PDF files: creating, using, converting

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 »  Articles Overview  »  Technology  »  Software and the Internet  »  PDF files: creating, using, converting

PDF files: creating, using, converting

By Natalie | Published  01/5/2005 | Software and the Internet | Recommendation:
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Quicklink: http://pol.proz.com/doc/128
angielski > rosyjski translator
Członek od: Jan 9, 2002.

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PDF files: creating, using, converting

PDF is an acronym for "Portable Document Format". PDF is a file format created by Adobe that allows you to view and print a file exactly as the author designed it, without needing to have the same application or fonts used to create the file. Since it's introduction in 1993, PDF has become an Internet standard for electronic distribution that faithfully preserves the look and feel of the original document complete with fonts, colors, images and layout.

PDF is related to the Postscript language, and may be used with text, image, and/or multimedia files. PDF files may be found either online -- on the Internet, or in your PC -- on a disk or CD-ROM. PDF files may be created and used on most any type of computer -- Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, or OS/2.

Unlike other electronic file formats such as HTML, the Portable Document Format preserves the exact layout, font attributes, and formatting of the document from which it was created, ensuring that the electronic version of a document appears just like the original.


PDF has become a popular format for producing and delivering electronic files on and off the Web. The Libraries provide various resources in PDF format, including electronic reserves, electronic journals, government documents, and more. On the Web, users may find a number of other valuable electronic resources in PDF format -- annual reports, grant application guidelines and forms, theses and dissertations, and various other types of digital information.


To view, navigate and print a PDF file, you must have loaded on your computer one of the Adobe Acrobat products. Acrobat is a collection of computer applications that allow users to create, modify, or use PDF files. Included in this collection are such programs as Acrobat Exchange, Distiller, PDF Writer, Acrobat Catalog, Acrobat Reader and PDF Viewer. At the very minimum, your computer needs to have a current version of a PDF viewer, a free program available for most any computer platform. The viewer comes in two versions -- PDF Viewer and Acrobat Reader. The programs differ as follows:

PDF Viewer: Allows you to view a PDF document "inline" -- that is, within the browser window. Usually comes with your Web browser software, and is automatically installed in the "Plugins" folder.

Acrobat Reader: Allows you to view a PDF document in a window separate from the Web browser. Set up Acrobat Reader as a helper application with your browser's "Preferences". Reader will then launch and display any PDF file linked on the Web. Acrobat Reader is available at no cost from the Adobe web page.

To download these programs or find out more about PDF, visit Adobe's Web site:




For capabilities not supported by Acrobat Reader or PDF Viewer (e.g., removing/inserting pages, changing page order, and more), you will need to have the program Adobe Exchange. And to create a PDF document, you may also need to use Distiller, PDF Writer, or Capture. All these programs are parts of the full version of Adobe Acrobat. Further information about these programs may be found on the Adobe Web page http:\\www.adobe.com

The steps of making a PDF file on PC/MAC computer using Acrobat 5 are shown here:

These steps are essentially the same in later Acrobat versions.

To create PDF files you do not necessarily need buying the full version of Adobe Acrobat. Please consider using other resources, many of which are free. A long list of programs may be found here:




For advanced users:


Depending on your needs and the security options set in the individual PDF there are several ways to do this.

There are two types of PDFs: application-generated and scanned PDFs. A scanned PDF file is an image and cannot be edited. The best way to convert a scanned PDF into a text file is using an OCR software which recognizes the text contained in an image and converts it to text. One of the best OCR programs is ABBYY FineReader, though PDFs could not be opened in its older versions; you should use at least ver.6. Other OCR programs (Omnipage, Textbridge, ReadIris) also might solve your problem.

The problem is less complicated in case you deal with an application-generated PDF which contains extractable text; small parts of text may be just copied and pasted into a Word document; larger parts of the document or the whole document may be converted to text files using full Acrobat version or third-party software. The following tips describe how you can do it using Acrobat.

  • How To extract one or more words on the same line
    1. Open the PDF document you want to extract text from.
    2. Select the text select tool and select the text.
    3. Copy the selection.
    4. Open Word or the other application you want to use.
    5. Paste the selection.
    6. Continue as needed.
    NOTE: Don't use the touchup text tool, which is designed for editing text in a PDF file.

  • How To extract a paragraph or a single column
    1. Open the PDF document you want to extract text from.
    2. Hold down the Control key and use either the column select tool or the text select tool.
    3. Select the text.
    4. Copy the selection.
    5. Open Word or the other application you want to use.
    6. Paste the selection.
    7. Continue as needed.

  • How To extract one or more paragraphs
    1. Open the PDF document you want to extract text from.
    2. Use the table/formatted text select tool to select the text.
    3. Copy the selection.
    4. Open Word or the other application you want to use.
    5. Paste the selection.
    6. Continue as needed.

  • How To extract an entire page
    1. Open the PDF document you want to extract text from.
    2. Choose View menu > Fit In Window (v5) or Fit Visible (v6).
    3. Select any tool.
    4. Choose Edit menu > Select All.
    5. Copy the selection.
    6. Open Word or the other application you want to use.
    7. Paste the selection.
    8. Continue as needed.

  • How To extract all of the text in a pdf file in windows
    1. Open the PDF document you want to extract text from.
    2. Choose File menu > Save As.
    3. Save the document as RTF (Acrobat 5.x or higher only).
    4. Acrobat 6 has a .DOC option also.
    NOTE: Some formatting may be lost.

    OCR software may be used for extracting text from editable (non-image) PDFs too, and quite often it gives better results in the sense of preserving the formatting. Nevertheless you should be prepared to find lots of text boxes in the converted DOC file.

    You may consider using various third-party PDF converters, many of which are free:



    For more information see:


    PDF documents are usually designed to be for the redistribution of finished files. Even if you have a full version of Acrobat, if the author of the PDF file created it with security settings enabled, you may not be able to edit/modify it at all within Acrobat.
    In fact there are three programs from Adobe that allow you to do that. These programs are InDesign, Illustrator, and Acrobat. The first two of these programs can import a PDF and convert it to the program's native format allowing you to edit the file before saving again as a PDF. The third program is Acrobat (full version, not Reader!) which of course has PDF as its native format. This means that editing the PDF using Acrobat (full version that is not the reader) does not require any file conversions at all.

    The primary tool within Acrobat for editing files is the Touchup tools. The first of these it the Touchup Text Tool and you'll recognise the button for this on your Acrobat toolbar by the outline T on the button. The other (which only exists in Acrobat 4 and later) is the Touchup Object Tool which can be recognised by the black arrow pointing toward the top left corner of the button.

    With touchup text tool selected you just highlight the section of text that you want to change (one line at a time) and then type in the corrected text. You can also use this button to adjust the horizontal position of the line of text. Also, if you right click on the selected text and select Attributes from the menu, you can change the font, font size, character spacing, and alignment of the text.

    The touchup object tool will select an image or a complete block of text when you click within the area occupied by that object. You can then drag from anywhere within the selected block to move the block in any direction.

    The touchup tools (as their name suggests) are not really suitable for making major changes to a document, they just allow you to make minor alterations to the appearance of the text and its position on the page.

    To edit a PDF file, you may consider using some free software, for example PdfEdit995 available for download at http://www.pdf995.com/pdfedit.html

    More tools:
    DOC to PDF


    Pdf converter

    In case you have MS Office 2007 SP2, you can save your DOC as a PDF directly from Word. Choose File - Save as; select pdf from the "save as type" dropdown list.

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    Comments on this article

    Knowledgebase Contributions Related to this Article
    • Another website on producing PDF files (Posted by Trinh Do on 06/26/2007)
      Another website that is often used to convert Word, Excel, Powerpoint, .jpg, .gif files is http://www.pdfonline.com. This offers conversion free of charge. Its only limitation is that the maximum memory size is 2MB.

    • Other Ways to Create or Extract from a PDF document (Posted by Ritu Bhanot on 12/16/2006)
      You can also create pdf documents with primopdf (freeware). And in case you have wordfast, you can use Plustools' cnv feature to extract the text into desirable format. Quite easy and quick but you may loose pictures and tables etc.

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