Print to PDF Basics
You may have heard the term "Print to PDF". PDF stands for Portable Document Format and is most closely associated with Adobe Acrobat software. The PDF format was created in 1993 by Adobe Systems as a way to exchange documents without having to account for the document's original format.
The PDF format allows you to, for instance, take a Word document or a WordPerfect document and write a new ".pdf" version of it that is identical to the original document.
That PDF document can then be shared with anyone, even those users who don’t have the original Word or WordPerfect loaded on their computer.
All a person needs is some form of PDF viewer program, and there are many free ones on the Internet.
In addition, many PDF viewers will allow you to print to PDF yourself. Having this functionally is really helpful if you share documents frequently, and it is a snap to use.
Here's how Print to PDF works:
When you install a PDF printer program, it sets up as a printer in your computer's printer folder. (You won't see any application to run).
All you need to do is print your document as you normally would, and choose the PDF program as the printer you want to use. The file it creates can be named whatever the original document name was named, but it will have .pdf extension instead. Very easy, very helpful.
Recommendations for PDF Writers and Viewers
There are many PDF writers and viewers available for free on the Internet. The original Adobe PDF Reader is free from Adobe.com, but it is a very big file to download, plus it only reads PDF documents. You can't print to PDF with it.
There are other much smaller, easier to use programs that allow you to both write and view PDF files.
Here's just a few I've used:
Print to PDF Tutorial
These step by step print to pdf instructions will work with documents created by familiar software like Microsoft Office:
Just some final facts you might like to know about PDF technology. Adobe Acrobat is the application associated with PDF files, and it can do a great deal more with the PDF format than just print identical documents for sharing.
If you own a copy of Adobe Acrobat Professional, you can create forms from your documents which people can fill out by typing right into the form. You can also add notes and highlight text within a PDF file, and create PDF documents from multiple files. You can take a PDF file and add single pages from other PDF documents to it, or delete pages you don't want without having to recreate the entire file again.
It's really one of the best technologies available for sharing information with people all over the world. (But it's not cheap - Adobe Acrobat Pro will cost you around $460).
That's print to PDF in a nutshell.
Wondering how to take a handwritten document and turn it into a PDF? Click here for my easy Scan to PDF steps.