PDF, or Portable Document Format, is Adobe’s solution for creating documents
that can be read almost anywhere. By downloading Adobe’s free reader, a PDF
file can be read on almost any computer, and even portable devices such as
But how do you create a PDF in the first place?
As is often the case, there are several answers…
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The “official” way is to purchase a copy of Adobe Acrobat. Acrobat’s purpose
in life is to create PDFs. It installs several tools, including a Word macro
that makes creating PDFs from Word a single-click operation. It also installs
a Windows printer driver that will allow you to create PDFs from any
application that can print.
Adobe also has an on-line solution Create Adobe PDF Online, that will allow you to create PDFs. It’s
a subscription service, but the first five PDFs are included in a free
A Google search turns up
many PDF conversion programs, ranging from free to
inexpensive. Their capabilities vary, so it would be wise to investigate and
try a few before investing any money.
Yet another solution is the free Open Office.
Open Office is a free suite of office applications, including a word processor
much like Microsoft Word. Open office can read Word documents and can create
PDFs. Again, the feature set is similar, but not identical to Word and Acrobat,
so compatibility may still be an issue. But the price is right, and it’s a well
supported open source application with a very active user community to
For the record, if you’re planning on professional PDF content creation as
part of a business strategy, the investment in Acrobat is probably worth it. No
issues of compatibility or missing features that way. If you’re just
experimenting, then the free or inexpensive converters are a good way to