Question Can I create PDF format files without having to spend $300 for the current Adobe Acrobat Standard version 8?
Answer: You are in luck; there are a number of less expensive alternatives available. The .PDF (Acrobat) format from Adobe (web site here) has been around for over fifteen years now and PDFs are here to stay. For many people being able to read PDF files in their web browser or as a downloaded email attachment is sufficient. However more and more people are finding a need to create their own files in PDF format or to convert PDF files back to their original format (.doc, .xls, .ppt, .jpg, etc.).
Adobe Acrobat 9 Standard ($299 list price) is a powerful program and has many features beyond basic PDF creation and conversion. Many people don’t need all these capabilities and a less expensive alternatives to Adobe’s software may meet their needs quite effectively.
One alternative is a software package called ScanSoft PDF Converter Professional from Nuance Communications (web site here). This package has consistently received strong reviews. It has a list price of $99.
There are also a number of online PDF creation services on the Internet. One service worth checking out is PDFOnline.com (web site here). One of the real pluses with this service is that it is Free. In addition an online service also means there is no software to install or upgrade. A potential downside of online PDF conversion services is that your document needs to be uploaded to their site to be converted. So if you have any confidentiality concerns about your information this may not be a viable solution.
Another option is if you have an actual older version Acrobat Standard (it came bundled with many systems over the years). Having an older version allows you to purchase an Upgrade for ~ $90. To upgrade to version 9.0, your existing license must be at least version 5.0 or later.