Working with .PDF

“I can’t open the attachment you sent me!”  This is a common comment received by post commanders, adjutants and quartermasters.  The item they sent to the members as an email attachment can’t be opened, because the recipient does not have the same software, is using AOL.com, or he has not saved it to his computer.  You can help your members by making it easier for them to see what you created.

The best way to share documents, newsletters and flyers is as a PDF file. These are publishing files that can not be edited or changed by the recipient. This format is widely used and is viewed using Adobe’s free Acrobat Reader. The catch is that Adobe Acrobat is expensive and most posts do not have it.

Posts have a no-cost solution! In fact, there are two for you.

OpenOffice.org or LibreOffice.org are two nearly identical Office Suites that function like Microsoft’s Office products. They include a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation and database component.   They can also work with current and early versions of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Works, Corel, WordPerfect, and similar software. OpenOffice can print any of its documents or forms as a PDF.  The feature is built right in.

  • Not everyone can open a MS Works, MS Word,  MS Excel or other proprietary software document. If they don’t have the software or the same version of you on their computer, they can not open it.

A second solution is CutePDF (download a copy CutePDF Writer Freeware).  This is another no-cost software package.  You load it into your computer and it functions like a printer.    Note:  When installing the software, it may prompt you for a second item, PS2PDF Converter.  It is okay to install this converter.

Here is how to make a PDF file using CutePDF Writer:

  1. Create your document or spreadsheet.
  2. Select Print
  3. Select CutePDF Writer as the printer to print (do not select PRINT TO FILE option).
  4. You will get a SAVE dialog box asking for location to save and new filename.
  5. Select a folder to Save in and enter a filename.  Click SAVE.
  6. Open folder to open and view PDF.
  7. Distribute your item to post members as a PDF.  Attach to an email or post on your website.

Using myvfw.org for your post website?  Be sure to convert all files you upload to the site as PDF files.  Use for newsletters, obituaries, fliers, maps, and any other item you need to share.

Learn other ways to work smarter and find out out other the Website Toolbox and Training tabs located under TOOLS in the taskbar above.

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