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Create PDF Documents

by Oscar Sodani
June 8, 2005

Oscar Sodani is a founder of Help2Go and owner of Help2Go Networks, an IT consulting firm in the Washington D.C. area. Oscar holds the CISSP certification as well as industry certifications from Microsoft, Cisco and Novell.

The PDF format has become perhaps the most successful and ubiquitous file format since original ASCII text was devised years ago. If you want to create a document that allows others to view and print it WITHOUT the ability to edit the document electronically, then PDF is what you need. And anybody with a computer can read a PDF document: viewers are available for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, PDAs, and any other operating system you can think of.

With this tutorial, learn how to create PDFs for free, without shelling out $$$ for commercial programs. We'll use PDFCreator, a free and open source program.

Another big advantage of PDF files is that they retain their original format, font, and page size no matter what kind of computer you view it on. Ever try sending a Microsoft Word document to a friend or colleague? If they aren't using the same exact version of Word, with the same fonts installed, and the same type of printer, chances are the document will get garbled when they try to print it. PDF doesn't have that problem -- that's why businesses distribute documents in the PDF format. Heck, even the government distributes tax forms in PDF!

The biggest drawback to PDF is that most people associate PDF with the Adobe corporation. The Adobe Acrobat reader is a free program that allows you to view and print PDF files. But if you want to create PDF files, Adobe wants you to shell out the big bucks for the full version of Acrobat. A quick check at revealed that Adobe Acrobat 7.0 for Windows sells for $267.99. If you can afford that, go for it. But if you're like most home or small business users, you want a free alternative.

In this tutorial, we'll use a program called PDFCreator to allow you to create PDF files from your own computer. It's as easy as just printing the file you want to create a PDF of. These programs are absolutely free to home users.


You can also download a version of this tutorial to play on your own computer whenever you want!
Download the PDF Creator tutorial

If you would like to print out this tutorial so that you can keep it as a reference,
Download the PDF Creator tutorial in PDF format

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