How to make a good PDF résumé without purchasing Adobe Acrobat (or anything else)?

  • Use the trial version of Adobe Acrobat.
    – rizzz86
    Jun 16 '14 at 14:18

12 Answers 12


I use Word for formatting and CutePDF Writer to print it to PDF.

  • 1
    Been using CutePDF for years. It's free, it works, and you can send ANYTHING you can print to a PDF with this tool. Jul 17 '10 at 1:26
  • PrimoPDF or CutePDF all the way.
    – Lunatik
    Jul 17 '10 at 16:51
  • 2
    newer versions of Microsoft Words allow "save-as PDF" natively, now.
    – mveroone
    Aug 20 '13 at 12:37

Try LaTeX -- it would also look better then.
Start with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LaTeX and http://miktex.org/

  • 2
    If you'll find LaTeX a bit though, search for LyX (same syntax, but more easy at first sight).
    – dag729
    Jul 17 '10 at 1:04
  • 1
    @dag And LyX has a couple of pre-made example files for a CV, which look pretty good when the PDF is generated.
    – sblair
    Jul 17 '10 at 1:47
  • Having dabbled in Latex, I can't recommend this. If he said "hey I need to make a document with lots of maths" then yes. For a resume learning Latex is far too much work.
    – jcollum
    Dec 6 '10 at 22:06
  • @jcollum Learning how to make a reasonably non-ugly document in WYSIWYG editor in a finite time is much harder than learning basic LaTeX.
    – mbq
    Dec 6 '10 at 22:56
  • 2
    Having done both, I disagree. Everybody and their brother has opened a WYSIWYG editor at some point. And there must be hundreds of templates out there in the world.
    – jcollum
    Dec 7 '10 at 18:22

I use OpenOffice.org's word processor to create the resume and then export it as a PDF - it works quite well. If you are used to Microsoft Word, it should be fairly easy to adopt OpenOffice.org - it's very similar to old versions of Word (before the Ribbon). A few things are in different places, but it's not that bad to get used to.

Since you are using Windows, if you have Microsoft Word installed, that should also have a way to export to PDF (or you can obtain a PDF printer, which allows you to create PDFs in the same manner that you would print a document to a regular printer).

Another option would be to learn and use LaTeX. However, I wouldn't recommend this if you just want to write and maintain your resume. It's far more useful for things like scientific and engineering publication writing (although OO.org and Word are getting better at that).

  • Why learn LaTeX - or any other project, for that matter - when you can use free tools, or the built-in functionality in Office 2007?
    – TFM
    Jul 16 '10 at 23:11
  • 1
    I just proposed it as an option. Would I recommend it? Not for most people. OpenOffice.org or Microsoft Office and some form of PDF export tool (if it's necessary, depending on the version you are using) would be a far easier choice. However, all options should be presented so the OP can choose what he feels is best. Jul 17 '10 at 0:49

MS Word 2007 has a built-in PDF exporter

  • Exactly what I was going to say. For Office 2007, you need to download the PDF export package separately. Word 2010 (as of the beta) has it built in. microsoft.com/downloads/…
    – nhinkle
    Jul 17 '10 at 0:53

LaTeX is a great choice for resumes and cover letters, or anything that you want to look neat and professional.
If you use a premade template (like the ones here), then it becomes very simple. No need to learn a ton of complicated new syntax - all the pieces you are likely to use already exist in the examples, just replace their text with yours and you are ready to go. Of course, learning LaTeX can be very helpful in other areas as well. Some folks who recognize documents created with LaTeX may also take you more seriously if the position is computer- or math-related.

If you don't feel like using LaTeX, lots of pdf printers exist. There is CutePDF, as mentioned by steve, but the one that I usually use is Bullzip.


For extra geek cred, write your resume in XML, format it with XSL-FO and output a PDF. ;-)

  • or asciidoc -> docbook -> xsl-fo -> pdf :)
    – akira
    Jul 17 '10 at 5:32

Scribus has always served me well for this purpose and many others.


There is PDF Creator. It installs as a printer, and can quickly generate a PDF from most any program you can print from.


Office 2007 and Office 2010 allows you to save as PDF without the need of things like PDF printer drives with the added benefit that it makes for "search/copy/paste-able" PDF's with even the option to generate table of contents.

I believe for 2007 you have to download the Addin but 2010 has it by default: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=4D951911-3E7E-4AE6-B059-A2E79ED87041&displaylang=en http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word-help/save-a-file-in-pdf-format-HA010064992.aspx


I would also recommend OpenOffice since it's free and supports multiple file types. You could also visit http://en.pdf24.org/ and have them convert it for you. Or you could download and install their program which makes pdf24 appear as a printer on your machine. This allows you to "print" out a pdf version of your resume which you can then save.


Its called pdfCV it will help you create your Resume(CV) online as a PDF in minutes, where ever you are or on whichever computer you are using.



Install a PDF printer, like:



BullZip PDF

Use your favorite word processor, like Microsoft Word, and then select your PDF Printer that you just installed. It would print and ask you to name the resulting PDF file.

Personally, for simple PDF creations, I use doPDF.
If I need to embed the font that I am using in my document, I prefer to use BullZip PDF.

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