One beneficial characteristic of the digital ecosystem is the number of digital solutions serving a single purpose. Want to watch a movie? You’ve got at least ten different video players. Need to create a word document? There are no less than five word processing applications specifically designed for that job. Following this trend, it comes as no surprise then that there are several text file types, each with distinct peculiarities and unique use cases. In this article, we’ve gone gathered and reviewed a list of the top text file types that are worth the mention and certainly worth your consideration.
If you’re a user of Microsoft’s massively popular word processing application – MS Word, chances are that you’re already familiar with its native DOC/DOCX file format. Depending on the MS Word version, documents are by default saved either as a DOC or DOCX document.
DOC/DOCX documents are traditional text files that have the added ability to host images, tables and other graphic elements in addition to rich formatting. They are compact, readily editable by third parties, and easily shared. This makes them the ideal text file type for office documents, essays, reports and everything else that requires easy on-the-fly editing and sharing.
RTF like DOC/DOCX was developed by Microsoft. Unlike the latter two, however, RTF files cannot house images, videos or other graphical elements. What you get with an RTF document is a plain, formatted text without any extras. This invariably limits their use case to the creation and management of text-only documents, the likes of contracts, invoices or letters. That being said, they make up for this limited capability with limitless compatibility – RTF files are compatible with virtually every word processing application available today.
The TXT text file type is perhaps the most popular and widely used text file format in existence today. It’s a relatively simple and stripped down text format that houses only raw text – there’s no support for images, formatting or any other extras. Like most other text formats, however, they can be edited and shared easily across devices.
If the goal is to present a document in the most detailed and best light possible, then PDF is the way to go. Developed by Adobe, this file type has the innate ability to contain everything from images, to table, to graphs and even 3D modeled drawings.
PDFs are also unique in that they are essentially non-editable, and for the most part, will retain their formatting across different PDF readers and different devices. This fixed-layout architecture makes them the ideal candidate for documents that will eventually go to print. Their tamper-proof nature paired with the fact that they can be locked with a password or outright encrypted also makes them suitable for large scale document sharing and distribution.
The ODT file type is very similar to the DOC/DOCX file type we talked about earlier. Both can contain graphs, images, graphical objects, and tables in addition to rich formatting. Both file types are also direct products of word processing suites, with the only difference being that ODT files originate from open source word processors like Libre office, compared to DOC/DOCX files that are native to Microsoft Word.
The open source nature of ODT files grants them wide compatibility with text-capable applications, a feat that has greatly improved its popularity and usage stats.
All in all, these are the text file formats that stand out from the crowd. While they’re many more from where these came from, you’re more likely to come across this bunch as you go about your daily text-related activities. Provided you’re trying to design a space shuttle in a word document they should be more than capable of handling whatever text related task you throw at them.