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All About PDF Files

Home > Resources > Tips > All About PDF Files

What is a PDF File?
Advantages of a PDF File
How to make a PDF file
When to use Adobe Acrobat (not Adobe Acrobat Reader)

What is a PDF File?

A Portable Document Format (PDF) file is a read-only document that looks exactly like the original, but which does not require the original application and fonts. The Adobe Acrobat Reader application is free, and runs on many versions of Windows, Mac OS and Linux.

It's a less complicated way to send out files, without sacrificing anything in terms of compatibility.


Advantages of a PDF File

  • Fonts can be embedded in the original documents
  • The layout of the original document is preserved
  • PDF files will not transmit macro viruses (transmitted by Microsoft Office products for Mac OS and Windows)
  • Text is selectable
  • Graphics are included in the original document
  • Can be password-protected*
  • Acrobat Reader is available for many versions of Mac OS, Mac OS X, Windows, Palm OS, PocketPC, AIX, OS/2, Solaris, HP-UX, Irix, Linux and more.
  • Read more about PDF from Adobe.

* Requires Full Acrobat, not Acrobat Reader.


How To Make A PDF File

get acrobat reader Normally, Adobe Acrobat (US $249, Mac OS, Mac OS X, Windows) is required to make PDF files.
Create Adobe PDF online

Adobe lets you create a limited number of PDF files free online using their Create PDF Online service. Note: You have to send documents to Adobe to do this. Not recommended for sensitive data.

In Mac OS 9 - For 1/10th the cost of Acrobat, you can convert your existing documents to PDF format. Purchase Print To PDF (shareware).

In Mac OS X - Without purchasing any other software, you can convert your documents to PDF files.

  1. Open the document in a Mac OS X-native (not Classic) application.

  2. Select File > Print.

  3. Select Output Options from the pop-up menu (below)
    Print Dialog - Ouput Options
    Print Dialog from Mac OS X 10.1

  4. Select the Save as File box.

  5. Select PDF from the Format pop-up menu

  6. Click the Print button

  7. Save the file with the desired name and location.

When To Use Adobe Acrobat Instead

  • To make fill-in-the-blank forms.