There are a number of tools available to create, edit, and view Portable Document Format (PDF) files. PDFs are a unique type of file format and can be thought of as taking a snapshot of a document. They are useful for preserving a document's formatting when you are sharing it with others and want to be sure that the document looks the same for everyone, regardless of what software they have installed on their computer.
Adobe provides a PDF creator/editor (Adobe Acrobat) and a PDF reader (Adobe Reader), but there are a number of other options available beyond using Adobe products. This article will provide information about the OIT-recommended ways of working with PDFs.
There are many options to view PDF files, including standalone programs and browser extensions. The two most popular options are Adobe Reader (for Windows and Mac) or Preview (for Mac).
Adobe Reader is a free program that allows you to view all types of PDFs. It can be downloaded at the Adobe Reader product page. Adobe Reader is installed by default on all computers managed by the Office of Information Technology (OIT). It is also available via Self Service Software and installed on all computers in the OIT computer labs.
Preview is a program that is preinstalled on Mac computers running OS X and can be found by opening the Applications folder in Finder. It can be used to view PDFs and many types of image files. It is also capable of doing minor editing tasks, such as combining multiple PDFs into one document and adding annotation, such as notes and highlighting. For more information about using Preview, visit Mac Basics: Preview.
Creating and Editing PDFs
Because the PDF format is primarily used to "freeze" a document into a file that will look identical on every computer, the editing of the document is generally done in another application, such as a word processing or photo editing program. You can then use program like Adobe Acrobat to convert the file to a PDF. Many applications also offer the option to save a file as a PDF directly, without needing to convert it.
Google Drive offers you the option of downloading most files (Google Docs, Presentations, Spreadsheets, and Drawings) as PDFs. To download your file as a PDF:
- Open the File menu.
- Select Download as > PDF Document (.pdf)
Microsoft Word is a paid program that has offered the option of saving documents as PDFs since the release of Microsoft Word 2007. PSU-owned computers can download a copy of Microsoft Office (which contains a suite of programs, including Microsoft Word) using the Self Service Software program. Microsoft Office is also installed on all computers is also installed on all computers in the OIT computer labs.
In order to select the correct set of instructions, you will need to know what version of Word you're running. You can check your version by visiting What version of Office am I using? When you have determined your version, find the appropriate link below for instructions on saving your document as a PDF:
In Word 2013, you also have the option of opening and converting your PDF into a Word document, which enables you to edit it. You can find instructions for doing so at Edit PDF content in Word.
To save a file as a PDF in Word on a Mac, you will need to be running Word 2008 for Mac or Word 2011 for Mac. You can check your version by opening the Word menu and selecting "About Word".
If you are running Word 2008 or Word 2011, you can find instructions for saving your document as a PDF at Save a file in a different format in Microsoft Office for Mac applications.
Adobe Acrobat Standard/Pro
Adobe Acrobat Standard/Pro is a paid program that can convert many different types of files into PDFs. You also have the option of editing PDF files directly from Acrobat. This can be useful if you only have the PDF and do not have the original file to edit. Acrobat can be ordered via the Software Order Form and is also installed on all computers in the OIT computer labs.
In order to select the correct set of instructions, you will need to know what version of Acrobat you're running. Most versions will provide the program's version number by following these steps:
- Open Adobe Acrobat Standard or Adobe Acrobat Pro.
- Look at the loading screen while the program starts. If you don't see the program's version on this screen, continue to Step 3.
- Open the Help menu.
- Select "About Adobe Acrobat..."
- Look for the version in the dialog window that appears.
Select a link below for instructions on converting your file to a PDF:
Select a link below for instructions on editing your PDF files:
- Editing PDFs in Adobe Acrobat X Standard
- Editing PDFs in Adobe Acrobat X Pro
- Editing PDFs in Adobe Acrobat XI Standard/Pro
Contact the Helpdesk for additional assistance.