PDF vs Microsoft Office: Pros & Cons

The PDF format is the golden standard for documents, bank statements, business reports and much more. However, is it the best format and when should you use it instead of the Office package?

In this article, we are going to reveal the pros and cons of both PDF and Microsoft Office to give you an idea on which one to use.

The PDF Benefits

First and foremost, we will start with the advantages of the PDF Format. When is it suitable to use then and why?

The layout

The PDF format is often used for document distribution amongst people. Companies often use them to share content such as newsletters, presentations, documents and much more.

The PDF file contains all fonts, layout designs and formatting, which allows it to render the same way as it was created without relying on third-party software or hardware.

If you’ve ever shared a Microsoft Word document, then you might already know about the rendering issues they have. For example, if you send a .doc file to another user who uses a different application, then the layout of the file might be messed up.

Quality Printing

Due to the fact that PDFs are self-contained, most printing shops will prefer them over Word documents. In fact, some might even decline the Office formats.

The PDF files are “What You See is What You Get” (WYSIWYG). This means that the content will appear on all devices, the same way it appears on yours. The same goes for printing copies, which means that the layout won’t be compromised in any way.

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That’s why PDFs are often a preferred choice when it comes to printing flyers, posters, presentations and business documents.

Multiple Formats

Let’s say that you want to mix things within your Office files like adding text into presentations or mixing Excel charts with PowerPoint slides. It is possible, but it might significantly decrease the performance of your files and the finished document might not look the same way on all devices.

That’s where the PDF comes in handy. They support images, graphics, HTML, text, slides and so much more. In the end, you will have a beautifully arranged, self-contained file.


When it comes to interactive content, PDFs are always a preferred choice, even though that Office offers a similar customisation. When it comes to feedback forms, application forms or other files that require data entry, there’s nothing better than PDF.

  • Notes: As a creator, you can add notes to guide users throughout the file and clarify information.
  • Fixed Fields: Readers won’t be able to edit/delete fields or miss those that are mandatory.
  • Formulas: PDF supports equations, formulas and charts, similar to the Excel files.
  • Signature: With some additional services, you can easily add a digital signature to your document in a secure and easy way.


Nowadays, most advanced browsers have a built-in PDF viewing option, which allows you to open all files within your browser.

Of course, it is limited mostly to reading purposes only. In case that you want something more sophisticated, then you can take a look at our recommendations for a professional PDF reading software.

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Are you looking for a powerful text editing tool? Then, the Microsoft Word is the one for you. The PDF isn’t a text processor and doesn’t offer even the slightest editing options that the Office package has.

Furthermore, if you want to edit text in a later stage of the process, then you might have trouble editing the PDF. By nature, the PDF format was not made for editing purposes, as its idea is to keep the original layout. We would even say that the PDF is simply an image of an existing document, rather than the original and editable file.

Moreover, they lack the collaboration features, which cuts down on productivity considerably. If you’re looking for a collaboration bundle, then you’d want to go for Microsoft Office, as they allow real-time collaborations.

In case that you don’t know whether you’re ready for a professional version of your PDF reader, then you might want to check SodaPDF’s web version that offers a great range of features at little to no cost.

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