Spreadsheets are some of the most functional and widely-used documents in both work and school. People typically use them for accounting reports as well as for tabulating grades. There are various file formats used to create and save spreadsheets. And that includes the Excel or the XLS format. Excel is perhaps the most popular file format for making spreadsheets out there. But when it comes to printing and sharing spreadsheets, Excel may not take on these challenges.
And this is where PDF comes in. People use PDFs to make documents like research papers, essays, or business reports. But you can also use this ubiquitous file format to create spreadsheets, especially from Excel. But what properties do PDF have over Excel that make it great for printing and sharing spreadsheets? This article will delve deeper into this question.
It’s Easier To Print Spreadsheets in PDF Format
People convert XLS to PDF for various reasons. And one of them is because it’s easier to print spreadsheets in PDF format, unlike XLS format. You can say that the XLS format is a modified version of Word. The only difference is that the XLS format is more about numerical data and functions while Word is about the text. It means you can create and edit spreadsheets using Excel, just like making and modifying documents using Word. The real challenge lies with printing an XLS file.
XLS Don’t Preserve Every Element of The File
There will be instances when you need to include a spreadsheet in a document you need to print. On the other hand, you might also need to print a spreadsheet as a stand-alone document. XLS is not necessarily the best format for printing documents since it does not preserve the file’s integrity when opened on a different device or software. This situation happens very often, where you would need to send a file to another person who will print the spreadsheet for you.
If you open an XLS file on a different computer or even just on another software on the same device, unwanted changes would occur on every aspect of the document. It makes the spreadsheet look disorganized after printing. But this situation does not happen with PDFs. They preserve every element of the file, from the text font to the data’s position on the document. PDF ensures that the file would remain the same, regardless of whether you open the file on a different computer or software.
You Can Use Various Software Open Spreadsheets in PDF Format
Speaking of software, you can open PDF files using different apps. Developers have created several apps and software to make, open, and edit these files. After all, PDF is a popular file format all over the world. However, Adobe Acrobat is still the most trusted software that many people use for opening, creating, and editing PDF documents for both computers and mobile devices. But nowadays, Adobe Acrobat is not the only software that you can use for your PDF files. And this applies to both smartphones and computers. You can even open PDF files using a web browser like Google Chrome before you download them. But this is not always the case with XLS.
While XLS is by far the most popular format for creating spreadsheets in the world, there are only a limited number of software that you can use for opening, creating, and editing spreadsheets in XLS format. But just like PDFs, there is one software that people trust the most when it comes to making and editing XLS spreadsheets. But that title goes to Microsoft Excel. But the problem with Microsoft Excel is that using this software if you have a Mac or iOS is a big headache. Nowadays, other apps like Google Sheets are more popular for making and editing spreadsheets. As for PDF, while Adobe Acrobat has more competition, these third-party apps for PDF only serve as alternatives and not necessarily as competition.
Spreadsheets in PDF Format Are More Compact (and Secure)
And finally, the other two advantages of PDFs compared to Word when printing and sharing spreadsheets is that PDFs are compact and secure as a file format. One positive attribute of PDFs is you can compress unlimited amounts of data, including images and vectors. Even when you do that, the PDF will still be compact enough to be shared and printed quickly and efficiently. If you can compress images in a PDF file and retain the quality of the image, then what more can you do with spreadsheets using PDF files?
Security With PDF Files
But aside from being compact, PDF files are perhaps one of the most secure file formats out there. Unlike XLS, you can set up different levels of security in a PDF file, such as watermarks, passwords, or even digital signatures. These things do not only make your document more secure and safe, but it also signifies ownership of the file, especially if you prefer using a watermark in your spreadsheet in PDF format. Digital signatures also show who owns and has the copyright of the file. On the other hand, passcodes ensure that no one could access your spreadsheet in PDF format without your permission, regardless of the device used to open it. These are perhaps reasons why many people prefer using PDFs for printing and sharing, even for spreadsheets.
XLS and PDF are two different file formats that serve different purposes. Of course, these two formats have traits that make them appropriate for some situations and unusable for others. However, in some scenarios, you would need to convert a document from one file format to another for you to use it properly. This scenario is appropriate for both XLS and PDF. XLS is usually great for creating and editing spreadsheets. But PDF is the best choice if you would need to print or share that spreadsheet with different people.
So if you happen to have an XLS file with you and you need to convert it to PDF for whatever reason, you should check out PDFBear! With PDFBear, you can convert XLS or any other document format to PDF in just a few steps and a few minutes using any browser or any device that you have!