Many of my clients (especially non-for-profits) ask me to create a PDF for them. No problem, but they don’t realize they can do this without Adobe Acrobat Standard software too. Below is the information I usually provide.

What is a PDF and why is it a good format for a web site document? A PDF (portable document format) file can be viewed, navigated, and printed from any computer regardless of the fonts or software programs used to create the original. It enables a document to be distributed on different systems while preserving the layout. To view a file in PDF format, you need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. Adobe Acrobat Standard and Adobe Acrobat Professional are the main programs used to create PDF files. These programs range in price from 300 to 500 dollars. However, if you simply need to convert files such as a word document, web page, or excel spreadsheet, this can be done for free. Below are links to programs and a website that allow you to complete such a task.

How can you create a PDF for your web site without the full software? At PDFonline you can upload a Word doc, Excel spreadsheet, HTML page, or JPG/GIF/TIFF image and get a PDF back. You can also upload an existing PDF and PDFOnline will email you an HTML version.

PrimoPDF and CutePDF are free programs for Windows that allows you to create PDF files from nearly any application.

Also, every program running in Mac OS X can create a PDF File from the print dialog window. Go to the File menu then Print (shortcut:command-p), but instead of clicking “Print” choose “Save as PDF.” Then select the desired location and file name for the converted PDF file.

I hope this saves someone some trouble.