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Tech tips

A safe way to sign PDFs and convert them to different formats

PDFs are useful for sharing documents in their original format and layout. They can be used for manuals, forms, resumes, contracts, scanned material, pages from a book, eBooks and more. A PDF will be correctly displayed on any device you send it to and look the same for everyone.

What do you do when you come across a webpage that you want to save? You can take a screenshot, but this will retain ads and other such things you don’t need. Copying the text works, but then you lose images. There are easy ways to export web pages as PDFs. Tap or click here for instructions for Mac or Windows users.

Sharing a PDF is as simple as sending an email or text, but creating one of these files isn’t always easy. You may associate PDFs with Adobe Acrobat, and why not? Adobe created the Portable Document Format. While you do have to pay for premium services from Adobe, some don’t require this.

Be aware of what’s out there

Adobe Acrobat is comprised of a group of programs designed to help you work with PDFs. Services include reading, editing, creating, signing, printing, converting and managing PDF files.

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You don’t need to use any Adobe software to work with PDFs. Do a Google search, and you’ll get all kinds of results promising PDF functionality. Unfortunately, some of these sites are sketchy. They’ll lure you in and ask for personal information. In worse cases, you’ll download malware disguised as an app.

If you want to edit and convert PDFs into file formats like Excel and Word, there’s Adobe Acrobat Standard DC. This premium service starts at $12.99 per month and lets you scan, sign, track and send PDFs. There’s a free 7-day trial available, after which you are charged unless you cancel.

Adobe Acrobat Reader is a free program that lets you view, sign, collaborate and annotate PDF files. While you can create an account or sign in with Google or Apple, you don’t even need to take this step at first.

Adobe online

Adobe has a page offering free online PDF tools for anyone to use. You can convert various files to PDF and vice versa. You can reduce file size and edit PDFs, including adding notes and reordering and merging pages. You can also sign PDFs and request signatures.

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Simply go to adobe.com/acrobat/online on your desktop or mobile device to get started. Select a service and follow the onscreen instructions.

Let’s go through one as an example: converting a Word document to PDF.

  • Select Convert to PDF or Word to PDF.
  • On the next page, tap or click Select a file and choose the Word document you want to convert.
  • After the program completes the task, select Download to save it to your device.

There are limits to how many times you can use the tools, and at some point, you will have to create an account.

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