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Converting to PDF

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What is a PDF file?

PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It is a unique type of cross-platform file format developed by Adobe. It is navigational, ultra-printable and viewable, as well as smaller than other document formats. You can make PDFs from other common file types such as Word and other MS Office programs, and web pages. To make PDF documents on a PC, or a Mac running OS 9 or a previous system, you need Adobe Acrobat (if the program is not on your BC computer, your TC will be able to download it). Acrobat has two tools for creating PDFs: Distiller and PDF Maker. Mac OS X includes a feature for creating PDFs. For more information on the benefits of PDF files, go to

When I’m creating a PDF file, should I use the PDF Maker or the Distiller?

We suggest always using the Distiller to create your documents. The PDF Maker always creates larger files than the Distiller does, and does not always accurately reproduce images and complex formatting.

For more information, see

PC for Simple Text Documents and Line Art

If your toolbars include the Adobe Acrobat icon simply click on it to begin the conversion process. This option may be available to you even if it is not visible; pull down the View menu, select Toolbars, and look for “Acrobat” or its symbol. This option uses PDF Maker rather than Distiller, and may not work with complex formatting, EPS images or artwork and images that are patterns.

PC Using Distiller

1. Pull down the File menu and select Print. Select Distiller as your printer and check in the “Print to File” box. Click Properties.

Print Distiller

2. Select the tab for Adobe PDF settings. Make sure the option “Do not send fonts to Distiller” is unchecked--other settings are a matter of preference.

Do not send fonts to Distiller

3. Click OK to exit Properties, and OK again to print.

4. In the “Save as type” pull-down menu, select Printer files. After editing the name of the file and navigating to the location where you wish to place it, click Save.

5. Open Adobe Acrobat, pull down the Tools menu, and select Distiller.

Tools menu

6. Pull down the File menu, select Open, set "Files of type" to "All files," and navigate to the printer file.

7. Click Open and you will be prompted to name the new PDF and navigate to the location where you wish to place it.

8. Click Save and the conversion process will begin.

PC using Watched Folders and Distiller

If you designate a folder as “watched” any files it contains will be automatically converted into PDFs when you open Adobe Acrobat.

1. Decide which folder you would like to be “watched” (or create a new one).

2. Open Adobe Acrobat, pull down the Tools menu, and select Distiller. Pull down the Settings menu and select Watched Folders.

3. Click Add and browse to the folder you've created or chosen, then click OK. Two new folders appear in the Watched one, an “in” folder and an “out” folder.

4. When you have completed an MS Office file you want to convert into a PDF, save it as a printer file following the first two steps in “PC Using Distiller” (above). Be sure to place it in the “in” folder within the “Watched” folder.

5. Open Adobe Acrobat, pull down the Tools menu and select Distiller. As soon as it opens, the automatic conversion process begins. Look for the new PDF in the “out” folder within the Watched folder.

Mac OS X

1. From within a document, pull down the File menu and select print.

2. Pull down the drop-down list headed "Copies and Pages" and select "Output Options."

3. Check in the box next to "Save as File," make sure Format is set to "PDF," and click on Save.

Save as PDF

4. Edit the file name as needed, choose a location for saving it and click on Save.

If you encounter difficulties or would like further information, please contact