Tuesday, September 24, 2013

DOCX is Not a Portable Document Format

We have had some customers wonder why .docx files display differently in Microsoft Office on OSX versus Office on Windows.


Layout in all documents depends upon font metrics. There are vertical and horizontal font metrics. Even if horizontal metrics look the same, the vertical metrics can be so different that the text line with the substituted font takes more or less vertical space than it does for the original font. This affects the layout of the entire document.

Mac OSX has its own set of fonts that are not available on Windows. If you have Office installed on OSX then it also adds typical Microsoft Office fonts. The Mac has a super-set of fonts and that means that documents converted on Windows  have more chances to be displayed well on Mac than vice versa.

Windows and OSX

Microsoft Word is a word processor. While it has powerful formatting and design functionality it was never written to maintain the original document formatting for printing and viewing on multiple computer platforms. This is the purpose of PDF - Portable Document Format.