Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
PDF, or Portable Document Format, is a common format for sharing documents. Turning your Word document into a PDF can be as simple as printing.
PDF, or Portable Document Format, is Adobe's solution for creating documents that can be read almost anywhere. By downloading Adobe's free reader, a PDF file can be read on almost any computer, and even portable devices such as PDAs.
But how do you create a PDF in the first place?
As is often the case, there are several answers...
The "official" way is to purchase a copy of Adobe Acrobat. Acrobat's purpose in life is to create PDFs. It installs several tools, including a Word macro that makes creating PDFs from Word a single-click operation. It also installs a Windows printer driver that will allow you to create PDFs from any application that can print.
Adobe also has an on-line solution Create Adobe PDF Online, that will allow you to create PDFs. It's a subscription service, but the first five PDFs are included in a free trial.
A Google search turns up many PDF conversion programs, ranging from free to inexpensive. Their capabilities vary, so it would be wise to investigate and try a few before investing any money.
Yet another solution is the free Open Office. Open Office is a free suite of office applications, including a word processor much like Microsoft Word. Open office can read Word documents and can create PDFs. Again, the feature set is similar, but not identical to Word and Acrobat, so compatibility may still be an issue. But the price is right, and it's a well supported open source application with a very active user community to help.
For the record, if you're planning on professional PDF content creation as part of a business strategy, the investment in Acrobat is probably worth it. No issues of compatibility or missing features that way. If you're just experimenting, then the free or inexpensive converters are a good way to go.