Thursday, April 17, 2008

Your Editor Wants a PDF File?

Word comes from NYC that some editors don’t want paper manuscripts; they want digital PDFs (Portable Document Format) files.

Writers will need some kind of software to convert word-processing files to PDF files. This is also called “printing to” a PDF file. Here are some options. (Drop me a note if you know more.)

The more expensive the program, the more likely it is to deliver a “searchable” PDF file, which is nice for the editor; or preserve any hyperlinks or images you embedded in your ms.


CutePDFWriter. At Widely used. You have to have a printer, and download an extra file. I’ve downloaded this one, but somehow it has never worked for me. Windows only.

Create PDF from MS Word only:

PDF Online I converted a 225-page ms.; took 12 minutes to get done and emailed to me, but otherwise fine. But PDF Online does not preserve hyperlinks, reduces image resolution, and leaves your PDF metadata, which is indexable by Google, empty.

Note: Some conversion “freeware” will rudely stamp or “watermark” your PDF with its name or logo.


You get a 15-day trial with; the Wondersoft Virtual PDF Printer; after that you must register and pay a “small fee” but they don’t say what it is. Converts files into and out of PDF form, which can be handy. You can buy a “Pro” version for $89.95.

Pay-For-It Ware:

I love the free Foxit PDF Reader which I recommend in place of the Adobe Reader. Foxit will charge you $35, however, for one license for a Foxit PDF CREATOR, which is what you need for conversion. Don’t bother trying to “Get it Free” – in the most bizarre deal I’ve yet seen, it’ll force you to buy something on eBay or sign up for Yahoo Personals…

For $99.99/yr you can subscribe to unlimited Create Online PDF services by Adobe,
The trial version will make you “wait in line” for your conversion behind the paying folks. But with this you can make your PDF searchable, or turn a webpage into a PDF.

For $200-$400 there's Adobe Acrobat Professional software for your computer. It’s “bloatware,” a big program that clogs up your hard drive. It’ll do everything if you can make it work. I have version 6.0 and it works on PC but not laptop. Current version is 8.0.

For some of you, conversion software may be considered a business expense.

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