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By Chris De Herrera 
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Exchanging Word and Pocket Word Documents
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 2000
Revised April 25, 2000
As published on Microsoft's Website

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The Pocket PCs now support desktop Microsoft Word file formats for reading and writing Pocket Word documents. This article explains what you can expect when transferring desktop Word documents via e-mail, ActiveSync, or CompactFlash card to and from your Pocket PC.

What's Supported When You Convert a Word .doc to Pocket Word Format?

This article discusses what happens to Word and Pocket Word documents when you transfer desktop Word documents via e-mail, ActiveSync, or CompactFlash card to and from your Pocket PC.

To begin, Pocket Word is a subset of the capabilities of Word 97 or Word 2000. It supports TrueType fonts, however you must make sure you have the appropriate fonts installed in your Pocket PC. Pocket Word supports the standard font formatting including bold, underline, and italics, as well as several font sizes. Pocket Word also converts tables into word lists separated by commas within your document, known as comma delimited lists.

You can also send or synchronize outline-style documents as well. The Pocket PC presents outlines on-screen very similarly to the way they would appear on the desktop. Pocket Word does support embedded images, while other types of embedded files in a document are not supported.

Pocket Word also does not support headers, footers, footnotes, captions, indexes or comments.

Just Reading Pocket Word Documents in Desktop Format

If you are interested in preserving the exact contents of your Word documents when you view them on your Pocket PC, you can do so by opening the document, and after reviewing it, closing the file without saving it. Alternatively, if you read a document, and then edit or save it, it will automatically lose formatting information that is not supported in Pocket Word.

A workaround is to consider making a copy of the document before editing so you can re-assemble your edits when you copy the documents to your desktop. This can be done by cut and paste between the documents on the desktop or by using the Compare Documents feature of Word 97 or Word 2000.


Not all formatting from the desktop can be edited in Pocket Word. Pocket Word does not support tables, or headers, and footers. Also some information will change format when saved. An example of this is the support for tables in Pocket Word. In Pocket Word, all tables are converted to comma delimited lists.


The Pocket PC offers unparalleled capabilities to access desktop Word file formats without having to use a desktop to convert them. This capability allows you to read e-mail attachments with formatting intact, to edit and reply to them without using a desktop. However, not all formatting contained in desktop format Word documents is retained. So you may want to keep a copy of the document as you originally received it, so that you can send it to your desktop for further editing when you return to your office.

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