Formatting A USB memory Stick: Which ?


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 20, 2012

Might someone please run me thru the advantages and disadvantages of formatting
a USB Memory Stick as either exFat, Fat32 or NTFS please.

Main requirements:

It be readable by either a Mac or W10 (WORD used to create files in it on a MAC,
but want it readable by others on W10 also.

Perhaps with WORD on W10, or if the party doesn't have WORD on their W10 pc, by Libre Office)

16 GB usable would be fine; not less.

Much thanks,


macrumors 6502
Sep 3, 2010
I recommend using exFat - it is probably the most compatible format if you want sharing across systems.

FAT32 has an ugly file size limit and NTFS is not at all well supported on Mac.

I don't think there are any downsides using exFat, as OS's without support are obsolete for a very long time.
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macrumors 68000
Apr 23, 2010
The default for the stick as purchased is likely FAT32. It works pretty well in Macosx and Windows, too. It's main disadvantage is that it cannot handle individual files larger than 4GB, which is extremely unlikely for Word files. Macosx cannot natively write to NTFS. I know it's not supposed to be an issue, but every once in awhile exFAT gives me trouble. Could be pilot error...

I keep a few USB sticks lying around, and mark at one of them with MacOS and the other as PC-32.