I understand how to view PDF files, but I want to know how do I make them?
This question was answered on June 10, 2004. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
The PDF (Portable Document File) format was created by Adobe as a mechanism for publishing documents on the Internet that could be viewed by anyone, no matter what operating system or web browser they were using.
The problem they were solving had to do with specific software programs and versions that were needed to view traditional documents, such as those produced in Microsoft Word If you did not have Word installed or had an older version than the one that was used to produce the document, then viewing the document properly with all of the original fonts and formats became difficult, if not impossible.
In addition to creating a universal standard for viewing the documents, creating PDF files also keeps the contents from being modified as they become a ‘frozen’ image of the original document.
Whether you publish forms or employee manuals or Christmas letters, transforming them into a PDF before distributing them can greatly decrease the complication of viewing them properly.
Adobe created the free ‘Acrobat Reader’ (available at adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html) so that anyone could view the files from any type of computer.
In order to create the PDF files, Adobe sells two different versions of ‘Acrobat’; one for basic usage (Standard edition - $299 list, $195 street price) and one for the advanced publisher that wants more flexibility in creating documents (Professional edition - $499 list, $320 street price).
The main differences in the Professional version are that it directly supports more applications (in addition to all of the Microsoft Office applications, it also interfaces with AutoCad, Microsoft Visio and Microsoft Project), better electronic form integration and can handle large format documents.
If all you want to do is take a simple document, newsletter or spreadsheet that you have created and publish it as a PDF file, you don’t have to buy anything Instead you can download a free utility called CutePDF Writer (www.snapfiles.com/get/cutepdf.html)
Once installed, (follow the directions completely as a converter called Ghostscript is required to be downloaded as well) CutePDF Writer becomes one of your options when you go to print from virtually any program Simply create the document, then click on File, Print and select ‘CutePDF’ as your printer This will open a dialog box that will ask you where you want to save the file Select a folder and a filename, then click on the ‘Save’ button to create the PDF.
Once you have created the PDF, you can upload it to a web site, e-mail it to friends and colleagues or archive it so that anyone can view it in the future
You can include pictures in your documents or create forms or even manuscripts when you create the PDF It is the best way to ensure that the recipient of the document will see it exactly the way that the publisher intended it, including all of the images, lines, boxes and fonts that were used to create it.
Since it is so versatile, it’s really a great option to have for virtually any computer user no matter how many documents you create!
About the author
Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on June 10, 2004
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