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In this series on productivity, author Jess Stratton takes you through the latest tools that will help you run your business and life more efficiently. Each installment covers a particular feature or technique in a different online tool, such as Google Apps, Skype, YouTube, Mint.com, Etsy, and more. Check back every Monday for tips on topics from recording and publishing video chats to managing your finances online.
I'm Jess Stratton and welcome to Monday Productivity Pointers. A contract is a legally binding document that serves as an agreement between two parties. The contract itself spells out the details and usually involves both parties signing the contract, to signify that it's been read and agreed to on both sides. Because the contract is a document, you'll most likely be creating it in a word processing app such as Microsoft Word, which is what I have open right now. In fact, I have an agreement that I've been working on, right up here in front of me.
The problem is that if you send a contract out to be signed and then faxed or scanned an email back to you as a Word document, there's no document integrity. This means that unless you turn on track changes in the Word document, you can't know that the other party hasn't changed anything in your contract before signing in. You can very quickly turn your Word document contract into a PDF file to sent to your client. You don't need any additional software to be able to do this.
And you can do it right from Microsoft Word. That's what I'm going to show you how to do today. The benefit of this is that your document will be readable still, and your clients can print and sign it, but there's no editable text anywhere on it. Unless you have software to edit it such as Adobe Acrobat, Illustrator or other certain Adobe brand products. Now because of that, I do need to mention that this method won't leave you completely secure of editing. If you need to be absolutely sure that your document hasn't been altered in any way, you'll need the proper PDF creation software.
Such as Adobe Acrobat, in which you can disable editing completely or password protect the actual text of your document. However, this is a fantastically easy and free method that you can use to send your customers pdf files of your Word documents. Security or not, you can definitely find a use for this in your day to day work. So, I've got my Word document open. I've been working on this contract and it's all ready to go. Now, if you save it, it will end with a file extension .docx for a Microsoft Word document but that's not what we want.
We can actuallly save this in Word as a pdf file, and you can do that by choosing File>Save As just like you normally would. I'll choose to save it to my desktop. So here's my partnership agreement. I can give the final name anything I want, but I'm interested in the Save As type drop down, which is right underneath the file name. And I'm going to click the arrow to the right of that, because it defaults to saving it as a Word document because we're in Microsoft Word. But there's a very long list of choices here.
For example, you could save this as a template if you want, you can save it as a web page. But here, I'm going to save it as a PDF. This is going to change the file extension of this file. It's going to change it to partnership agreement.pdf. I'll choose Save. And now it's going to pop it open. So, it's going to pop it open, because I already have something on my computer that can open up a PDF file. In this case, it's Adobe Reader, which is the free version you can download from Adobe. To read other people's pdf files. As you can see this is not text and you may have gotten a contract emailed to you from somebody else in pdf form also.
So now you can simply attach this to your email. The partnership agreement .pdf. Your customers can open it up, print it, sign it and either fax it back to you or they can just scan and email it back. And you'll know that this hasn't been altered in any way just like a contract should be.
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