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How do I send a Microsoft Word document to someone who does not have Word on their computer?

Answer: If you would like to send a Word document to someone that does not have the Microsoft Word program on their computer, you have a number of options.

After saving the file you wish to send in the regular Microsoft Word format, choose "Save As..." from the File menu. Then choose "RTF" from the list of file types, which means Rich Text Format. RTF files keep the text formatting, such as the fonts used, the size of the text, bold, italics, etc., but may lose some other formatting such as page margins and line spacing that is embedded in the Word document. Fortunately, RTF documents can be opened by just about any text program (Notepad, Word Pad, Text Edit, etc.).

The safest way to save the Word document is in text format, which should be readable by any computer. Just select "Save As..." and choose "Text" as the file type. You will lose all formatting, but the actual text will remain the same.

If you have Adobe Acrobat, you can save the file as a PDF, which can be read by the free Acrobat Reader program for Mac and Windows. If you are running Mac OS X, you can choose "Print," then click the "Save as PDF" option located in the Print dialog box.

Finally, if the person you are sending the file to has an earlier version of Microsoft Word, you can choose "Save As..." and just select an earlier version of Microsoft Word. Note that recent versions of Word for Mac can read Windows Word documents and vice versa.

If all else fails, you can just copy the text from the Word document and paste it into the e-mail itself. But then you miss out on the joy of sending an attachment!

Published: July 6, 2004 — by Per Christensson

Answer from the PC Help Center