Creating PDF Files from Paper Documents and the Web

Creating PDF Files from Paper Documents and the Web

PDF files do not need to start as electronic publishing files. Adobe Acrobat provides options for converting both paper documents and Internet Web pages into PDF format.

Converting paper documents to PDFs

To convert paper documents into PDF, you need a scanner to digitize the information. If you expect to scan a large number of pages into PDF, you should consider purchasing a scanner with an automatic document feeder. There are also scanners that can scan both the front and backside of a document at the same time, which is something we all wish we could do when reading.

Unfortunately, we can’t fully describe all the ins and outs of choosing a scanner to fit your needs, but Mark L. Chambers does a swell job of it in his book, Scanners For Dummies (Wiley Publishing, Inc.).

If a scanner is already hooked to the computer on which you use Acrobat, follow these steps to scan in a paper document and then convert it to PDF format:

  1. From the Acrobat main menu, choose File®Create PDF®From Scanner.

    The Create PDF from Scanner dialog box appears.

  2. Make sure your scanner is turned on, put the document to be scanned into the scanner, and then click the Scan button.

    If necessary, continue to scan multiple pages into a single document.

    When you’re done scanning, the scanned page appears.

  3. Choose File®Save to save the PDF.

    If you have a PDF open and choose Create PDF from Scanner, a window appears giving you the opportunity to Append the file (add to the existing file) or create a new PDF file.

    The document opens in Acrobat.

Use the Zoom In tool to increase the magnification of what you have just scanned. You can see that the text is jagged because it is a picture of the text. This is unlike text from electronic documents that you create by either PDF Maker or the Adobe PDF Printer. Both of these options create text that looks very clear, even when enlarged.

Converting Web pages to PDFs

By converting online content to Adobe PDF, you can capture contents from an Internet Web site. Because Web content can change rapidly, this allows you to capture something that might not remain online for a long period of time. Things such as news stories or competitive information can be converted from a Web site into PDF. And because PDF files can easily be combined with other PDF documents, you can merge information from a variety of sources, such as spreadsheets, word processing documents, and brochures.

To convert an Internet Web site to PDF, follow these steps:

  1. From the Acrobat main menu, choose File®Create PDF®From Web Page.

    The Create PDF from Web Page dialog box opens, as shown in Figure.

    Click To expand
    Figure: Converting Internet Web pages to PDF.

  2. In the URL text field, enter the URL for the Web site you’re converting to PDF.

  3. To capture additional pages that are linked from the main page you’re capturing, select the Get Only radio button (selected by default) and enter the number of levels to be captured in the Levels text field and then select one of the following:

    • Select the Stay on Same Path check box if you want only URLs (pages) subordinate from the entered URL converted to PDF.

    • Select the Stay on Same Server check box to download only pages that are on the same server as the entered URL.


    Be cautious about selecting the Get Entire Site radio button instead of the Get Only radio button. The Get Entire Site option may take an enormous amount of time and not have any relevance to what you need.

  4. Click the Settings button to open the Web Page Conversion Settings dialog box and see accepted File types and change PDF settings (on the General tab), as shown in Figure.

    Click To expand
    Figure: Changing file type and PDF settings.

  5. On the Page layout tab of the Web Page Conversion Settings dialog box, make changes to page size, orientation, and margins.

  6. When you’re done making changes in the Web Page Conversion Settings dialog box, click OK.

  7. Back in the Create PDF from Web Page dialog box, click the Create button.

    The Downloading Status window opens, showing the rate of download.

When the download is complete, the Web page (entered URL address) selected appears as a PDF with existing hyperlinks (links to other pages) left intact. When links on the converted Web page are selected, the viewer can open the page either in Acrobat or the Web browser.

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