Converting Files to PDF

For text-based works, the University of Hawaii Libraries recommend PDF as the preferred file format. Although eVols will accept MS Word, WordPerfect, and other file formats for text, PDF is preferred because it is open source and easier to preserve.

If you need to submit a PDF file you will want to convert from whatever format you presently have to Adobe PDF. For most electronic documents that’s a process that’s almost as simple as printing, though you may need some specialized software:

  • If you are presently using MS Word or a similar PC/Mac word processor to prepare your work, the easiest thing to do is to use Adobe Acrobat (the commercial product, not the free Acrobat Reader) to create a PDF file.
    • Acrobat can be purchased at the UH Bookstore; there is a substantial educational discount. A 30 day free trial copy is also available from the Adobe website.
  • If you have access to a modern Mac (one running MacOS X), you can print to PDF files from any Mac application; no need to purchase Acrobat.
  • Users of OpenOffice (a free competitor to Microsoft Office, for PC, Mac, and Linux systems) can also create PDF documents directly from their word processor.
  • There are several low-priced commercial products that perform the same function as PDFCreator, converting printable documents to PDF.
  • Alternatively, you can use the online PDF conversion service provided by Adobe. A free trial subscription allows you to convert up to 5 documents, or you can subscribe ($10/month) for further access (Note: we have not experimented extensively with this option yet).

Special Formatting Issues

As you create a PDF file, you will need to pay special attention to fonts. It’s very important that all unusual fonts be included (“embedded”) in the PDF file as TrueType or Postscript fonts, since otherwise the font you used might not be available when someone later tried to view or print your magnum opus.

Note that many readers of your work will view it after printing the PDF file on a black & white laser printer. Although the PDF format allows you to include a wide variety of media, you should insure that the crucial information will be preserved when the document is reproduced. If you include color images in your PDF file, make sure that they are still readable if printed in monochrome on letter-size paper.

For More Information

There is a wealth of information about PDF on the web. See for instance:

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