Social Science Technology ServiceWestern Social Science

Creating PDF Files

  1. Overview
  2. Microsoft Word
  3. Corel WordPerfect
  4. Microsoft PowerPoint

1. Overview

Advantages

PDF files have become the standard file format for the reliable exchange of files across various hardware and software platforms. Adobe Acrobat is often the software used to do this, although now it can be done in Microsoft Office. Here are some reasons for creating PDF files:

  1. Your audience can use Adobe Acrobat Reader—free software for viewing and printing the PDF (Portable Document Format) files you create with Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Adobe Acrobat Reader is available for many platforms including Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris and Android.
  3. Adobe PDF files preserve the look and integrity of your original documents including fonts and images.
  4. Creating PDF files is a better choice than HTML for publishing documents and slide presentations to the web for maximum compatibility with your audience.
  5. It's faster than creating an HTML file from a long complex document.
  6. Creating an Adobe PDF file is as easy as clicking a button.

Please consider the following: Due to the printing behaviour of PDF files on the student printers in the SSC, you should consider posting the original Word, WordPerfect or PowerPoint file on your course web site in addition to the PDF file. This will give students more flexibility with print options.

If you are concerned about copyright issues, please email ssts-help@uwo.ca or call our main office at extension 82152.

Installing Adobe Acrobat

You may install Adobe Acrobat from the SSC Network menu as follows:

Start > All Programs > SSC Network > Add-Remove Programs

Once Adobe Acrobat has been installed you simply open your document in the appropriate application and print it using the "Acrobat Distiller" or "Adobe PDF" printer driver. Adobe Acrobat will then take over by prompting you for a filename and file location to store the PDF file.

The remainder of this resource note provides some tips and suggestions when creating a PDF file using the popular applications Microsoft Word, WordPerfect and Microsoft PowerPoint.


2. Microsoft Word

To create a PDF file using Microsoft Word, open a Word document, select Save & Send from the File menu and choose Create PDF/XPS Document under Files Types. Then click the Create PDF/XPS button on the right side of the menu.  A dialog box will open allowing you to browse to an appropriate location and name the file.  Click Publish.  

Using the Office 2007 PDF Add-in

Once you install the Microsoft Office 2007 PDF Add-in, open the Word document from which you would like to create the PDF, and choose the Save As > PDF or XPS option.  Name the file and click on Publish.


3. Corel WordPerfect

To create a PDF file in the version of Corel WordPerfect used on the SSC Network, you must use the Adobe Acrobat software. Open a WordPerfect document, select Print from the File menu and choose Acrobat Distiller or Adobe PDF in the Destination Name drop down box. In the Save PDF File As dialog box provide a filename and a location to store the PDF file.

Once the file has been created Adobe Acrobat Reader will be launched with the PDF file you created. You may close Adobe Acrobat Reader.

The PDF file may contain an extra blank page. To delete this page run Adobe Acrobat, open the PDF file you just created and select Document > Pages > Delete. Note the number of pages in the Delete Pages dialog box. Enter this number in both the From and To fields. Save your changes.

4. Microsoft PowerPoint

Slide show presentations for seminars and lectures are easy to create with Microsoft PowerPoint. In addition you can create handouts (with multiple slides per page) which your audience may consult later on. As with Word and WordPerfect you can create a PDF file.

Prior to creating the PDF file some thought should be given to your intended audience. The storage size of the file will affect download time and colour (including shades of grey) can use excessive amounts of toner when printing. To help with this, open the Design tab and perform the following actions in the Background menu. Select Hide Background Graphics. Next, choose a plain style from the Background Style dropdown menu. Finally, click on the bottom right corner arrow of the Background menu and click the Apply to All button. Most likely you will want to retain the colour and background graphics in your PowerPoint presentation so do not save these changes.

Important: When you are including photos or images from JPEG or GIF files first resize the images in a graphic editor such as Photoshop or Paint. Images resized within PowerPoint look the same, but they still retain their original size making the overall file size larger. Resizing your images before inserting them in PowerPoint will make your final PDF files smaller and it will print faster.

Creating a PDF file using Microsoft PowerPoint is also very similar to the method used with Microsoft Word.  Select Save & Send from the File menu and choose Create PDF/XPS Document under Files Types. Then click the Create PDF/XPS button on the right side of the menu.  A dialog box will open allowing you to browse to an appropriate location and name the file.  If you are posting this PDF on your course web site for your students, choose Optimize for: Minimum size (publishing online). Click Publish

If your presentation contains more than just a few slides you might prefer to use Adobe Acrobat to create your PDF file. Choose Print from the File menu. Select   and choose Acrobat Distiller or Adobe PDF in the Printer drop down box.  Click on the drop down box for Full Page Slides: Print 1 slide per page and choose an appropriate layout (typically 3, 4 or 6 per page). Finally, make a selection from the Color/grayscale drop down box. You might wish to experiment with this last selection balancing the value of colour with file size.

Once the file has been created Adobe Acrobat Reader will be launched with the PDF file you created. You may close Adobe Acrobat Reader.