#11 Do you PDF?

Working with PDF documents

PDF, which stands for Portable Document Format, is a de facto standard for online documents. If you’ve spent much time online, you’ve probably encountered PDF documents numerous times. If you’ve never given it any more thought than that then this week’s tip is just for you. We’ll take a brief look at what pdfs are what they are good for and a couple of options for creating your own PDF documents.

What good is it?

Why would you ever want to create PDF documents? Their benefits include:

»Portability:PDF files can be viewed by others who may not have the same software or operating system as you.

»Consistency: PDF files look and print the same for everyone.

»File Size: PDF files are often much smaller in size than other formats such as Word, PowerPoint, etc.

Where can I get a PDF viewer?

If you don’t already have a PDF reader you can get the Adobe Acrobat reader for free from Adobe.

However, that’s not your only option. My favorite is the free Foxit Reader for a couple of reasons. First it’s much smaller than the Adobe Acrobat reader (1.2MB vs 20MB) and it loads documentsMUCH faster. If you’ve noticed a delay when opening PDF documents you might want to give it a try.

How can I create my own PDFs?

The obvious way for creating PDF documents is to buy a copy of Adobe Acrobat. They would be more than happy to sell you one of several different versions that can suit your needs.

However, if you don’t want to spend several hundred dollars and just want to create some basic PDF documents there are a number of free options.

If you do a web search you can find many options for creating PDF documents. Here are a few that have worked well for me.

Free Online PDF Creation:

»PDF Online:This site will convert many types of documents to PDF including: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, HTML and most image formats.



»Zamzar:This site is excellent at converting many file formats including PDF. If you ever get some weird file that you need converted this is a good place to go.


Free PDF Software:

»Primo PDF:I use this one all the time and it’s so simple to use! Installing this free program simply adds a new printer to your printer list named “PrimoPDF”. All you need to do to create a PDF document is do aFile..Print and choose the PrimoPDF printer then choose where to save it. That’s it! It’s a piece of cake. [ more details]


UPDATE: Check out these more recent PDF related posts

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