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  • Converting Your Documents to PDF
    By Robert Levy

    Ever had that sinking feeling when your presentation or newsletter doesn't look right (or show up at all) on someone else's computer? Next time, convert your files to PDF before you share them with the world. It's a breeze to do, and your stuff will always look just the way you created them.

    The first question on your lips may be, "What's a PDF, anyway?" Glad you asked.

    PDF stands for Portable Document Format. When you convert a file (like a Word document or Keynote presentation) into PDF, you make it "portable," which means that it will look the same, and print out the same, from almost any computer. Every line, color, indentation, and image will look exactly as it did when you lovingly crafted the thing in the first place.

    So how do you do it? How do you turn your document into a perfectly preserved PDF?

    Converting to PDF
    Once you've got the newsletter, presentation, or invitation looking just the way you want, you're ready
    to convert. This process is completely different for Windows and Mac, so take a look below to find your method. (Either way, your work will be portable, and will look perfect on the other guy's computer.)

    Using Windows to Convert to PDF
    There are lots of programs out there to help convert your files to PDF. But before you go looking elsewhere, try checking the program you used to create the file you're converting. Some programs have an option to save, or export, your work as a PDF file.

    If you can't find a built-in way to convert to PDF, then you'll need to use a program that's designed for the job. The most well-known PDF software is called Acrobat, by Adobe (the company that invented PDF). You can learn more about Acrobat on the Adobe Acrobat Web page. See "To convert a document using Acrobat" below.

    [Note that Acrobat is different from the free Adobe Acrobat Reader; Reader can display PDF files, and make certain edits, but it can't create them.]

    But Acrobat isn't cheap (it currently runs about $300 for the standard version), so if you only want to convert one or two documents, you may want to look around for other solutions. One convenient option if you have high-speed Internet (or small documents) is Adobe's Create Adobe PDF Online Web service. There's a monthly fee, but you can try it out for free.

    With new programs coming out all the time, you can't miss by having a look on the Web for more options. Just search for "Create PDF".

    To convert a document using Acrobat:
    1. From Acrobat, click the Create PDF button in the top toolbar, then choose From File (or you could choose other options, like from a Web page, or a scanner image.) The Open screen will appear.

    2. From the Open screen, navigate to the file you'd like to convert to PDF, then click Open. Acrobat will start working. Depending on the document's size and your computer's speed, it may take a few minutes to convert.

    3. Click the PDF button, then choose Save as PDF.

    4. In the Save window, choose what you want to name your PDF and where you want to save it.

    5. Click Save. The PDF will be created and saved to the place you chose.

    Once you've created your PDF, send it out to anyone, anywhere, knowing that it's a perfect snapshot of your work.

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