Convert Word or Excel Files to PDF - dummies

By Jennifer Smith, Christopher Smith, Fred Gerantabee

Adobe Acrobat Creative Suite 5 includes tools that make it easy to convert Microsoft Word and Excel files to PDF. When you install Acrobat on your computer, it looks for Microsoft Office programs. If Acrobat locates Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Outlook, it installs an add-in — the PDF Maker — to these programs that helps convert Microsoft Office documents to PDF in a single click.

Although Microsoft Word and Excel are widespread standards on many corporate computers, they aren’t always the best choice for distributing documents.

Formatting of Microsoft Word documents and Excel spreadsheets changes depending on the fonts available on users’ computer or even the printer with which they print, whereas PDF files can keep the file looking consistent on various computer types.

In addition, Microsoft Word and Excel files can be easily edited, and users can also copy and extract information from these files with few limitations, whereas PDF files are more difficult to copy from, and they can be secured with robust security options.

Converting a Word or Excel file to a PDF file overcomes these limitations and is quite straightforward. Choose from two methods:

  • From inside Microsoft Word or Excel, make sure that the document you want to convert to a PDF file is open and then click the Create PDF button in the main toolbar to convert the document.

  • With Office 2003 or earlier, choose Adobe PDF→Convert to Adobe PDF.

No matter which method you choose, you must specify the location of the PDF file that’s created and name the file unless you have changed the PDF Maker preferences.

In Office 2007, click the Preferences button in the Acrobat tab, or with earlier versions of Office, choose Acrobat→Change Conversion Settings. In the Adobe PDF Maker dialog box, deselect the Prompt for PDF Filename option so that PDF files are generated in one step, without inputting the PDF filename.

You can add functionality into the PDF documents you create. Click the Preference tab if you’re working in Office 2007 or choose Acrobat→Change Conversion Settings in earlier versions of Office. In the dialog box that appears, review the following settings:

  • Attach Source File: Causes the original Office document to become embedded within the PDF file as an attachment. When the PDF file is distributed, the original source file is included within the PDF file.

  • Create Bookmarks: Adds interactive bookmarks that make navigating the PDF file easy. Bookmarks are added based on Microsoft Word styles, such as text that’s styled as Heading 1. The bookmarks appear in the Bookmarks panel when viewing the PDF.

  • Add Links: Automatically converts Word links, such as Web addresses, into PDF links that you can use when viewing the file in Acrobat or Adobe Reader. Within the PDF Maker preferences dialog box, click the Word tab to access additional link options that can be built into PDF files created from Word.