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Saving Your Stuff

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Saving a File As Another Type

Different programs create different types of files. WordPad saves files in the Microsoft Word 6.0 file format, unless you tell it otherwise. However, suppose that you're exchanging files with someone using AppleWorks on a Macintosh. You have to save your document in a common file format, something both WordPad and the other guy's program can digest.

Most Windows applications enable you to save a document as another file type. You can use the Save As dialog box to change the format to something else.

Continue this chapter's WordPad tutorial:

  • Summon the Save As dialog box again.

Choose File—Save As from the menu. You're trying to save the file "as" something else; choosing File—Save at this point would merely resave the current document, Beam Me Up.

  • Drop down the Save As Type list.

You see the smattering of file formats WordPad allows you to use for saving documents, as shown in Figure 3.4.

Figure 3.4
File types for WordPad.
A. Select the format for saving the file.
B. Standard format for all WordPad documents.
C. A text format with formatting information included.
D. Plain text.
E. Plain text (again).
F. A format no one uses.
G. This window shows only those files matching the file type listed.

Suppose that someone on the Internet wants you to send him a copy of your file, but as a text message:

  • Choose Text Document.

Word for Windows 6.0 is replaced by Text Document in the Save As dialog box.

In the Text Document file format, WordPad saves only your document's text; no formatting information (bold, italics, justification, colored text) is saved.

  • Click Save.

A warning dialog box appears, explaining that the document will overwrite the one you already have on disk. Whoops! Better change the name.

  • Click No.

It's always a good idea to enter a new filename when you change the file type.

  • Type My Story as the filename.

  • Click Save.

More warnings! This time you're told that saving a text file removes all formatting. That's what you want, so:

  • Click Yes.

The file is saved to disk as text only, which just about any computer anywhere in the world can digest.

Notice that the text appears in the WordPad window as one or two long lines. That's okay; text files are unformatted, which means that they lack right margins.

  • Close WordPad.

Choose File—Exit from the menu.

  • The only time you need to save a file in a specific format is when you're directed to do so, either by a manual, unconscious compulsion, or under other circumstances, such as when you share a file with another person. This situation happens most often with graphics programs. For example, most scanning software saves files in the TIFF file format, yet you should save the images in the GIF file format if you plan to email them to a friend.

  • The file format, or type, normally used by a program is referred to as the native, or default, format. For WordPad, it's the Microsoft Word for Windows 6.0 file format.

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Unicode format is used in some countries that have specialized alphabets, such as the Kanji alphabet in Japan.

  • The Microsoft Word format is also known as the "doc" file format.

  • The RTF file format is very common. It's a plain-text format, which means that any computer can read those files, and the RTF document retains formatting information. If you want to exchange files with someone who uses another type of word processor, RTF format is the best one to choose.

  • Text formats save files as text only; letters, numbers, and other characters are saved, but no formatting information is saved.

  • Honestly, I can't tell any difference between Text format and MS-DOS format. I just choose Text format.

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