How to create and edit PDFs in Microsoft Word

You don’t necessarily need expensive PDF editing software to create and edit PDFs — try Word’s built-in tools first. We show you how.

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You’ve been asked to supply a letter of reference by email. You compose one in Microsoft Word — but this is sensitive information. How do you keep someone from changing your words?

That’s why there’s PDF (Portable Document Format), the electronic equivalent of a printout. It’s not designed to be edited, so what you write is what the intended recipient reads. You can save Word files as PDFs in Word 2010, 2013 and 2016 for Windows, as well as in Word 2011 and 2016 for Mac.

Conversely, someone might send you a PDF that you need to edit — a form to be filled out or a brochure to be updated. Once upon a time, you needed dedicated PDF editing software to change a PDF while preserving its formatting. But in Word 2013 and 2016 for Windows, you can import a PDF into Word for editing with some, though not all, of its formatting intact. (This feature is not available in Word for Mac.)

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