At Foldy Reporting we are often asked about getting a legal transcript via e-mail. It may be called an electronic transcript. Attorneys and legal professionals often wonder which file format will best meet their needs. Here is information about the most popular formats: ETranscript, ASCII, Adobe PDF.
Of this group, RealLegal E-Transcript format is the only one that is specific to the legal industry. Since its product launch in late 1990, E Transcript has continued to gain popularity.
E Transcript files are usually sent as a .ptx file. Opening to view these .ptx files requires downloading E-Transcript Viewer software by the recipient. E-Transcript viewer is a Free download on RealLegal’s site.
E-Transcript .ptx files will not open in any other software program. However, once open utilizing E-Transcript Viewer, you can export transcripts to ASCII, PDF, as well as other file types.
E Transcript contains a hyperlinked word index. Click on any word in its word index to be instantly taken to pages where it appears. Your ETranscript is completely text-searchable with many printing options, including your ability to print your own condensed transcript including a word index.
Scanned exhibits may be “bundled” with your E Transcript. Hyperlinks will connect exhibit names and references to the scanned exhibits. The hyperlinks will show up as underlined text. Simply clicking on Exhibit 5, for example, will cause that exhibit to open and display onscreen.
- The most feature-rich format, providing the widest range of compatibility
- Each user must download ETranscript Viewer software
ASCII format has been in use for many years. ASCII files generally appear as .txt files, that are compatible with Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, Windows text programs such as Notepad, Wordpad and Mac computers. The ASCII file is, basically, universal. ASCII files are also easily imported into legal case management software.
The ASCII file is easy to open or import, but it is actually nothing but text. Additional features only come from programs used to view it. It prints terribly when opened in programs such as Notepad.
- ASCII file is the most compatible with legal case management software
- Provides the least functionality
Adobe’s PDF (which stands for portable document format), is the best format to use when original content must be preserved. With PDF, what you see is what you get. Your transcript will look the same printed as it does onscreen, and e-mail recipients will always receive a properly formatted document which mirrors an original.
The downside of Adobe PDF is that it does not work well with others. PDF files can’t be imported directly into other programs, and converting a PDF into an ASCII can be problematic.
- PDF files work well for viewing, sharing, or printing
- Importing PDF files into other programs can be difficult
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