About File Formats

Papers may be posted at semanticsarchive.net in any of a wide variety of file formats. The format can normally be identified by the suffix of the file name (i.e., ".pdf" or ".doc", etc.). Browsers often use this suffix to decide how to display a file, which is why it is important to include it in the filename when uploading a file to the archive.

The following table identifies some of the more common file formats, and gives information on how to read and create files in each of them.

Format Suffix Comments
Portable Document Format .pdf Our recommended format: currently the most portable and robust format for viewing on various platforms and operating systems.

To read PDF files, use Adobe Acrobat Reader, available as a free download.

To create PDF files, use Adobe Acrobat, available commercially. PDF files can also be created using Adobe's PDF Online Service, or with utilities such as CutePDF Writer or PrimoPDF. Some wordprocessing software packages, such as OpenOffice and Corel WordPerfect, allow you to save directly to PDF. PDF files may be created in Latex, using dvipdfm. It is also possible to create PDF files by converting from PostScript format, using Alladin Ghostscript.

PostScript .ps PostScript files are not always portable, and do not allow automatic file compression. However, they are much better in terms of portability than, say, Word documents, and in many situations PostScript files work just fine.

To read PostScript files, print them on a PostScript printer, or use Ghostscript, available as a free download. (In addition to Ghostscript, users should download a previewer such as GSView, available at the same site.)

To create PostScript files, first make sure a printer definition for a PostScript printer is set up on your machine. Configure it to print to a file rather than a port. Compose your document in any ordinary wordprocessor, then print it using this fictional "printer." For more details, see your system or wordprocessor documentation.

Microsoft Word .doc To read Word documents, use Microsoft Word, available commercially. Most Word documents will also display properly in other wordprocessing software, such as OpenOffice or Corel WordPerfect.

To create Word documents, also use Microsoft Word. Most other wordprocessing packages, such as OpenOffice and WordPerfect, also allow you to save in Word format.

Caution: Word documents may contain malicious programming, in the form of macros. We recommend scanning Word documents with virus protection software before opening.

TeX and LaTeX .tex, .dvi LaTeX is the standard in many technical fields, since it is especially good at typesetting mathematical expressions.

To read LaTeX documents in .dvi format use xdvi; but TeX documents are almost always first converted to PostScript or PDF before viewing.

To create LaTeX documents, see the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network for details on installing free versions of LaTeX on UNIX, PCs, or Macs. We recommend converting from .dvi to PDF using the free software program dvipdfm.

Web page .html, .htm To read HTML files, use any web browser, such as Mozilla Firefox.

To create HTML files, use any html editor, such as Nvu.

Rich Text Format .rtf To read RTF files, use any commercial wordprocessor.

To create RTF files, use any commercial wordprocessor.

ASCII text .txt To read a text file, use any commercial wordprocessor or text-editing utility.

To create a text file, use any commercial wordprocessor or text-editing utility.

Caution: Files with suffixes such as .exe, .com, .pif, .bat, .scr or .vbs are unlikely to be papers, and may contain malicious programming. Use caution in downloading such files; we strongly recommend scanning with virus protection software.


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