Thursday, September 6, 2007

Please, don't send me .doc attachments!

.doc as in Microsoft Word's proprietary format file

I know, thousands of MBytes have been written on this subject, but
beside the fact that it's a proprietary format and all those points that I support:

  • Microsoft Word documents cannot always be read by other word processors.

  • Documents produced with one version of Microsoft Word cannot always be read by other versions of Microsoft Word.

  • Microsoft Word documents are not guaranteed to look and print the same way on every computer and printer.

  • Microsoft Word documents are extremely large compared to other file formats.

  • Sending Microsoft Word files can violate your privacy.

  • Microsoft Word files are a security hazard.

I'd like to highlight one more aspect: if it's not a DOCUMENT then you should not send it as an attachment at all: just copy the bloody text in the email body. Or, at least, attach it as a text file that most email readers can parse and print in the email body.
Why am I so mad?
I received, a few hours ago, a simple table (1 page long) where I had to lookup my name and confirm some data written there. But guess what, it was an attached .doc instead of plain csv in the email message. And I had to go through all the mess of downloading it and opening the editor to read it.
I also received announcements (like "some papers are due until day x, 12:00 PM") in .doc attachments, or even empty emails that gave no sign about their purpose until you opened the attached .doc.
I cannot see the rationale behind these kind of actions: I mean, I know, it was probably easier for that person to attach the .doc she created for HER OWN PURPOSE then re-format that for the rest of the world, but you don't speak your native language that the other one does not understand just because it's easier FOR YOU. If you knew what you are doing and still did it for YOUR OWN COMFORT then you're a stupid lazy bastard and you fully deserve my eternal hate!
I can't imagine that people that send .doc attachments don't now that:

  • it is so damn annoying to have to download things (where to store it (damn, the desktop is full)? oh, and now I have to wait for that to download?, etc, etc)

  • the office editor (either MS's or OpenOffice) takes some time to load and this gets really annoying if you have some other applications running (you must now this, don't you?)

Imagine how much time this takes compared to just reading a piece of text in an email! I'd probably ignore that email if it didn't concern me too, and this is actually what you were counting on, isn't it? You devil! The next time I will send the response in hexa, because it concerns you and you're the one responsible of reading it and making communication between us possible!

For all these reasons,


Tora said...

I, for one, do not send .doc attachments, and do not usually open .doc attachments (unless I have to). I, however, have a pretty good computer that allows me to open Microsoft Word (or Word Viewer) while running Eclipse, and Tomcat, and some other Java applications. So I would suggest a computer upgrade (or just add some ddram) and be calm, because people do not change easily, no matter what you say or do :).

Petru said...

Can I attach a .doc to this post? It concerns you.. it's my post inside that .doc :P And everybody who will want to read it, will have to download it.. >:)

Alex said...

Gmail parses .doc files just fine (no doubt Google Docs does it better) but for the Windows users, there's always the free non-resource wasting Microsoft Word Viewer 2003.

anca luca said...

"I refuse to be a victim" (originally by Carolyn Burnham) so:
1. I will not upgrade my computer (Tora, I could tell you were joking)
2. I will not download the attachment then upload(!!!) it to gDocs so I can read it
just because some people think that:
1. everyone has windows
2. if they don't, they should
3. if one happens to have windows also has the wonderful Office suite, which DOES NOT come with the operating system
4. people can use some crack from the internet to crack the latest office 2007 suite they downloaded from some torrent
5. it's cooler to have to download files and open them in an external program instead of just reading an email. You know, some of us DON'T find that cool (we have other stuff to keep us busy all day long) and it does NOT make us look smarter in front of the boss, au contraire...