So you’ve created a document for an ADR client and you’re ready to send it through cyberspace as an email attachment. Maybe you used a well-known program like MS Word or WordPerfect. Or perhaps you used software the receiver may not have on their own computer…iWork, MS Publisher, Excel…whatever.
After your care in making the document look professional and pretty, you probably want it to look exactly the same on the receiving end. The trouble is, even if the receiver has the same software, your document may look slightly different…or like a complete mess.
But Adobe Acrobat, the power-house program for creating PDFs, will set you back about $450 US. It’s a powerful program to be sure, but for many small businesses, it’s more power than needed…and those of us who’ve used it can vouch for it’s sluggish, slow-your-system-down reputation.
If you want some of the most important benefits of PDFs but don’t want or need everything that Adobe Acrobat offers, there are several free options that do the job remarkably well. Here are a few to consider:
If you use a Mac (or maybe just one of the newer Macs), you’re in luck because the print function already includes a pdf converter. To use it, choose Command-P, then, in the PDF button in the lower left corner of the print screen, select Save as PDF from the drop-down menu. There are additional PDF-related options as well.
If you use a PC, take a look at DoPDF, the free PDF converter for Windows machines. The setup is straightforward…just download it and then double-click to install. Then, when you want to convert a document to PDF, choose Print and you’ll find that doPDF has installed itself as a “virtual printer.” Select it and you’re good to go. A lot of folks seem to prefer PDFCreator, which is also free, has even more functions, and is definitely worth a look.
If you use a PC and use Firefox as your browser, you may be interested in the free FoxIt, a Firefox add-on that not only allows you to view and “print” PDF documents in your browser window, but also allows you to fill in PDF forms on your computer. There’s a FoxIt pro-pack available for purchase if you want even more bells and whistles.
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