Do you ever have a need to create and share documents with other people, but want to have a format that anybody can see, regardless of what system they are using, be it Mac, Windows, iOS, or Android?
Fortunately, back in the early 90’s, Adobe created a format called “Portable Document Format” or PDF for short. The format allows for sharing of documents including text formatting and images in the style they were created, regardless of the recipient’s software or operating system.
This is especially useful if you want to send someone a document without concern of it being altered after sending. Most modern phones, computers and tablets can view these documents without special software as the ability to open PDFs is built-in in most cases. In older systems, the Adobe Reader app is free, which also opens these files.
Creating a PDF file from your word processor of choice is as easy as Save As PDF in Word (Windows or Mac) for example, where you can save your new file to be attached to an email. On Mac operating systems, the Print dialogue box has an option Save As PDF. Anything that’s created as a document that you can print from can be converted this way regardless of what program you’re creating it in.
In the latest iOS and iPad versions, a new feature will enable you to grab full web pages as PDFs, or browsers, such as Safari on Mac, have a Save As PDF box.
The beauty of it is that it looks exactly the same as the original document with all the formatting and pictures intact but is protected against changes. There are some exceptions to this. Adobe itself makes a professional program called Acrobat, that can alter PDFs, and add or delete text, but this program is one used primarily by professionals and the price reflects that. Mac also has apps such as PDF Pen which do the same functions, but for everyday use, most people will just be Read Only.
What about us on-the-go mobile users you ask?
Creating a PDF file for sharing on iPhone, iPad, or Android phone or tablet also uses the Print function. The resulting preview image is a PDF which can be shared in a variety of ways using the Share functions, for email, text, messages, or just saved as a file for use later.
There are other interesting applications for working with PDFs. For example, I do a newsletter for our community, which may include several pages with color pictures and other graphics that when completed, create a very large file, sometimes many megabytes in size. This makes sending by email or other methods difficult. I use a program called PDF Squeezer, which “squeezes” or reduces the file size down to less than a megabyte, in most cases for easy emailing to a group.
As you can see, sharing your documents with people without concern about what software or operating system they may have is made simple with a universal format anyone can read and print if desired, using “PEE-DEE-EFF”
I’m Captain iPad