A pdf file is a great way to show others what a document will look like. A pdf will look the same on Mac or PC, and you can download Acrobat reader for free. We send pdf’s to people all the time so they can approve something before we print it.
Going the other way, however, is a little more complicated. First of all, to create a pdf your will need Acrobat, which is a $300 program. It is also available as part of Adobe Creative Suite, and you get it for less when you buy the bundle. Acrobat puts a printer in your list that generates the pdf when you select it as a printer.
If you are sending a pdf to someone like us, you’ll want to select “for print” as the quality of the pdf you send. Some older versions call it something different, like “press quality” so just choose the highest quality choice it gives you. The higher quality of pdf you choose, the higher resolution it saves the images.
We also suggest that you proof your pdf carefully. It is very good at creating a file that looks just like what you created in your design program, but it is not perfect!
One other thing I just found as I was migrating programs to a new computer- older versions of Acrobat don’t work on Vista and Windows 7, and you’ll need to buy the upgrade to Acrobat version 9.