Tech Tuesday: “I can’t open that file on my computer”

Each Tuesday, pleasureinlearning brings you Tech Tuesday.  Come back each week for more ways to become efficient and effective in your use of technology.  ~~

Have you ever had a student come to you complaining that they can’t open a file you distributed?  Don’t let this happen to you ever again!

I find that there are two kinds of files that I distribute.  There are files that I want students to open, modify, and return to me.  These are usually Word documents. Then, there are files that I simply want them to open and read, like the syllabus.  I can’t help you get them to READ the files, but I can certainly help you with the OPENing part.

For the first kind of file, I have begun saving my files in the Rich Text Format (.rtf).  This is a format that any word processing software can open and edit.  To save a file in the .rtf format, use Save As and change the file type.  If you do this when you initially save the document, then you will be able to update and retain the document in .rtf just like your students.

For the second kind of file, I use the Portable Document Format (.pdf).  The .pdf format is readable by anyone with free reading software, such as Adobe Reader.  To save a document in this format, use Save As and change the file type.  Every time you edit the original (likely a regular Word document), you will have to save as a new .pdf as you can’t edit a .pdf.

Save As


3 comments on “Tech Tuesday: “I can’t open that file on my computer”

  1. Reblogged this on Passion for Technology and commented:
    There have been many cases of file format (such as the rich text format) which work on open source Document Focundation leaders (i.e LibreOffice and OpenOffice), but will not work on Microsoft Word for Windows nor Mac. We shall be able to implement a world where every form of technology shall be compatible on all devices, operating systems, and programs. We started quite well by transitioning to HTML 5, CSS 3, and .NET. Let’s hope that LibreOffice & OpenOffice Foundations find a way to make the rtf format compatible or replace it with something else altogether. Cheers!

  2. Brian says:

    Rich text must have improved. I tried it for a while in 2006 but would often find part of my document altered in format or just missing. I look forward to giving it another try. B

  3. Kristen L says:

    If you will save the document as RTF when you first begin, you will encounter the least problems with formatting.

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