Have you ever needed to create a PDF (portable document format) file? I don’t mean read one; I mean actually create a PDF file from another program (Word, for example). This can be a little tricky if you don’t own Adobe Acrobat, which can run well over $100! Well, there is a free solution: CutePDF! Point your browser to http://www.cutepdf.com/ to get the freeware version of this program.
After you install the program, it’s simple to create a PDF file.
1) With your Word document open, go to File, then to Print. Under Print, you will be able to select CutePDF as a printer.
2) Click Print – it won’t print on your printer. It “prints” magically to a pdf file.
3) A window will pop up to save your new PDF file. Make sure you save to a convenient location (use the dropdown at the top of the window to navigate to Desktop or Documents, or whereever you choose.
Why would you want a PDF file?
1) It’s more professional in appearance to have a document open in Adobe Reader than Word – since that’s a viewing program not an editing program. Think of a syllabus that you might post online for students and parents.
2) It helps protect your content in case you don’t want people to change your content easily. A PDF file can’t be altered whereas a Word document opens in Word, can be edited and saved immediately. A PDF file must be copied and pasted to another program in order to make changes, so there’s additional steps required to make changes.
The first paragraph and the inspiration for this article came from Ed Tech Teacher Jim Zone (Ocean View School District). I’ve added more detail to the steps to use Cute PDF and the rationale for why you might want a PDF file.