Recommendations for general distribution of documents digitally both inside and outside the University were agreed in 2002. Technology has changed since then, but certain of the recommendations remain relevant today.
Use plain text where the content is purely textual and formatting is not critical.
Use PDF where the exact layout is important (for example, to ensure that printed copies appear as intended) and the recipients are not expected to revise the document. PDF documents must be generated in such a way that they are accessible to all readers.
When recipients are expected to revise the document, or where there is informal agreement among a group of colleagues, an alternative format (for example Microsoft Word or TeX) may be used.
Keep document file names relatively short, and avoid unusual characters.
Where a document is to be made available as a web page, the University's web publishing guidelines should be followed.
Email messages should use plain text rather than HTML or rich text, to ensure they can be read on the largest possible variety of systems. In-line replies to specific sections of an email message are easier if plain text is used.
This article was published on Aug 28, 2009