How to Create a .pdf File

February 5, 2009

in applications,online computing

by Tina Gasperson

PDF stands for “portable document format,” and that’s just how we need our documents to be: portable. It’s inconvenient to spend time creating a file only to find out that the recipient cannot open or view it. The beauty of PDF is that anyone can open, view, and print these files, as long as they have one of several free PDF reader applications, such as Adobe’s Reader. But what can you do if you want to be able to distribute files in the PDF format? It’s not quite as obvious how to make PDF files – but it’s not difficult, and you can do it for free.

In fact, saving files in the PDF format used to be restricted to those who could afford higher-end applications such as Adobe Acrobat, PageMaker, or Photoshop. But Adobe eventually released the PDF format as an open standard, and a flurry of freely available PDF creators ensued. Now, making a PDF is easy and free.

PDF Online

PDF Online

CutePDF is one of dozens of free applications you can download and install. Most PDF programs install as a “printer subsystem,” which means that your computer actually recognizes the application as another printer on your system. Create a document in any application, set it to print, and select “CutePDF” as your printer. Instead of receiving a printout on a piece of paper, CutePDF will generate a PDF file and save it on your hard drive.

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of installing an application, you can generate your PDF online by using a site like Just upload your file to PDFOnline and you’ll get your file as an email attachment. PDFOnline also converts your existing PDF documents to Word documents so you can edit them. Another online service,, lets you enter a URL to be converted to the PDF file format, so you can save any Web site, share it, and print it out exactly as seen on your monitor.

As you can see, creating, saving, and sharing a PDF file is easy, now that you know how.

Tina Gasperson (, affectionately known as Computer Lady by her family, has been writing about IT, home computing, and the Internet for more than a decade.

{ 1 comment }

David, Denver, CO 02.06.09 at 6:30 pm just saved my bacon. Thanks for Tipleting me to it!

Comments on this entry are closed.