How to Create PDF Files

February 6, 2010

PDF doesn’t stand for Pretty Darn Fun. It stands for Portable Document Format. A document in this format will have .pdf on the end of it. This format was created by Adobe in 1993. When  you download a book, manual, or other document from the internet, it is often in PDF format. Some forms are also in PDF format.

If you want to view a PDF document, you need the free Adobe Reader which can be downloaded and installed from adobe.com. Most computers already have this installed.

What we wanted to address in this article was how to create a PDF file. If you want to create a fancy PDF file that contains a form other special functionality, you would have to purchase Adobe Acrobat which is very expensive. The standard version of Acrobat currently lists for $299, but if you have a previous version, you can upgrade for $99.

However, if you just want to take a document you have created in Word, Publisher, or some other program and create a PDF version of it, you don’t need Acrobat. And the best part is you can create it for free.

You may be wondering why you would want to create a PDF of your document. Why not just send your document? Good question. There are several reasons why. To answer this, let’s use the example of a Word document. Let’s say you have Word 2007. If you send a Word 2007 file to someone, it may turn out that they don’t have Word, or they may have an older version of Word. So that person would not be able to view the document. But everyone has Adobe Reader. So if you converted it to PDF format, they would be able to open and view your document.

Another reason is that if you sent someone your Word document, if they have Word they can open it and change it. If you want to make sure the document can’t be modified, then you might want to convert it to PDF before you send it.

So, here’s how to convert your document to PDF.

If you have Office 2007, you can download a free add-in from Microsoft that lets you save  your documents as PDF files. You can download and install that by using the link below:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=4d951911-3e7e-4ae6-b059-a2e79ed87041&displaylang=en

If you have an older version of Office, or if you want to create a PDF file from a different program, you can still do it pretty easily and for free.

Go to cutepdf.com and download the free CutePDF Writer and install it on your computer. Once it has been installed, it creates a virtual printer. Then, all you have to do is open up your document in the program you created it in. Then print the document, but instead of printing to your default printer, change the printer you are printing to so it prints to the CutePDF virtual printer. When you print to the CutePDF printer, it will prompt you for a file name and location for your PDF file. It will then create the PDF file for you so that you can then send it out via email.

CutePDF is not the only utility like this that is free. Another popular one is pdf995 which you can get at pdf995.com.

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