PDF format has become a de-facto standard in Internet document transfer. The possibility of write/read programmes protects them, together with available viewers for most operating systems, and has made it the best option for documents interchange. This article will present the possibilities available to create PDF files from source MS Word documents.
Traditional process has always been 'printing' the MS Word document. Most utilities (with Adobe Acrobat as the original one) are installed in the system as an added printer - only no connection to a physical device was provided, except for the PDF creator itself.
This virtual printer was integrated in the operating system, so that from MS Word, only the "print" command was needed - instead of producing a paper output, a file name and location were requested.
The next step was getting rid of the fake printer. Nowadays, most office suites (MS Word, Open Office, Libre Office, etc.) already include a button or option in order to directly export the document to PDF format. Document conversion will be done automatically.
Since currently office suites work with WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) layout, it is assured that the PDF output will look exactly as the original DOC file.
Another important element refers to program preferences, which must assure that any special font is included in the PDF file. If not, default fonts may be used, and the final result may look really different.
Finally, there are several utilities to convert from Word to PDF (or any other office file: Excel to PDF, PowerPoint to PDF, etc.). There are two main types of such utilities:
- Local applications
They require installation in the computer, such as NitroPDF (from Nitropdf.com) or PDFTKBuilder (it can be downloaded as a free portable version from Portableapps.com). Those applications allow for the direct conversion without opening the file, and some added features such as watermarking, protection, file merging, page extraction, etc.
- Online tools
They allow for the conversion of files through Internet pages. Typically, the file has to be selected and uploaded for conversion. Then, a dialog window is opened to define target name and local folder. Usually, these tools do not keep copies of the original DOC files, but their use may be sensitive if the contained information is not public. For example, please check Freepdfconvert.com.