13.1 Which format should I use?

The three common formats for exporting reports have different pros and cons:

  • HTML is the least fussy to work with and can resize itself and its content automatically. For rapid exploration and prototyping, we recommend knitting to HTML. HTML documents can be attached to emails and viewed using any browser, even with no internet access (as long as it is a self-contained HTML document, which R Markdown exports usually are).
  • PDF looks most professional when printed. This is because R Markdown uses LaTeX to typeset PDF documents. LaTeX PDFs are our preferred method of producing printable reports or dissertations, but they come with their own bag of issues. Mainly that LaTeX figures and tables float and may therefore appear much later down the document than the original text describing it was.
  • Word is useful when working with non-R people who need to edit your output.