When Adobe “invented” the Portable Document Format (PDF) for wide sharing of documents and information, perhaps no one (by Adobe) imagined how widespread its use would be some 20 years later. (Read more about the background of PDF at…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_Document_Format

Tons of groups — governments, businesses, churches and organizations, and many more — rely on Adobe’s PDF format to share documents in an almost perfectly virus-free manner, for practically all platforms, insuring that everyone will be looking at virtually the same page design. Some have argued that PDF has now become, essentially, the de facto standard for printable documents on the web.

As a result, those wishing to create content for the web are often faced with the question — how to create or, at least, convert documents to PDF format. Here at Brigada, down through the years, we’ve highly recommended the use of…

http://www.nitroreader.com/

as a great (and FREE) tool for reading and creating PDF content. Nitro’s paid product, Nitro Pro, gives even more power to the user, as do solutions from Comet, Adobe and others. Hear the testimonies at…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6OyeT1Xf3A

Learn about Nitro Pro and even try it for free at…

http://www.nitropdf.com

Recently, others have been vying to play catch-up. One of those is Microsoft, who finally had to bite the bullet (in spite of their disdain for Adobe) and include a “save as PDF” feature in their widely-used Microsoft Office product. Once that happened, many thought the battle was over. After all, with integrated “save as” capability, why would we need anything else. But all along, Nitro advocated that its extra power to EDIT PDF’s separated it from the crowd. (Interestingly, some felt it actually risked cutting the legs out from under the definition of PDF protocol, which had been largely considered as “uneditable.” Nitro simply chuckled at that thought.)

If you’d rather not install software on your own machine, you can also try one of the online solutions. To me, it seems like Cometdocs has the best line on this. Their solution is free, easy, fast, and seemingly secure. You have to provide your email address to GET your newly-converted PDF, but they promise never seem to spam you. Of course, if they sell their product someday, maybe all those email addresses would sell with them? (I’ve written the company asking this question, but haven’t yet received a reply.) Try them at…

http://www.cometdocs.com/

With Cometdocs, there are no limits on the number of converted pages, conversion per month, or anything else. They let you convert scanned documents for free, and, like NitroPDF, they also let you convert PDF’s back to Microsoft Word (even if the PDF contains forms, tables and other elements that are typically difficult to reconvert back to a word processor). To restate — everything is free (not just a free trial).

Finally, it’s important to note a move AWAY from PDF newsletters, as mentioned in our recent rant ” Switching from PDF-based to Email-based Reporting: Yechhh,” available at…

https://brigada.org/2012/12/02_10109

Still, it’s hard to imagine a world without PDF’s. Can you? Write your opinion, give your options, or sell us on your solution by clicking “Comment” after the web version of this article available at the link below.

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