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6 Things to Know About Sharing Different File Types With Colleagues

Asloob Alam

In today's work environment, collaboration and document sharing have become essential components for successful business operations. The seamless exchange of ideas and information between team members is crucial to drive innovation, maintain productivity, and achieve organizational goals.


This collaborative approach not only streamlines workflows but also cultivates a sense of teamwork and unity among employees. However, employees (in-office or remote workers) must also understand the utility of different file types, especially when it comes to information sharing.

Why is it important to know different types of files?

Understanding different types of files is essential because it enables efficient communication and collaboration. Each file format serves a specific purpose, whether it's a text document, spreadsheet, image, video, or presentation. Knowing which format to use ensures that colleagues can access and work with shared files without compatibility issues. Moreover, choosing the right format helps optimize file sizes, making sharing quicker and minimizing storage requirements. Collaboration tools often have preferred file types for seamless interaction among team members, and certain formats support version control, simplifying the tracking of changes during collaborative projects. Security considerations also come into play, as different file types offer varying levels of protection for sensitive information. Overall, a solid grasp of different file types enhances effective communication, smooth teamwork, and data security in professional settings.

6 Key things to know about sharing various file types with your colleagues

Sharing various file types with colleagues is a common task in the workplace. Here are six key things to keep in mind when sharing files:

1. Google Docs Are Great for Collaborative Work

Google Docs is one of the best file types to use when it comes to collaborative projects in professional settings. The fact that you can share your work with ease and have several collaborators work simultaneously on the same document makes it the go-to file type for many businesses.


Collaborators can also comment and suggest changes, which allows colleagues to provide constructive feedback. Due to its cloud-based nature, you can access your Google Docs from anywhere, which makes it easier for remote team members.


Also, it’s easy to integrate with some of the most common mobile apps businesses use for productivity and communication, which makes sharing easy and hassle-free.

2. Understand Your Needs for a Sharing Platform

When you share a file, you have to worry about the sharing platform’s limitations. Things like file size, type, encryption, and other factors can turn a 5 seconds task into a frantic search for the best online collaboration platform that fits your projects’ needs.


For things to go smoothly, you need to choose the best file-sharing sites or a sharing platform that prioritizes security in order to safeguard your sensitive information. But you also need a user-friendly and intuitive interface so all employees can use it regardless of their location.


Integration capabilities are also essential, as the sharing platform should seamlessly integrate with other tools and software your business already uses. This allows for efficient workflow management and avoids any disruption in productivity.

3. PDFs are Great for Different Devices & OSs

PDFs are still the best file type to use when sharing with colleagues who work with diverse systems and devices. PDF files can be opened, viewed, and printed on virtually any device or operating system without losing formatting or data integrity.


Plus, you can convert most file types to PDF without losing data quality or organization. Nowadays, you can even convert PNG files online from your mobile, so you don’t need to be in front of a PC to share your files.


Moreover, you can password-protect your PDFs and use digital signatures. These features help protect sensitive information and control access to confidential documents when shared with others. While this file format is often seen as indelible, the reality is that with the right tools, it’s the work of moments to edit PDFs quickly and interact with them however you see fit. This is not only useful for making alterations to files before you send them out but also for extracting data from PDFs, you receive from elsewhere.

4. Image Sharing Comes with Limitations

When sharing images with colleagues, clients, or business partners, it's important to understand the limitations of each image file format. For example:


  • JPEG files – great for compressing images while maintaining clear colors and graphics. This makes them suitable for various purposes.
  • GIF files – support short clips or moving images, making them ideal for website use or social media platforms.
  • SVG files – are worth considering if you need smaller image files and short animations. They maintain clear resolution and can work well with search engines, potentially helping clients find your graphics more easily.
  • PNG files – maintain both size and quality even after multiple saves and changes. However, they have a lower resolution compared to other file types. As a result, PNG files are best suited for online use.


5. Microsoft Word is Great for Internal Operations

When it comes to sharing files, Microsoft Word (.doc/.docx) is often better suited for internal projects within a team where you can be certain that all members are using the same version of the software.


Word files offer collaboration tools and the ability to track changes and comments, so they are quite useful. Plus, many employees who have a corporate background are familiar with its user-friendly interface.


Not to mention that Word files have extensive formatting options, making it suitable for creating complex documents with various styles, tables, and graphics.


However, if you share your files without converting them to PDF first, there may be compatibility issues due to variations in software versions or non-Microsoft platforms. Furthermore, Word files tend to have larger file sizes compared to other formats, which can pose challenges when emailing or downloading files from online platforms.

6. Spreadsheets are Perfect for Working With Data

Since spreadsheets provide a structured and organized way to store, manipulate, and analyze data, this file format has become the standard for data processing and manipulation. This is due to the various built-in functions and formulas that simplify complex calculations.


Plus, spreadsheets can handle various types of data, whether it's financial figures, statistical analysis, inventory tracking, or project management. Most spreadsheet software allows multiple users to work on the same file simultaneously. This real-time collaboration facilitates efficient teamwork and reduces version control issues.


Additionally, graphs and charts can be generated directly from spreadsheet data for visual representation. This enhances data visualization and aids in conveying insights or patterns effectively to stakeholders or colleagues.

The Best File Types to Use for Sharing

When sharing files with colleagues, it’s important to consider factors such as compatibility, and ease of use, but also the specific preferences and needs of the target user(s). You should also consider the purpose of sharing the file – for viewing, editing, or collaboration. Team communication tools such as Troop Messenger support the sharing of all file types.


Based on these factors, here are some of the common file types used for sharing in a workplace setting (including remote workers):


  • PDF – widely accepted and can be easily viewed, printed, and shared across different platforms without the need for specific software.
  • DOCX (Microsoft Word) – widely supported by various word processing applications, making it easy to collaborate on documents.
  • XLSX (Microsoft Excel) – allows you to share complex data while preserving formulas, formatting, and other features.
  • PPTX (Microsoft PowerPoint) – Sharing in this format ensures your colleagues can view and edit slideshows without compatibility issues.
  • JPG/JPEG – JPEG is a widely supported image format suitable for sharing photos or visual content that doesn't require further editing.
  • PNG – PNG files maintain high-quality images but also support transparency, making them useful when sharing logos or graphics that don't have a solid background. PNG files are widely supported by most image editing software and web browsers.
  • MP4 (MPEG-4) – If you need to share videos, the MP4 format is a common choice. It offers good compression while maintaining decent quality, making it easy for colleagues to view videos on different devices or platforms.
  • ZIP (Compressed folder) – When sharing multiple files or a large file that may exceed email attachment limits, compressing them into a ZIP file can be helpful. ZIP is a commonly used compression format that reduces file size and makes it easier to transfer and organize multiple files.
  • TXT (Plain text) – great for sharing simple text-based content like code snippets, configuration files, or plain notes. Using a TXT file ensures compatibility across different platforms and applications without any formatting issues.


Wrap Up

File sharing is a must-have in today’s day and age, but if you want to make it a seamless and secure process, it’s mandatory to understand which file types work best for various situations. Once you understand this, collaborative work will become a lot easier and fun regardless of each of your teammates’ locations.

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