How To Convert Word Documents To PDFs

 Most companies and organizations use Microsoft Word as their standard word processing program. However, when it comes to sending read-only documents, PDFs are the preferred version.

PDF stands for portable document format. It was developed by Adobe in 1993. Since then, PDFs have become the industry standard for printable documents from the web. Many companies prefer to send official company documents in the PDF format because it is the standard format.

However, many people create documents using Microsoft Word. This presents a problem when you need the document to be a PDF.

This article will show you how to convert Microsoft Word documents for both Windows and Macintosh computers.

For Windows computers there are several applications you can download such as Open Office and Word to PDF. All of these applications are excellent options. Here is a little background on each of the applications.

Open Office: Open Office is a free productivity suite that includes word processing, spreadsheets, presentation slides, databases and more. Open Office is similar to the Microsoft Office suite. However, Open Office includes an option to convert Word Documents to PDFs. With Open Office, there is an extension that you can download from Oracle that will allow you to make the conversion.

Word to PDF: This is a universal document converter that allows you to convert word documents into PDFs. With this application, you install the converter onto your computer. After it’s installed you can convert Word Documents to PDFs. Here is how you do it.

*Go to Microsoft Word and go to File > Print.

*Once you access the print menu, press the properties button in the upper right corner.

*On the left side you will see the settings panel. Press Load Settings.

*In the Open Box then select Text document to PDF.xml. Then Click Open.

*After that click the OK button and the Word document will begin conversion.

Both Open Office and Word to PDF are good options. However, Word to PDF requires only one download.

For Macintosh computers, converting Word documents to PDFs is a little easier. That is because you do not need to install any applications onto your computer. To change a Word document to a PDF on a Mac, use the following steps:

*From Word go to File > Print

*At the Print Menu you will see a PDF button in the lower right corner of the screen. Press it

*After pressing the button, select Save As PDF

*You will then be asked where you want to save it. Choose a location and press the OK button.

*Your Word document will then be converted into a PDF.

Following the steps above will help you convert Word documents into PDFs. Sometimes you may need to scan paper documents into PDFs. In this case you will need a scanner and scanning software.

How to Convert Documents to Text Using Your Scanner

Many ideas for articles come from clients who have computer related problems they need solved. Recently, a client needed to transfer historical records from the courthouse to a digital media. Copies alone would not do. This can easily be done using a scanner.

I’m sure that there are a lot of other people who would like to do the same thing. Not necessarily historical records, but personal documents such as… marriage certificates, letters, grade cards, deeds, contracts, etc.

Scanning a document is easy. You just lay the document on the scanner, press ‘scan’ and then ‘save’ the scan as a file. This file may be all that you’ll need unless you want to be able to “edit” the document later. When you scan something, you’re really just taking an electronic picture of it. Even if you’re scanning text, it’s still stored in your computer as a picture. You can view it, even edit it somewhat with a graphics program, but you can’t load it into your word processor or spreadsheet and change it. If you want to do that, you’ll have to convert the picture to ‘text.’

To do this, you’ll need an OCR (optical character recognition) program. Fortunately, most scanners include this program in the suite of software that comes with the scanner.

There are several reasons to convert your documents to text. For one, once they are converted, they will take much less storage space on the hard drive. But the main reason is to be able to manipulate them as you would any other text or data file. This also means that you’ll be able to search through your documents for key words and phrases. In the case of the historical records I mentioned earlier, once converted, it will be possible to include these records in a computerized database. If they were left as scanned files, you’d have to manually search each scan for a specific record.

Every OCR program works a little differently, but basically, this is how you convert graphic files to text. First, before you scan your document, set the scanners resolution to 300 dpi. The software works by identifying the shapes of the scanned letters, then comparing these shapes to those that are stored in its database. There is enough intelligence built into these programs that they can recognize letters even when they are based on different fonts. Many times, these fonts are not even in the software’s database. But in order to do this, the software needs a good scan to work with and 300 dpi seems to work well.

Your scanning and OCR software will most likely be two different programs. Bring up your scanning software first, scan the document, and save it to the hard drive. You may want to save it as a GIF or TIFF file. These files are uncompressed graphics files and will be sharper than the JPG files you normally use on the Internet. Compression always looses some detail and the OCR software needs all the detail it can get.

Once you’ve saved the scan, (remember where you saved it) call up your OCR software and load the saved file. At this point, your OCR software is ready to convert the graphics file into the type of document you want, either a Word or a plain text file. After the conversion, you’ll need to save the converted document with a new filename. That’s all there is to it. You can bring up your word processor and load the converted file just like any other word processing document.

The conversion from a graphic to text is usually less than perfect. I always load the converted document into Word and check it for errors. It’s amazing how well the conversion usually goes, especially when the scanned text may have had a mixture of different fonts and font sizes. Even graphics appearing in the text doesn’t present a problem for most OCR programs. If your document is divided into several columns per page, you might run into some additional problems. But again, it just depends on the OCR software you’re using.

This process works well, but it can be S-L-O-W going. Switching between the scanning and OCR programs, and finally loading the finished document into a word processor to check the spelling is time consuming. But if your only other option is to retype the whole thing, it might not seem like such a daunting job after all. If you don’t see OCR listed in your scanner’s software, check your setup disk. It may have been an option and you just never installed it. Stand alone OCR software can also be purchased separately.

Scan Your Documents and Remove the Clutter From Your Office

Do you have the problem of mounting documents in your office to the extent that you are looking to add extra space? Then it is time you took time out to consider digitizing your data – scanning all the documents, converting them into e-format and storing them in a handful of CDs/ DVDs. By digitizing documents you save space, cost and time and can in turn improve overall productivity because people can find and retrieve what they want easily and quickly.

Now that you have decided to scan your hard copy documents, your next task at hand is to find a good scanning company who can take them and deliver them as digital documents. You need to find a vendor who can provide high quality deliverables at low rates. He should have experience in the field and the capability to handle the whole show independently. A critical aspect to consider is the storing and safe guarding of client documents/ data. This becomes all the more important when the hard copies involved contain confidential information.

The scanning company should have a well defined process to take documents and track them till they are given back to you. This is the only way to ensure that every single document that leaves you is under the radar and does not get lost. The security process should also be good enough to ensure that all the information remains in tact and confidential. In fact it will be ideal if you can understand the security process they follow thoroughly and validate it. The scanners should be professional enough to be pro-active and give solutions to problems that might arise. They should be reliable and have a good reputation to back them up. They should have flexible processes that can be tailored to the needs of clients.