The PDF file (short for "personal document file") is a type of computer document created by Adobe. The PDF file is a way to display digitized versions of documents that allow viewers to see the contents of a page but not actually make any changes. You need to have Adobe's free 'Reader' software installed on your machine to view PDF files. If you want to create your own PDF documents for whatever purpose, you can use one of a number of different methods (including Adobe's online service) designed to do just that.
Sign up for a subscription to Adobe's online PDF creator (see Resources). As of March 2010, a subscription costs $9.99 a month or $99.99 per year, and allows you to take any document on your computer's hard drive and instantly turn it into a PDF file. You can also use the service in conjunction with your computer's scanner to immediately turn scanned documents into PDF files. Note that this online service is only open to users who are residents of the United States and Canada.
Use Microsoft Word. If you already have Microsoft Word installed on your computer, you can download Microsoft's "Word to PDF" add-on for the software (see Resources). Then, simply type a new document in Microsoft Word and click "File" and "Save As." Choose to save your document in the PDF file format, thus creating your new PDF instantly.
Use a free PDF converter (see Resources). CutePDF and PDF Converter are just two examples of this type of free service. Some are web pages, while some will require you to download and install a program to your computer. These services are used for taking an already-existing document and converting it into the PDF file format. You cannot create a new PDF document from scratch using only these services. You will have to use a word processing program that is already installed on your machine.