There are several ways to create a PDF from a Microsoft Word document. PDF, or Portable Document Format, is used worldwide as a standard in publishing documents on the Internet. This article will briefly look at the origins and use of PDF and detail a document conversion solution that anyone can use.
PDF has become the de facto standard in sharing documents and publishing on the Internet. For a complete look at the origins of PDF, see history of PDF at http://www.prepressure.com/pdf/history/history01.htm
Documents are created using a variety of applications. Some of the most popular are Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Publisher, plus many other kinds of applications. Sharing and publishing those documents becomes difficult when not everyone uses the same software.
Anyone can download and install the free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader and view PDFs. However, the Acrobat Reader cannot create a PDF. To create a PDF from your document you will need additional software or you can use an online conversion service.
- Buy full verion of Adobe Acrobat.
- Buy software from another vendor that needs to be installed.
- Use an online conversion service.
Buying a new version of Adobe Acrobat will cost over $200. If you have a licensed copy of Adobe Acrobat, you are set and ready to convert.
Purchasing another vendor’s software is a bit of a guessing game on what to buy and whom you are buying from. Most companies will offer you a free trial version. Install it and try it out before committing to buying the software. When using either Adobe Acrobat or another conversion software product can be a good option, if you can afford the initial cost. However, buying software means you’re ethically limited to using it on only one computer. You will also need to purchase upgrades as they become available.
Online conversion services are another option. With most, you simply upload your document to their site, it is converted and returned to you, either by email or a link back to the site. Some companies provide free conversions with limitations, which can include document file size, number of pages, or restricted ability to print or change your PDF. This option usually gives you a quick and easy way to find out if the service will meet your needs. The advantage to using an online service is that the cost is lower and the service is accessible from anywhere you have an Internet connection. You also avoid upgrade costs when newer software becomes necessary.
A closer look at one PDF conversion option reveals just how easy the process really is. pdf4u is an online document conversion service that can be found on the web at http://www.pdf4u.com.
This particular service offers two ways to convert a Word document to PDF: submitting the document using their site or installing their printer and using it for your conversions. We’ll walk through both methods.
Converting Native Word Document
- Go to http://www.pdf4u.com. Enter your email address. This automatically becomes your user name and will be the address used to return your PDF via attachment. If you have a Hotmail, Google, or Yahoo email account, you’ll be able to use this solution anywhere you can access the Internet.
- Select the Word document to be converted to PDF by using the browse button.
- If you have a subscription you can change any of the Document Settings. The only one that has any effect on the quality of the PDF is the PDF Quality option. The PDF Quality option defines the resolution of the PDF document. If you have a lot of graphics you might need the prepress option.
- Click on the Convert button.
You should be taken to a new page on the browser that tells you if the document was submitted and accepted successfully. If successful it will display the Document Settings your new PDF will have when you receive it as an attachment via email.
Installing the printer requires an extra step but once installed is easy to use and you won’t need to start a browser session to submit a document for conversion to PDF.
- Go to the web site and click on the Printer Download menu item. that is displayed on the left menu. Download the pdf4u printer and install using the default options.
Open up your Word document to be converted and select the pdf4u printer as your printer.
- Review your document and print using the pdf4u printer.
- Once printing is completed a Document Submission Software screen will appear. On this screen enter the email address to send the converted PDF. Make any changes to the document name as desired and click the Next button.
- The next screen is for setting the Document Settings and display resolution. Set the Document Settings to be placed on the PDF and the PDF display resolution. For best display results select the pre-press option for the PDF Display Resolution field. Click the Next button and your document will begin transferring to the pdf4u web site.
- When the document has completed uploading you will get a File Transfer Completed screen to indicate the status of your file transfer operation. If you do not have a subscription to pdf4u the settings on the Document Settings screen will be ignored and the maximum file size (as of this writing) that can be uploaded is 50K.
- Repeat steps 2 through 6 for each document to be converted to PDF.
Whichever option you choose, document conversion to PDF should be relatively painless. And since it appears as though PDF is here to stay, everyone should make certain they have this capability at their fingertips.