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Document vs Data vs Code – Learn the Difference

Document, data, and code are three essential words in computing.

"Document" is often used interchangeably with "data"β€”however, the two words have subtle differences.

Moreover, "code" is commonly used purely as a technical termβ€”but it has significant similarities with data.

This article will explain the differences and similarities between a document, data, and code.

First up, document.

What Is a Document?​

A document is a page used to contain text, or graphics, or both.

For instance, consider the image below:

Example of a document

White paper containing a "phone a friend" text and a telephone handset graphic

The paper (with the text "phone a friend") is a document because it contains some text and a drawing.


Papers are not the only type of documents.

Types of documents​

Digital pages and paper pages are the two main document types for holding data.

Example of two types of a document

An ebook and a print book's page

But you may ask: "Is data not equivalent to a document?" No. Not at all! Let's take a closer look at "data."

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What Is Data?​

Data is the content of a document.

In order words, the text and graphics on a page are the document's data.

So, while a document is a container, data is the content of that container.

Illustration of a document's data

Wooden boxes in an intermodal (shipping) container depict a document's data.

Types of data​

The most common types of data are graphical, audio, and textual data.

Graphical data​

Graphical data are the visual contents of a page, such as diagrams, charts, videos, and images.

Audio data​

Audio data are the sound-recorded contents of a page, such as WAV, MP3, and AAC.

Textual data​

Textual data are the written contents of a page such as letters (e.g., A, B, C), numbers (e.g., 1, 2, 3), symbols (e.g., $, #, +), and codes (e.g., <input>, body { background: #A18A77; }, if (condition) { //execute code }).

But hang on a sec, if a document is a page, and data is the content of a page, what then is a code? Let's find out below.

What Exactly Is Code?​

Code is any language that computers can understand and process. In other words, code means "computer's language."

Types of codes​

There are several code types, but the common ones are HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Python.


πŸ“„ A document is a page for holding data.

πŸ“… Data is the content of a document.

πŸ‘©β€πŸ’» Code is the data that computers understand.