"This cannot be stressed enough," so naturally we listen up to what John Carter has to say. "No matter what application you use to create a document, if you want to share that document with a non-Apple user, then you must save the document in a format that anyone can open. That format is either TXT, PDF, RTF or RTFD.
"A TXT file (.txt) is a plain file and can be opened by anyone with a number of different applications. But this format cannot include many special fonts, any fancy formatting (tabs are allowed) or any images.
"PDF is the Adobe Postscript Document format. The Mac uses Preview to view this format. Windows must use Adobe Reader. When you save or export a document in PDF format, what the other people see is exactly what you created the document as.
"RTF is the Microsoft Rich Text Format. The Mac uses Preview to view this format. Windows can use Word, Wordpad, or Notepad to view this format. What the other people see most likely will NOT be exactly as you see it. Microsoft will substitute fonts and may even change some formatting. If images are embedded in the document, chances are they won’t be in the right place. There may be severe restrictions on formatting and image types that can be employed in an RTF format.
"RTFD is similar to RTF and also allows some fancy formatting and some image types. When using TextEdit to create a document, this is the default format if certain fonts or images are included."
But that's not all. John goes on with more details.
"However, if you use either NeoOffice, OpenOffice, or LibreOffice to create a document in the OpenDocument format (see this link for a description of OpenDocument format) and if the Windows user has either OpenOffice or LibreOffice, then whatever you create and save in the default format they will be able to open and it will appear to them exactly as you see it with only one possible side effect — fonts may be substituted if the user doesn’t have exactly the same font installed on his/her machine. This may not alter the appearance any, or slightly if at all.
"In Windows and starting with MS Office 2007 using a free plugin called OpenXML/ODF Translator (available here) , a user could open an OpenDocument file, but the document may not survive formatting and some fonts may be substituted. Although MS Office attempted to comply with the OpenDocument standards, Microsoft still insisted on making some changes of their own.
"If you do use NeoOffice, OpenOffice or LibreOffice to create an OpenDocument file and you want to share it with another Apple user, then he/she can open it with TextEdit. But not Pages, Numbers or Keynote because these Apple products don’t know anything about the OpenDocument standard.
"Just so you know, the extensions for an OpenDocument file are as follows:
Text = .odt
Presentation = .odp
Spreadsheet = .ods
"The equivalent for MS Office (prior to 2007) is:
Text = .doc
Presentation = .ppt
Spreadsheet = .pps
"For a complete treatise on the new MS Office extensions, see this link.
"The equivalent for Apple is:
Text = .pages
Presentation = .keynote
Spreadsheet = .numbers
"Before sharing a document with anyone, make sure that they have the right application to work with the document you want to share.