This article is going to answer one of the greatest questions of our era of Google searching – which is better, PDF files or Microsoft Excel sheets? This is the ultimate comparison and competition of PDF vs XLS.
The answer is not clear-cut or straightforward as both formats have advantages that we benefit from every day.
PDF files are used to store and present information that cannot be easily edited, whereas Excel documents are used to show information through spreadsheets of rows and columns.
So, we’re going to talk you through the pros and cons of both file formats and fingers crossed, we’ll have a verdict at the end of our discussion! Join us on our quest to find the answer to this age-old question.
The Pros and Cons of Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Excel functions by helping you to create worksheets. Worksheets is just Excel’s way of describing the way they help you organize your information. And without a doubt, it’s true, Excel is extremely useful for organizing and presenting dates, figures and plans for the yearly quarters!
Excel also has an incredible table function that helps you to filter information. Imagine this: It’s Friday evening, it’s late and you’re tired. It’s been a long week and your boss just springs on you a request for an exact figure from months ago.
What do you do?
Well, with Excel you can easily search the date and find the figure in seconds! It’s so easy to use that it doesn’t need to be taught to anyone.
Unfortunately, like all programs, Excel has its downsides. Most of these flaws are pretty minor but definitely worth considering.
Excel is simply not meant to change and modify large pieces of data at a time – along the same idea, Excel isn’t built for storing that much data at one time either. It is likely that you’d have to create multiple spreadsheets for the very long pieces of data.
One of the more major downsides – you can’t run reports on Excel.
In short, Excel is great for creating links between a few different worksheets and for helping you to organize your calculations. Sadly though, it is not a database and shouldn’t be expected to behave like it is.
The Pros and Cons of PDF Files
One of the main pros of PDF files and formatting, which most people will know, is that PDFs help you to protect your intellectual property. Put plainly, this means that if you have content that you don’t want people or visitors to copy, you can protect it with PDF formatting.
This safety feature is pretty great for adding extra information to your PDF file afterwards so if you have regular readers of your content, the only source is you – so you always know that it’s your words.
PDF files are always a handy and kind of sneaky way of reducing the file size of a PowerPoint file, for example. And with so many online, free editing tools out there you can pretty much guarantee that you will find a software that will allow you to merge, compress, convert or even split your PDF files if you need.
Like Excel documents, PDF files have their shortcomings, which are always good to be aware of.
The flaw of PDF files which most people have an issue with is that a PDF file is designed to look like an A4 page about to be printed, which doesn’t always match up with the screen shape and can distort your easy to read document.
From an SEO point of view, PDFs are also far from ideal because it is harder for Google to rank the pieces of content in a document. So, if you are trying to boost your search engine content, PDF files might not be the perfect way to go about this.
PDF vs XLS: The Verdict
Ultimately, the choice was hard to make but the decision has to be PDF wins over Excel – and here’s why:
PDF files are pretty much universal. Everyone knows about them, even if they don’t use them every day. Not only that but PDF files transfer really well from Windows to Mac to Linux because their format is fixed.
From a security point of view, PDF files are the only choice to make. If you share an Excel file with a co-worker or your friend, changes could be made that you never wanted. PDF files, on the other hand, can even be password protected if you want.
Your PDF content is protected from any small changes other people might make. If you want your colleagues to be able to make comments on your PDF files, they can but you’re still left in charge of the editing.
In conclusion – both PDF files and Excel documents have their purposes, but on most counts, PDF files win out.
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