How to Create PDF Files and Convert to PDF Properly

PDF- A Universal File Format

A PDF (Portable Document Format) file is the most reliable, efficient way to share documents across platforms—Windows, Macintosh, or UNIX. The layout, content, fonts, and graphics in your file are preserved and can be viewed and printed. Adobe Acrobat is one of several software applications that can convert just about any type of file into the PDF format.

To *view and print* PDF files, all you need is the free Adobe Acrobat “Reader” software, available at To *create* pdf files properly for different applications, follow the instructions below.

How to Create Low-resolution PDF Files For the Web

The plug-in called “PDF Writer,” included in Microsoft Word 2000 for Windows program, is a limited version of Acrobat Distiller software and can create low-resolution PDF files. A PDF file can be “optimized for the web” at low resolution and serve as an online form, a downloadable book or document, or a proof in the review process. Or the file can be “optimized for print” at medium resolution for printing on desktop inkjet and laser printers.

How to Create High-resolution PDF Files for Offset Printing

To create high-resolution PDF files for offset printing, I recommend that you purchase the Adobe Acrobat software program that includes the “Distiller” module for approximately $250. This software will create PDF files that are “optimized for the press.” Many printing companies accept PDF files. This is very helpful when the printer does not support the program in which you created your project.

First, consult with your printing company to get their specific PDF file settings or better yet, get their “job options” file. Place this tiny file into your Distiller “settings” folder. It has all your printer’s technical specifications for printing the job at his/her shop. The next step to creating a PDF file is to convert your document into a PostScript file, using your printer driver. This process will embed the fonts and graphics into a new PostScript or EPS file. Then run the Postscript or EPS file through Adobe Acrobat. This will produce the PDF file. Print a final proof from your PDF file to check for possible missing fonts and other errors. Send this proof with your PDF file to your printer.

Notes: Adobe Creative Suite applications have the option to simply save as a PDF file with a variety of export presets, eliminating the EPS/PostScript file step. Be aware that some printers may charge a fee to fix your file or add a surcharge for PDF files made from Microsoft Word documents.

About the Author
Karen Saunders is the author of "Turn Eye Appeal into Buy Appeal: How to easily transform your marketing pieces into dazzling, persuasive sales tools!" Hundreds of business owners have used her simple do-it-yourself design system to create stunning marketing materials that really SELL their products and services! Pick up FREE articles, audio classes, eCourse and ezines at