PDF vs Doc: Difference and Comparison

Documents play a vital role in communication. The document is at the core of every operation for several institutions handling and creating. They are also used in colleges and schools for writing up projects and papers.  

PDF and DOC are two of the popular formats used in the age of the computer. It becomes easier with these two for sending and editing documents. Sometimes they are quite confusing to several people. But they are different in many terms. 

Key Takeaways

  1. PDFs are more secure than DOCs because they cannot be edited easily.
  2. DOCs are better for editing because they can be easily modified.
  3. PDFs are better for sharing documents because they preserve formatting.


PDF is a file format for viewing documents across different platforms and devices and can contain text, images, graphics, and other media. DOC is a file format that is editable, meaning users can change the content and formatting of the document, and can be saved as different file formats, including PDF.


The abbreviation for Portable Document Format is PDF. PDF file formats are adaptable with any operating system and can be viewed using web browsers.


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Privacy features are the main reason for its popularity. While converting a regular document to a PDF file without sacrificing the document quality automatically reduces the file size.  

DOC is a type of document file format that stands for document file. It is used by Microsoft Word and also be used with most word processing software like OpenOffice.

It can contain formatted graphs, tables, images, text, print settings, and page formatting. Whenever a new version of Microsoft Word launches, there is a slight change in DOC format standards. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPDFDOC
InterpretationIt is a file format for sending and capturing electronic documents entirely in the intended format.It is a file extension for the document of word processing.
DeveloperAdobe systemsMicrosoft
Initial release19931983
File extension.pdf.doc
Open standardYesNo

What is PDF? 

PDF (Portable Document Format) was developed in 1992 by Adobe as a file format. It is used to present documents, including images and text formatting, in a manner independent of hardware, operating systems, and application software.

PDF has its roots in a project, namely The Camelot Project, Initiated in 1991 by adobe co-founder Dr. John Warnock.  

PDF is based on the postscript language. In 2008, it was standardized as ISO 32000. The last edition of the PDF was published in December 2020 as ISO 32000- 2: 2020.

Each PDF file precisely describes a fixed-layout flat document consisting of the fonts, raster images, vector graphics, and other information required to display it.  

PDF files might contain several contents besides flat text and graphics.

Graphics mainly consists of logical structuring elements and interactive elements like annotations and form fields, rich media, layers, three-dimensional objects (using PRC and U3D), and other data formats.

PDF offers benefits like high-quality printing, free viewing software, and combines multiple formats.

PDF specification provides file attachments, digital and encryption signatures, and metadata to enable workflows that’s why these features are required.

Additional features are optional content groups, file attachments, multimedia, forms, and logical structure and accessibility.


What is DOC? 

Document or word documents, DOC is a filename extension. It is commonly found in Microsoft Word Binary File Format and is widely accepted as a word-processing document.

This extension was used for plain text documentation, especially for the written programs for computer software and hardware.  

In 1983, the DOC extension was chosen by Microsoft for the Microsoft Word program. The DOC format was activated in the word version of 97 to 2003.

In 2007, office open XML format replaced DOC format as default by Microsoft. The “Docx” is the new extension for word files.  It can be used in memos, projects, letters, editing, and writing docs, etc.  

Any operating system is compatible with DO files, though the person has to purchase the Office software of Microsoft.

To edit and view document files, free software programs have been recently launched, such as AbiWord, OpenOffice, and Kword. DOC is compatible with system accessibility to word reading software.  

The Microsoft Word software can distribute and produce documents using writing tools. The documents also consist of formatted text, graphs, charts, tables, page formatting, images, and print settings.

It is possible to convert word files into PDF documents. 


Main Differences Between PDF and DOC

  1. The reading software required for PDF is Adobe Acrobat reader. On the other hand, Kword, AbiWord, Msword, and OpenOffice are required for reading the DOC.  
  2. PDF is password protected and does not allow editing, whereas it is difficult to password protect in DOC, and with the help of word, it can be edited by anyone.  
  3. When it comes to compatibility, PDF is compatible with Mac, smartphones, Windows, and Linux, while DOC is compatible with system accessibility to word reading software.  
  4. PDF can be used in online transfer, legal docs, e-books, business docs, etc. On the flip side, DOC can be used in memos, projects, letters, editing, and writing docs, etc.  
  5. PDF offers benefits like high-quality printing, free viewing software, and combines multiple formats. But DOC features editing, word processing, and reusing images and text. 
Difference Between PDF and Doc
  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/6113216/
  2. https://www.openoffice.org/sc/compdocfileformat.pdf
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