Before we go to the details of converting a Word file into PDF file, it is important for us to know the difference between the two file formats. Word file is a file created with Microsoft Word, a word processing software first released by Microsoft in 1983 for the IBM PC. The extension of Word file is .doc for earlier versions of MS Word, and .docx for the latest (2007) version. MS Word 2003 and earlier versions could not read .docx without being installed with a Compatibility Pack which can be downloaded for free from Microsoft. Unlike the earlier .doc, .docx is XML-based.
PDF stands for “Portable Document Format”, a format for document exchange created by Adobe Systems in 1993. Unlike with Word document files, the fonts in PDF files are portable, meaning they travel with the PDF file. The advantage of PDF over Word is that it can be read in any computer, all one needs to do is download and install the free Adobe Reader.
There are many ways to convert a Word document to PDF and one of the easiest ways is through Adobe Acrobat, a family of programs designed to view, create, manipulate and manage files in PDF. Adobe Acrobat is expensive but there is a free trial version which you can use for a period of time. To convert a Word file to PDF with Adobe Acrobat, you need to run Adobe Acrobat then from the File menu select “Create PDF” then click “From file”.
A dialog box will pop up allowing you to select the Word document you want to convert to PDF. Select the Word document you want to convert to PDF and click “Open”. After clicking “Open” Adobe Acrobat will immediately convert the selected Word document to PDF. It will just take around three to five seconds to convert a single page, depending on your computer’s speed.
If you are not keen about buying Adobe Acrobat, you can use some free software. One good example is WinPdf, a virtual printer driver that can convert any printable document to PDF format. It is very easy to use.
Another free but good software for converting Word to PDF id doPDF. This software is a virtual printer driver that you can access through any application that supports printing. To use it, open your Word file in MS Word or any software that can open it then hit crtl+P. In the print prompt box that pops up, just select the doPDF printer instead of the default printer in the list and the file will be converted and saved as PDF document.There are many other free software that allow conversion of Word to PDF or PDF to Word, you can use Google to search for them.