To send documents as PDFs (which stands for “portable document format“), you need a program to create PDF files – there are several available on the Internet for free, as well as some from commercial software vendors. The company which popularized the PDF format is called Adobe, and they sell a program called “Adobe Acrobat Professional” which allows you to create a PDF from just about anything. They also give away for free a program called “Adobe Acrobat Reader” which allows you to view a PDF and print it out (although not create a new one).
The best part of a PDF file is that just about anyone can view it – whether using a PC, a Mac, or some other type of device, chances are he or she can open a PDF file and view it. There are PDF viewer programs written for virtually every type of computer ever made, so when you send a PDF, you can generally be assured that the recipient can view it. Over the years, it has become the de facto standard for printable documents on the Internet.
Another great benefit of PDF files is that they strip out all the hidden “meta data” in your documents. You may have heard about “meta data” – this is the data inside your documents that you normally don’t see, but that may contain sensitive or personal information you don’t want disclosed. Creating a PDF naturally strips this information out – which makes PDFs a simple, easy solution to the problem of “meta data.”
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