Sunday, August 7, 2011

Why I Love the PDF File Format and Why You Will Love it Too!

Created in 1993 by Adobe, the PDF file format stands for "portable document format." It can be read by all computers, including PC, Mac and mobile formats. I personally have been using PDFs for the past 10 years, for worksheets, handouts and forms to be posted on the school's website. When using Adobe Acrobat Professional, I can assign fields on a form, i.e. name, address etc. I can highlight sections that I want people to notice. I can convert a web page to a PDF document. The file can be encrypted and require a password to open it. Your document cannot be edited as easily as with a Word (.doc, .docx) file. Although Acrobat Professional will cost $$, Adobe Acrobat Reader is a free download and will allow you to read PDF documents.  Here's a quick video to explain.

Now I'm sure you're asking the question, "How can my Word document become a PDF document?" There are several ways this can happen. If you or your school uses Macs, the "save as" function shows up in the print window:

If you have a PC, (I use one at work) here is a snapshot from the Microsoft site which explains how to save as a PDF:

Easy, right? Here's a little bonus most of you will love. Let's say you got a mailing you'd like to share with your students or colleagues. Right now it is just a piece of paper, but instead of running of loads of copies, check and see if your school's copier can Scan to PDF. This would allow you to put the paper in the top feeder, (usually a max of 50 sheets) and send the scan to an email address. I taught our school nurse how to do this and she is in the process of saving all her old records as PDF files. Sure beats scanning each sheet or paper (each side) and trying to put them all together.

Looking for ways to convert any file to PDF? Here's a list of sites you can check out:
1. Acrobat PDF Convert- From Adobe; many great features, but costs $9.99/month
2. Cute PDF- Windows computers only; download
3. Foxtab PDF Converter
4. Online-Convert- many file formats
4. PDF Converter- no download; they will email you the file when done
5. PrimoPDF- for Windows computers
6. Quick PFD Tools- requires download; many great features including removing bookmarks in a PDF
6. Zamzar- many file conversions are offered on this site

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