International Standards and Conformity Assessment for all electrical, electronic and related technologies
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Drafting IEC publications



Word file formats (.doc, .docx) -
which format to use in your TC

When preparing a publication, different authors contribute to one document. As many different MS Word versions exist (Word 2010 / 2007, Word 2003/02, older versions), each with different possibilities and constraints, problems can arise when files are exchanged across these versions.


Since Word 2007, even the file format has changed.


The different formats

  • .doc format: used until Word 2003
  • .docx format: used in Word 2007 and 2010

Problems can arise when .docx files are worked on in Word 2003 or earlier. In particular figures and equations may become unusable.


To avoid compatibility issues as far as possible, please avoid using .docx format when you are not entirely sure that all of the participants working on the original document will have Word 2007 or 2010 (backwards compatibility seems to be ensured without further problems).


Important: If a TC decides to work in .doc format, experts drafting content in Word 2007/2010 should immediately save a new document as a "Word 97-2003 Document (*.doc)". They will then work in the so-called "Compatibility mode", which ensures that problematic functions like the new equation editor are no longer available.


The IEC will generally preserve the format in which we receive the document. Exceptions may be made to resolve compatibility issues.



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