In saving a new electronic document, you must choose a format, for instance PDF, Word doc, or XML, which dictates how the information is to be organized, displayed, and manipulated.

To format information is to arrange it according to preexisting parameters. Electronic files require a format or, more commonly, a "file type," so computers will know how to open, read, and change them. Entertainment media are delivered in such varied formats as VHS, CD, DVD, MP3, and MOV. In the world of AM/FM radio, format is the type of music a station plays, such as top-40, urban, dance, or country.

Definitions of format
  1. noun
    the general appearance of a publication
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    type of:
    appearance, visual aspect
    outward or visible aspect of a person or thing
  2. verb
    set (printed matter) into a specific format
    Format this letter so it can be printed out”
    synonyms: arrange
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    set in from the margin
    furnish with rubrics or regulate by rubrics
    type of:
    undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
  3. noun
    the organization of information according to preset specifications (usually for computer processing)
    synonyms: data format, data formatting, formatting
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    high-level formatting
    (computer science) the format for the root directory and the file allocation tables and other basic configurations
    initialisation, initialization, low-level formatting
    (computer science) the format of sectors on the surface of a hard disk drive so that the operating system can access them and setting a starting position
    type of:
    info, information
    a message received and understood
  4. verb
    determine the arrangement of (data) for storage and display (in computer science)
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    type of:
    determine, set
    fix conclusively or authoritatively
  5. verb
    divide (a disk) into marked sectors so that it may store data
    “Please format this disk before entering data!”
    synonyms: initialise, initialize
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    type of:
    carve up, dissever, divide, separate, split, split up
    separate into parts or portions
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