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Mac OS X Leopard: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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PDF Files

Sooner or later, almost everyone with a personal computer encounters PDF (portable document format) files. Many a software manual, Read Me file, and downloadable "white paper" comes in this format. Until recently, you needed the free program called Acrobat Reader if you hoped to open or print these files. Windows devotees still do.

PDF files, however, are one of Mac OS X's common forms of currency. In fact, you can turn any document (in any program with a Print command) into a PDF file—a trick that once required the $250 program called Adobe Acrobat Distiller. (Maybe Apple should advertise: "Buy Acrobat for $250, get Mac OS X free—and $120 cash back!")

But why would you want to do so? What's the big deal about PDF in Mac OS X? Consider these advantages:

  • Other people see your layout. When you distribute PDF files to other people, they see precisely the same fonts, colors, page design, and other elements that you put in your original document. And here's the kicker: They get to see all of this even if they don't have the fonts or the software you used to create the document.

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