A free Adobe Acrobat Reader has been available for years for reading documents in PDF format. However if you owned a version of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) prior to Office 2007 and wanted to convert your MS Office documents into PDF format you needed to purchase a full copy of Adobe Acrobat for ~ $299. Another option is to purchase one of the lower cost software packages that allows you to create PDF format documents and provides a subset of the full Adobe Acrobat functionality.
With the release of Office 2007 Microsoft is now providing a free downloadable add-in for Office 2007 that allows users to save files in the PDF format. Although this add-in does not provide all of the rich functionality of the full Adobe Acrobat application (filling in forms, combining multiple PDF files, etc.), it does a fine job of taking a single document and converting it to PDF format.
Microsoft Web Site for Office 2007 Free PDF Add-in States:
“This download allows you to export and save to the PDF format in eight Microsoft Office 2007 programs. It also allows you to send files as e-mail attachments in the PDF format in a subset of these programs. Specific features vary by program.”
You can download this free PDF creator Add-in from the Microsoft web site. You should use Internet Explorer for this download as Microsoft may require you to run the Genuine Software Validation module to verify that you have a valid copy of Microsoft Office 2007.
UPDATE: With the release of Service Pack 2 for Microsoft Office 2007 the PDF add-in is automatically installed as part of the Service Pack. So if you are using MS Office 2007 and have not installed Service Pack 2 I would encourage you to do so as there are also a number of other benefits, including some performance enhancements for Microsoft Outlook.