Tips for creating PDF files in Word or Publisher

There are several things you can do that will take a few extra minutes of your time, but they will increase the usability of the PDF file.

Many of us use Microsoft Word or Microsoft Publisher to produce newsletters and documents. When we decide to place these on websites, we often select the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) to retain original graphics and formatting.

The advantage of creating a PDF is that it is a web-ready format, but the disadvantages may include larger file sizes/slower downloading and graphics/font issues. There are several things you can do that will take a few extra minutes of your time, but they will increase the usability of the PDF file.

Creating a PDF for the web

Open file

  • Open your document in the program you created the document in (Microsoft Word or Publisher)
  • Choose Print
  • Choose Acrobat Distiller
  • Within Distiller, click the “Properties” box

In the “Adobe PDF Settings” tab

  • Under "General Conversion Settings" choose “Screen” (for online or e-mail delivery)
  • Uncheck “Do not send fonts to Distiller”
  • Check “Ask to replace existing PDF file”

Review settings

  • Click the “Edit Conversion Settings…” box and review the series of tabs--based on the “General Conversion Setting” you chose earlier
  • Review the “General Conversion Setting”
    • General. Check that the default page size is the same as the source document size
    • Compression. Check that “Average downsampling” is no higher than 100 dpi (dots per inch)
      When you increase the dpi it will increase the PDF file size
    • Fonts. “Subset embedded fonts…” should be 100%
  • Click OK (takes you back to the Distiller Document Properties window)
  • Click OK

In the Print window

  • Click OK

Naming the file

  • Use all lower case letters, no spaces, and no slashes
  • The maximum size should not be higher than 600KB
    If the file size is larger, consider breaking it into separate documents.
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