How to Convert PDF Files to an Older Format

If you have an older version of Adobe Acrobat, you may be having trouble opening newer PDF documents. That is because the newer formats aren't always consistent with older Adobe programs. You can re-convert a PDF file so it is compatible with an older program version as far back as Acrobat 3.0 using Adobe's Create PDF tool.

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credit: Polka Dot RF/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Step

Convert the PDF file to a JPG image or EPS format. You can do this using Adobe Photoshop or by opening the file in a newer version of Acrobat (preferably version 7.0 or later). In Photoshop click "File" then "Save As" and choose .jpg from the list of options. In Acrobat select "File," "Export" then "Postscript" and choose "Encapsulated Postscript," which is the full name for an EPS file.

Step

Go to CreatePDF.adobe.com. This is Adobe System's official online PDF creation tool. Create an account, verify your email as instructed and log in to the tool.

Step

Find the JPG or EPS file on your computer, select it and click "Continue."

Step

Select the older format that you want to convert the PDF file to under "PDF Compatibility" on the next page. The available options are Acrobat 3.0 (PDF version 1.2), 4.0 (PDF version 1.3) or 5.0 (PDF version 1.4).

Step

Adjust your "Optimization Settings" if necessary. For instance, you can optimize the PDF for web or print viewing—the web option has compressed images while the print version is usually a larger file with high-resolution images.

Step

Choose your delivery method. You can wait for the conversion to take place within your browser or have it emailed to you when the conversion is complete. Click "Create PDF" and wait for the file to convert.