Microsoft: "PDF Is Where Documents Go to Die"

By Sam Gibbs on at

Love it or hate it, the humble PDF is everywhere in our "paperless" society. It's not exactly the easiest of formats to actually work with though, unless you're just printing something in a virtual form. According to Microsoft it's a "roach motel for data".

Talking to the folks over at TechRadar, Microsoft's Office 2013 general manager, Chris Pratley, was rather scathing about Adobe's open sourced document format:

"PDF is where documents go to die. Once something is in PDF, it's like a roach motel for data. I could print it but that's not so useful. I copy a table and take that back to Word with high hopes and what I get is not that great."

I have to say I'm inclined to agree. PDFs can be great as a direct substitute for paper -- something you print off and that's that, no coming back, no re-editing. But we're in a world were we shouldn't have to have something we can't edit any more. Yes, by all means virtually print something into a format that's easy to open and widely distributed, but make it editable if you want it to be.

Microsoft has apparently made inroads to that effect, with what it calls PDF Flow. You can essentially open PDFs directly in Word, as live, editable documents like anything else. Sounds almost like the best of both worlds, then.

Pratley also went on at length about this new generation of Word is designed for people who don't actually print anything anymore, which is quite a lot of us I should imagine, so the whole interview is well worth a read. [TechRadar]

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