Well, what was acceptable several years ago (or even a year ago) might have long since changed.
I've been looking around for opportunities recently and set a whole bunch of very different types of resume. If I understand correctly, not only you want to know what file format (i.e. target software) is better but also what type of visual design of the resume is acceptable. There are several things to consider.
Entering a large company, it's likely your resume will be taken by an automated system at the first step
I mean, some software that sifts through resumes of thousands of applicants and filters out irrelevant ones. Thus, your resume should be acceptable and must be parsed by this system successfully, otherwise you lose without a fight.
The software doesn't care about any visual elements at all. It checks keywords.
DOCs aren't perfectly parseable, PDFs are.
Entering a small company, it's likely your resume will be processed by a human
There aren't many affordable solutions for HR and recruiters of small companies, so people tend to process resumes by hand. So, in this situation you have intuitively expected restrictions: your file must open on any operating system with GUI (or sometimes, without) and look as it should.
DOC requires some sort of (heavy) software (MS Word, Pages, etc.) and PDF opens in an eyeblink.
People care about your effort, not about beauty per se
This means, if I see a resume and somehow discover that it has been composed on top of a template (and it's possible as long as I see the second similarly designed resule), I stop feeling anything about the visual part. It means, everything just turns plain text. Why? Because you didn't put effort but rather decided to show off cheaply.
I may exaggerate this point, of course, but you get the idea. Visual template, outside of the context of your person, means nothing at all.
People tend to get tired
Surely, a recruiter may feel a little nervous and stressed at the end of the day after reading through hundreds of CVs. So you don't want to make his work even harder by providing a file that has unconventional structure or visual representation.
At the same time, you likely want to impress the recruiter at the very first sight. Try to add some interesting and surprising details. Those should not attract much attention but rather be a "sesame seeds" on top of your resume's "bread".
There are certain types of people who live outside GUI (although the amount is fairly negligible)
If you apply to a software developer position or one close to this field, consider Markdown. It's both parseable and readable, very concise. And it may certainly impress the recruiter because it's likely you'll stand out from the "DOC crowd".
For this case, there's also a good advice from Steve Yegge who recommends software developers to stick to plain text resume (and also avoid the word "CV").