Why PDFs? • Archival PDFs • How to Create • "Gotchas" • Help Available at KU
PDF (Portable Document Format) preserves the layout and formatting of your original document (including fonts and special characters, like formulas) while allowing anyone with the free Adobe Reader software to access your content.
PDF also makes it easier to maintain archived documents, helping ensure that those documents can continue to be read years from now, despite changes in software used to create them.
PDF format allows many features that are not recommended for long-term preservation. If you are creating a PDF that will be archived on a long-term basis, such as a thesis or dissertation, or a document that will be placed in KU Scholarworks, follow these guidelines:
Acrobat software is available in several public computing labs on the KU campus. For details, visit the lab information page, and filter listings by Software.
Instructional Services at KU Libraries offers PDF: Power Hour, a one-hour workshop answering common questions about how to make PDFs. The handout for the workshop is available online, and includes instructions for creating a single PDF from multiple source files.
Acrobat is also available for sale through retail outlets, and you can download a free 30-day trial at www.adobe.com/products/acrobatpro/tryout.html.
An online demonstration of how to create a PDF using Acrobat 7 is available from Instructional Services.
To create a PDF using Acrobat 7,
Note: Selecting Standard in Default Settings will result in a PDF file with all fonts embedded, created at 600 dpi resolution. These are the correct settings for KU electronic theses and dissertations.
For a more detailed tutorial on using Acrobat 7 to create PDFs (including instructions on combining multiple files in a single PDF), see dissertations.umi.com/tutorial.html.
Mac computers are available in the Budig Media Lab (10 Budig Hall) and in the Herb Harris Lab (Kansas Union, 4th floor)
To create a PDF using Mac OS X,
For student submitting theses or dissertations, UMI (dissertations.umi.com/convert.html) offers up to 5 conversions per user. Users are notified by email when the conversion is complete.
Note: Only Word and RTF documents can be converted using this resource.
Create PDF Online services provided by Adobe online at createpdf.adobe.com. When using this method, choose Print Optimization in Optimization Settings (this will embed fonts and save your PDF at the proper resolution).
This service allows 5 free conversions per user. Users can wait online for the PDF to be created, or choose to be notified by email when the conversion is complete.
Note: Not all file types can be converted using this resource. See Adobe's site for acceptable file types.
Scholars using Microsoft Equation Editor to create equations for their documents may encounter problems when creating PDF versions of those documents; those equations may appear garbled onscreen or when printed out from the PDF.
Here are two ways to avoid potential problems:
LaTeX documents can be problematic when distilled into PDF files, because by default, fonts are frequently saved as Type 3 fonts, rather than Type 1. Text in the resulting PDF may look fuzzy and difficult to read onscreen.
LaTeX users without Acrobat
To avoid this problem, LaTeX users without Acrobat can use the package dvipdfm to translate LaTeX documents into PDF, which embeds type 1 fonts by default. For details on this package, see gaspra.kettering.edu/dvipdfm.
LaTeX users with Acrobat
LaTeX users with Acrobat can use the package dvips, and specify the option that forces the use of Type 1 fonts. (In MikTeX, use the flag –Pcmz with the dvips command.)
These notes are based on recommendations from The Berkeley Electronic Press. For more information, see www.bepress.com/manuals.html.
Computing Help Desk - help and troubleshooting for technology problems by phone (864-0200) or email (email@example.com).
Instructional Services - offers instruction and assistance on Acrobat and other software applications, technology, and research tools. (Look for PDF: Power Hour on their workshop schedule.)