How to Create PDF Files

​It is a good idea to convert all of your job files to Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) before submitting them for printing. Text created with word processing software and graphs made with spreadsheet programs may produce unexpected results when output with commercial printing equipment. However, PDF files can be shared and printed by almost any device with the same results every time.

What is PDF?

Adobe PDF is a platform-independent file format that allows information to be shared, viewed and printed by anyone using Adobe Acrobat Reader. When you convert your files to PDF, the text and graphics are locked in place so you don’t have to worry about font substitution and text re-flow. PDF files can be shared with anyone, regardless of hardware or software platforms, and work well for both printing and screen display.

Creating PDF files

After you have installed Adobe Acrobat on your computer, you will be able to save documents as PDF files directly from your office software. However, the fonts and graphics are often not embedded properly when the PDF is saved directly from the business software that created the document. Microsoft charts and graphs are especially prone to difficulty.

To avoid these issues, we recommend saving your documents as PostScript files and then distilling them into PDF. PostScript printer language locks in fonts and formatting much like a PDF. However, PostScript files can only be used for printing, and cannot be opened and viewed on your computer.

Optimum PDF settings

Acrobat Distiller can create PDF files in a variety of ways, depending the job option you select. Job option settings let you create compact files for fast e-mailing, documents optimized for viewing on the Web, or high-resolution print files – all from the same PostScript file.

The following job option settings provide the best results at our Copy Centers when using Acrobat Distiller 5.0. To create a new job option, open Acrobat Distiller and select Job Options from the Settings menu. Then select the following options:

General Tab:

  • Set Resolution to 2400 dpi. A high setting like this helps ensure smooth transitions from dark to light in gradients.

Compression Tab:

For best results, do not check any of the boxes on the Compression tab. However, if you need to reduce the file size you may use the following settings:

  • Select Bicubic Downsampling and enter a resolution of 300 dpi.
  • Set Compression to Automatic.
  • Set Quality to High or Maximum.
  • For monochrome images, set the resolution at 1200 dpi and select CCITT Group 4 Compression.

Font Tab:

  • Check “Embed all Fonts” to ensure that the page will print with the correct fonts.
  • Do not check “Subset Embedded Fonts.” Subsetting makes it impossible for us to edit typographical errors and may even prevent the file from printing

Color Tab:

  • Select “Leave Color Unchanged” so the file will use our color management features when it is output.
  • Check all four choices under “Device Dependent Data.”

Advanced Tab:

  • Check “Use and” to ensure that spot colors output correctly.
  • Check “Allow PostScript file to Override Job Options.

Saving your job option settings:

After you have finished setting up your job options, you may save them so you can use them easily every time you create a PDF file. To save your new job options:

  • Click on “Save As” in the Job Options dialog box.
  • Enter a title, such as “Copy Center”, in front of “.joboption” to describe the new settings.
  • Click “Save”

Distilling PDF files:

After you have set up your Distiller job options, you’re ready to convert your PostScript files to PDF. To distill a PDF file from a PostScript file:

  1. Open Acrobat Distiller.
  2. Select the desired Job Option.
  3. Click on File> Open.
  4. Double-click on the PostScript (.ps or .prn) file you want to distill.
  5. Enter the file name and location where you want to save the new PDF file.
  6. Click “Save.”

Check your PDF:

We recommend you check your new PDF by viewing it in Acrobat or Acrobat Reader just to be sure the distilling process has gone smoothly. Look through the file to make sure all the fonts, margins and page breaks are correct and that all the graphics are in the right place. It is also good idea to print a hard copy from the PDF to make sure the file prints correctly.