A “PDF” is an abbreviated form of portable document format created by Adobe Systems with intentions of making it easy for users to share their files on the Internet. They are designed to hold electronic versions of documents containing text and images that are viewable on digital devices and has become the number one universal document format on the internet.
- They are viewable and printable on virtually any platform, including Windows, Mac OS, and mobile platforms for use in smart phones.
- A PDF file will look the same on the screen and in print, regardless of what kind of computer or printer someone is using and regardless of what software package was originally used to create it.
- When saving a PDF they are automatically optimized to a smaller size without losing quality.
- You can convert almost any document from most applications into a PDF.
- The software to view a PDF file is free.
- It offers some reliable security options preventing people from copying, editing and even printing to protect the owner’s work.
Why is this format important for educators? The number of different software programs keeps on growing, from fantastic organizers, spreadsheet programs, photo editing software, to interactive whiteboard software. They all tend to make our lives easier, but often forget one major point: the ability to allow the user to share his/her work. As an educator you can combine documents with spreadsheets or PowerPoint slides to create your own pdf document which, in terms of creating notes, can be extremely useful.
There are various ways to create a PDF. Adobe Acrobat is the best PDF-creation software offering various features but it is expensive for the average user who may not use it on a regular basis. Most people use free software downloaded from the Internet to create PDF’s from their documents. Macs have a built in function to print directly to a pdf. For example if I create a document using Microsoft Word, you can then go to the print menu and save it as a PDF on to your computer. On a PC there are various free PDF creators that can be downloaded. Most of them add a print driver to your computer to allow you to convert your document to a PDF using your print menu. Basically when you want to create a PDF document from pretty much any application you just choose to print it to the PDF printer and it creates a PDF document.
Below are some links to free PDF sofware for PC’s.