. It is mostly used to prepare and display presentations in businesses and academics.


XLS is a spreadsheet format that is created with Microsoft Excel. A spreadsheet is a document that contains rows, columns, and cells to which data can be added to store records. This format is used widely in various businesses to gather and organize information.