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File Formats

Many different word-processing and text-editing programs are available, such as Microsoft Word. To support advanced features such as fonts, alternate printers, document formatting and the like, these programs typically insert "hidden" information into text files. This "hidden" information tells the word-processing program how to display text on the screen and how to print it when requested. Unfortunately, the "hidden" information can confuse the scoring program and cause it to assign incorrect scores or even (in extreme cases) cause it to cease functioning. To avoid the problem caused by hidden codes, sample files should be created in "ASCII" or "TEXT" form whenever possible. Most, if not all, word processing programs have this as an option. Microsoft Word, for example, has format options under the Save As... command.

In some cases, files without hidden commands may be created by "printing" the sample file into a disk file instead of to the printer.

Finally, some word processors come with conversion programs which are used outside the word processor to change the format of files.

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