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PDF Advantages and How to Convert Documents into PDFs

written by: KateG•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 7/24/2009

If you are in search of a file format that will work for people who have multiple computing platforms, PDF is the way to go. Check out the advantages of this file format and ways to convert your MS Word files into PDFs for free.

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    Benefits of PDF Files

    There are a lot of different file formats in the world of desktop publishing. Even if you just look at basic word processors there are conflicting file formats. Windows users have a .doc format. People who are on the Mac platform use Pages files. Fans of Open Office on all platforms have the .odf format. That's three formats--and then there's the specialty software. While there is a trend to make all Office suites more compatible with .doc this is only a patch since there is no perfect compatibility. Unless, that is you use a cross platform format. The most widely used and recognized of these is the PDF format.

    Aside from its near universality, PDF also has some other impressive advantages.

    * Display quality. The quality of images can vary from system to system and program to program. Pdf allows for a certain degree of universalitality.

    * Users will have a harder time altering your work. It’s not impossible to alter a PDF, but it is harder then a standard document.

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    How to Convert Files to PDF

    There are a wide range of tools that allow you to convert your files to PDF. A lot of commercial products on the market come with a price tag. They can range from a modest 20 dollars to over 100 dollars. Sure, you could probably eek out 20 extra dollars for that, but I think that we can do better. I think that you can get the same capability for free. Let’s take a look at some of your no cost choices.

    Use a stand alone converter site. There are several sites that will take a document and convert it to a PDF. Some of the basic conversion tools are good for short documents. Some options include:


    For longer documents you can use Google documents. Here you have the option of either importing your document or creating it on the site. You can then export it as a PDF.