Save Family Cookbook File


Dear Computer Lady,

I am making a family cookbook for our 95th annual reunion in August. I am wondering about sharing it. I have it typed up in Works, but I know not everyone uses that program. Would something like Adobe be better? I would like to hand out discs and hard copies.

Thank you for any suggestions, Jacque Brown


Dear Jacque,

I applaud you for recognizing that not everyone will be able to read your Works document, many people don’t realize that others might have problems with their documents if they are not running the exact same program. Lets look at what options are available to you.

For your hard copies that you plan to give out, you really don’t have to worry about format. Once you print the copy, anyone can read it. 

What you have to worry about is the copy that you are putting on Disks. Adobe would be a good option, but it is quite expensive to purchase. There are other programs that will allow you to save your file in the Adobe format, however, you will have to download and install the program first.

Let’s look at a couple of potential solutions, beginning with the easiest.


1. You can save your Works document in either plain text or rich text format.

A text file will save only the text, without any formatting like Bold, Italic, or text colors.

A Rich Text file is able to save the text along with many of the basic formatting options. This allows you to dress up the text with different text sizes, bold headings and different color text.

These options will work well if you don’t have any pictures in your cookbook, and you don’t have to install any new software on your computer.

Here is how to save your file in Text or Rich Text format:

a. Simply open your cookbook in Works, click on “File” in the menu bar, then click on “Save As…”

b. In the Save As dialog box, find the section that says, “Save as type:” and click on the drop down list.

c. Select either “Rich Text Format (*.rtf)” or, “Text File (*.txt) and type a new name for your document.

d. Click on the “Save” button to save this new copy of your file.

e. Open the file in WordPad. (all Windows computers  have WordPad) to see what the results look like.


2. You can install a program that will allow you to convert your Works document to an Adobe Acrobat file. Usually these programs look like a printer on your computer (this requires you to think of creating your Acrobat file as printing even though nothing is being put on paper).

I don’t have this kind of program installed on my computer, but a quick google search for “Print to PDF” gave me a lot of results, some of them free and some of them you could purchase.  If anyone uses this type of program, please share your experience with us in the comments section below.


3. You can install a program that will export your document to a PDF file. I have two programs on my computer that will allow me to save, or export, my file to a PDF version.

Microsoft Word has that option, but you might have to install that option from Microsoft’s website.

I use a program from Serif Software called PagePlus. It is a desktop publishing program that makes it easy for me to create anything from address labels, newsletters, greeting cards, and letters to large posters. One of the features in PagePlus is that I can publish a PDF version of my document, I just click on “File” and then select, “Publish to PDF”. In addition to saving a PDF version of your files, PagePlus also allows you to open and edit existing PDF files, which is a great feature.

I use Page Plus all the time, and find it very easy to share my documents with others using the Publish to PDF feature. You can check out PagePlus, just click on the banner above this paragraph. 


4. Now we are getting to the more difficult options. You could re-create your cookbook in HTML format (which means that it would look like a website) this would also be readable on any computer running Windows, and the HTML file would also be accessible to users on a MAC computer as well. Unless you are familiar with HTML code, you would need a program to convert your book to HTML. PagePlus will save your document as HTML in addition to PDF.


5. Your last option, also the most expensive, would be to purchase Adobe Acrobat at Currently, Adobe Acrobat is selling from $299.00 to $699.00 depending on what version you buy.


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