The Portable Document Format, or PDF, was developed by Adobe Systems and has become the industry standard for document sharing. A PDF document is an exact replica of the original document, whether it's a word-processing or text file, graphical drawing, photo, map, or even video. And it can be password protected so that access to features like editing and printing are restricted [source: Adobe].
In order to create and view a PDF, you must have the proper software installed. The most well-known PDF-creation software is Adobe Acrobat. Although you must purchase this software, Adobe offers a free PDF viewer called Adobe Reader, which you can download from their Web site.
In addition, several good third-party PDF applications can downloaded for free. Some of these can covert PDFs back into the original documents. Some products, such as Microsoft Office 2007, have built-in PDF converters. Here's how to convert an MS Word document into a PDF in MS Word 2007:
- Click the Office button.
- Move the mouse pointer over the arrow next to the Save As button and select PDF or XPS.
- Type a name for the PDF in the File Name box or select one from the list of files.
- Choose PDF in the Save as type drop down list.
- Select Open file after publishing to open the new PDF after it has been created and saved. This option is only available if your computer has an installed PDF reader.
- Choose Standard (publishing online and printing) or Minimum size (publishing online) under Optimize for, depending on whether or not you want better print quality or lower file size, respectively.
- Click Options and set the appropriate print options.
- Click OK.
- Click Publish to start the PDF creation process. If you need to make any corrections or changes to the PDF, make them to the original Word document and then create a new PDF document [source: Microsoft Office].