If you need to share documents on the web, the standard and best format is Adobe PDF. If you don't already have software that creates PDF files, there's a free and easy solution.
First, a brief explanation of why PDFs are the best format for sharing documents. Let's take an example. You need to post the minutes for library trustee meetings on your website. You have them in Microsoft Word format. Your options are:
1. Copy the minutes from Word and paste them into a new webpage on your site.
2. Upload the Word document and link to it from a page on your site.
3. Convert the Word document into an Adobe PDF document. Upload the PDF document and link to it from a page on your site.
Option 1 is not ideal because you're ultimately going to have to create a lot of separate web pages, and perhaps more importantly, there is not an easy way for site visitors to print out the minutes (or agendas) and still preserve the desired layout and formatting.
Option 2 is not ideal because it requires that the site visitor has Microsoft Word or a compatible word processing program or viewer on their computer or mobile device. If they don't, they won't be able to view your document.
Option 3 is the best, because PDF documents can be easily viewed and printed, and they will retain all of the formatting of your original.
So - how do you create PDFs if you don't already have the software to do so?
There is a free solution called CutePDF Writer.