PDF (Portable Document Format) is the de facto standard for the secure and reliable distribution and exchange of electronic documents and forms around the world. PDF files capture all elements of a printed document as an electronic image that you can view, navigate, print, or forward to someone else. A PDF file will usually (but not always) look and print out exactly like its paper counterpart, with the proper fonts, tables, graphs, and pictures.
Adobe Systems developed the PDF standard and provides the premiere package for creating and manipulating PDF files. Adobe Acrobat is the software used to create PDF files and is separate and distinct from Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded free but can be used only to view, not to create, PDF files.
For most students, creating a PDF file from Microsoft Word or other word processing program is as simple as selecting the appropriate button in the print menu and then checking the resulting PDF file for errors in translation. Both Sterne and Lister Hill libraries have designated computers that have the necessary software and personnel who can help you. Ask at the help desk.
For students who would like to learn more advance techniques, such as combining files or creating internal links, Ohio State University has produced a detailed tutorial for creating and manipulating PDF files. It is available at the ProQuest/UMI Web site: http://dissertations.umi.com/etd_tutorial_proquest.pdf
WARNING: Do not assume that, if your final Word document was correct, the PDF will necessarily also be correct. Occasionally, PDF files contain errors that have occurred during the conversion from Word. Check each page of the final PDF document before you submit it. In particular, look at page numbers, symbols, charts, graphs, and any graphic files you imported into your document.