Creating PDF Files

This documentation covers how to create Portable Document Format (PDF files) so they can be easily read and printed using the standard adobe acrobat reader. PDF files can also be used for printing on a large format printer, such as the Science Plotter.

Creating PDF Files - PC

To create a PDF file on a PC, you must have a program installed that will accomplish this task. You can purchase a copy of Adobe Acrobat, which is about $60, and have it installed on your machine. Contact the WCTS Helpdesk at  or at extension 4976 to purchasee a copy.

  1. Open the document you want to be a PDF file.
  2. Make sure the document is formatted the way you want.
  3. Click on the "File" menu
  4. Click on "Print"
  5. Click the drop arrow next to the printer list and choose Acrobat Distiller. (It may already be chosen.)
  6. Click OK.
  7. You will see the Save PDF File As prompt.
  8. Make sure that the directory selected is the desired location to save your file.
  9. Change the file name if needed
  10. Click OK.
  11. Your document will be saved in the folder you specified and then open in acrobat

Creating PDF Files - Mac

For most graphic design applications on the Mac the directions are similar. A few popular programs are listed here. The method should be very similar for different versions of the applications listed here. For example, the directions for Photoshop CS2 apply to some older versions of Photoshop. All the following instructions assume that you have your document open already.

Adobe InDesign CS2

  1. Choose "Export" from the "File" menu.
  2. Set "Format" to "PDF."
  3. Click "Save" and don't forget to name your file first.
  4. Click "Export."

Adobe Illustrator CS2

  1. Choose "Save As..." from the "File" menu.
  2. Set "Format" to "Adobe PDF (pdf)."
  3. Save as you normally would (choose a location, click "Save")

Adobe Photoshop CS2

  1. Choose "Save As..." from the "File" menu.
  2. Set "Format" to "Photoshop PDF."
  3. Save as you normally would (choose a location, click "Save")

Microsoft PowerPoint

Note: PowerPoint is designed for creating video presentations, not posters. As such, there are drawbacks to using this software that you should be aware of:

  • PowerPoint does not natively support PDF so you must use a built in feature of Mac OS X to export your PowerPoint document before you can print.
  • The colors on the screen will be slightly different from those on the finished poster. PowerPoint does not support color printing standards, so there is no way to be sure you will get what you want until you try it.

The following instructions only work on a Mac.

  1. Choose "Page Setup..." from the File menu.
  2. Take note of the width and height listed in this dialog. You will need these numbers later.
  3. Click "Options."
  4. For the "Paper Size" option, choose "Manage Custom Sizes..."
  5. Click the plus sign (+) in the lower left to add a new size to the list.
  6. For the width and height, enter the values from step 2.
  7. Set all the margins to 0 in.
  8. Double click on the new paper size (probably listed as "untitled") and type a new name. It's a good idea to use the dimensions for you name. For example, if your poster is 48 inches wide and 36 inches tall, 48" x 36" would be a good name.
  9. Click "OK."
  10. Now you can choose your new paper size from the "Paper Size" list (look near the bottom of the list).
  11. Choose the appropriate orientation. If your poster is taller than it is wide, select portrait (first option). If your poster is wider than it is tall, select landscape (second option).
  12. Click "OK".
  13. Click "OK" again, closing the first Page Setup dialog we saw. You should be back where you started now, with no dialogs open, just your poster.
  14. Choose "Print..." from the "File" menu (we aren't going to actually print).
  15. Click the "PDF" button in the bottom left corner of the dialog.
  16. Choose "Save as PDF..."
  17. Save as you normally would (click "Save," choose a location, etc.)

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