PDF Files

What is a PDF?

PDF stands for Portable Document Format. This is a file format designed to facilitate file exchange by allowing the entire layout (including fonts and images) to be transferred elsewhere without any changes in appearance. A PDF document will look the same no matter what operating system or version of operating system you view it with. 

Saving a File as a PDF

Windows

Hold on a second:  Do you have a print project (posters, brochures, etc) that requires PDF?  Right this way please...  (Otherwise please proceed with the next paragraph here.)

CutePDF Writer is a free program that allows Windows users to save any file as a PDF document.

After you have downloaded and installed CutePDF Writer, follow the instructions below to save a file as a PDF:

  • Open your file and go to your print menu.
  • Under the list of printers, select CutePDF Writer and hit OK or Print. Don't worry, this will not print your file.
  • A window will appear asking you what you want to name your document and where you want to save it. After you have selected what you want, click Save. Your file is now saved as a PDF.

OS X

Hold on a second:  Do you have a print project (posters, brochures, etc) that requires PDF?  Right this way please...  (Otherwise please proceed with the next paragraph here.)

To save a file as a PDF document, no special software is required. Just follow the instructions below:

  • Open the document you wish to convert to a PDF.
  • Click on File>Print.
  • In the bottom left corner of the 'Print' windows, click on the the PDF drop-down menu.
  • Choose Save as PDF... 
  • In the window that pops up, enter a name in the Save as box and choose a location for the PDF from the drop-down Where menu.
  • Click Save. Your file has now been saved as a PDF document. 

Accessing PDFs

In order to be able to view PDF documents, you must have either Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat Pro installed on your computer.

Adobe Reader

Adobe Reader is a program that allows the user to open, view, and work on PDF documents. It is available free at  http://get.adobe.com/reader/. Adobe Reader also allows you to digitally sign, search, and print PDF documents. It may be installed on both Macs and PCs.

Adobe Acrobat Pro

Adobe Acrobat Pro is software available to purchase from WCTS for both Macs and PCs. The software allows you to split, merge, edit, and polish your PDF document. Contact the WCTS Helpdesk at (509)527-4976, or helpdesk@whitman.edu, for more information on purchasing Acrobat Pro for your computer.

Merging and Splitting PDFs

Windows

PDFsam is a free program that allows you to merge and split pdf files.

Once you have downloaded and installed PDFsam, follow the instructions below to merge or split your files:

Merging:

  • Open PDFsam and click on Merge/Extract in the menu on the left side of the window.
  • Add the files that you wish to merge (the button is on the right side of the window).
  • Once you have added all the files that you want merged, and have arranged them appropriately using the buttons found on the right side of the window, select a destination folder for your new file.
  • To finish the process, click the Run button in the lower right corner of the window. Your merged file is now saved; you may access it by going to the folder that you saved it in.

Splitting:

  • Open PDFsam and click on Split in the menu on the left side of the window.
  • Add the file that you wish to split (the button is on the right side of the window).
  • Select how you want the file split by selecting the appropriate option under "Split options."
  • Select a destination folder, either the same as the document you are splitting ("Same as source") or a new folder ("Choose a folder").
  • You may also choose to change the prefix of the resulting pdfs under Output options. This is what will appear before your new pdfs (e.g. pdfsam_originaldocument.pdf).
  • Click Run. This will complete the splitting process. Your new, smaller pdfs may be accessed by going to the folder that you saved them in.

OS X

In OS X, Preview is used to merge and split PDFs. Preview should come with any Mac computer.

Merging:

  • Open one of the PDF files you wish to merge in Preview.
  • In the top menu, select View. Then click on Sidebar>Show Sidebar. A sidebar should appear with a thumbnail of your document in the right side of the window.
  • Drag your other PDFs into the sidebar from the folder that they are saved in. 
    • Note: In Snow Leopard, you will need to drag the files on top of the PDF that shows up in the sidebar. If you do not do this, a red bar will be visible. This means that the PDF will be added as an external link rather than an extra page.
  • Order the PDFs (that are now pages in the merged document) by dragging them up or down in the sidebar.
  • Save your file. Your files have now been merged into one PDF document.

Splitting:

  • Open the PDF file you wish to split in Preview.
  • In the top menu, select View. Then click on Sidebar>Show Sidebar. A side bar should appear on the right side of the window with thumbnails of the pages of your document.
  • Drag the pages you want separated to a folder or your desktop. This should separate the page into a separate PDF.

Editing PDFs

To make changes to a PDF (other than signing or checking boxes), you must have Adobe Acrobat Pro installed on your computer. Acrobat Pro is compatible with both Macs and PCs and is available for purchase from WCTS. Please contact the WCTS Helpdesk at (509)527-4976 or helpdesk@whitman.edu for more information.

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