Sunday, November 13, 2005

Creating PDF files from anything

Creating PDF files in Mac OS X is easy, and its FREE! If you are coming from the Windows world, you will come to appreciate this great advantage over the PDF experience on Windows.

Why PDF?

Why should you care about creating PDF files?

The reasons are plenty, but the most important one is document portability. By portability, it means more than just moving computer files around. PDF is meant for preserving the presentation (i.e. the formating) of a document across all platforms. It is a digital equivalence to the paper-printed documents: the content and the presentation of content remain consistent no mater who you pass it to. Because of this property, PDF is already the de facto standard for data exchanged in the internet age. Most government agencies and banks now provide downloadable application forms in PDF format. Universities and professional groups are also requiring research papers to be submitted in PDF format.

Other reasons include privacy protection by means of encryption and password protection, and many more. For more information about PDF, check out this cool website by Adobe, the print expert company that initiated the format.

A simple tutorial

Let's create a PDF file from a webpage.
  1. In Safari, open the 'Print' dialog, then look for the 'PDF' button.

  2. Click the 'PDF' button to reveal the PDF options, then choose 'Save as PDF' (the organization of the options may vary in different versions of Mac OS X, it doesn't matter).

  3. Give a name to the PDF file and click Save. That's it!

Note: You can create PDF file from anything that can be printed with the pinter.. that's basically everything!

Screenshots of MacNify.PDF

A PDF file named 'MacNify.pdf' is created.

Screenshot of MacNify.pdf.

Adobe Acrobat Professional

While Mac's support for PDF is impressive, it lacks the complete set of advanced functions found in Adobe's products. If you need to do more than just distributing documents, e.g. creating fillable forms, you may need Adobe Acrobat Professional (Amazon Link). Otherwise, save the bucks for your next iPod, Mac's support is good enough.


lilfred said...

I have a resume from MS Word (PC version) so it's a .doc file. Is there any way to create a .pdf of it on my Mac using Mac's built-in .pdf creator?

macnify said...

.doc is well supported in Mac. Open your resume in Mac with any .doc supporting apps like Words and Pages, then follow the steps as mentioned in the article to print it to PDF.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to save Microsoft Office files other than just word i.e.: excel and powerpoint in pdf format? Can these files (which are usually large, over 30MB+) be then emailed?

macnify said...

Anything that you can PRINT using a printer can be saved in pdf format. Think of it as printing, only with this function you print on a 'virtual paper' i.e. pdf.

macnify said...

When talking about whether you can send large email attachments, it really depends on the restriction, if any, that your email service provider has imposed on you.

Scott said...

Is there a way to combine two PDF documents (like the insert command in Acrobat)?

I'm a new convert to Mac and love the PDF creation feature. But sometimes I need to combine two files and I'm trying not to but Acrobat if I can help it.

Bill said...

There is an issue with compatibility if the file you are printing is too huge (eg more than 40 pages). If you try printing a document that large into a pdf and try to open that pdf in Windows, or even with Adobe Acrobat Reader for Mac, the pages after 40 (or around that figure) will be blank.

I tried this task with Safari and encountered this problem, the only solution I could find was printing into pdf using another browser like Camino. Anyone else with this problem?

Beatrice said...

Most people aren't aware of the option in Automator - you can combine PDF files! Use the following actions in order - Get Specified Finder Items, Combine PDF Pages, Copy Finder Items. This gathers the files, combines them by appending or shuffling, then outputs them to a location (I use the desktop).

DarkEmpress said...

Very helpful. I appreciate this! Thank You : )