©2007 & 2008 by Don Campbell
last edited 03/19/2008

Freeware PDF Creation
Making a PDF in Windows using Acrobat
This tutorial combines:
  •  the default settings required to set up Acrobat for embedding all fonts
  •  the default settings required to get a PDF of a custom paper size
      • (For setting a custom paper size in Windows for non-Acrobat PDF creation systems click here.)
  •  a demonstration of making a PDF from Word using "print to PDF" mode. 
These aspects of PDF creation using Acrobat are combined in illustrated tutorials using Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home and Windows 2000 Professional linked at the bottom of the page. I recommend you read the material between here and those links.

A note on "quick and easy create PDF" methods
Installing Adobe Acrobat gives you several ways to make PDFs including some "quick and easy" methods. If you choose to use one of these quick methods you are likely to find that the PDF you create did not embed all fonts or may be the wrong size. If so, please be patient and try the robust method described in the links at the bottom of the page.

Different versions
There is no easy way for this tutorial to keep up with changes in Windows and in Acrobat. I do not have all versions of Windows, Word, or Acrobat.

Does that make it impossible for  people who have different versions than are illustrated in the tutorials? No. The settings and steps are similar in all versions. It does mean that it is useful to be flexible if things look a little different on your screen. You might need to adjust to a different wording or a different placement of things.

You might even need to look in Acrobat's Help. Acrobat Help is searchable and it covers most of what you want to do.

Acrobat's PostScript driver and distiller:
Acrobat installs in Windows a virtual printer driver called "Adobe PDF." In some of the methods used by Acrobat to make PDFs, the file is "printed" to the PostScript driver and then the output of the driver is sent to the Distiller to create the PDF. To embed all fonts under various conditions, you must make settings in the PostScript printer driver and in Distiller.

The tutorials below are for setting the defaults of the "Adobe PDF" postscript driver in Windows to embed all fonts.  The same settings can be made to the Adobe PDF driver from the "Print" window in applications like Word. However, settings made from inside Word do not always carry through to the final PDF produced. Make these settings as shown, from the Windows "Printers & Faxes" or "Printers" window as illustrated.

Note that the settings are similar for various versions of Windows, including Vista. When there are specific differences you may need to look for similar settings in other menus or different wordings for what is actually the same setting.

"Job options"
Each PDF is created based on a large number of settings or options. The group of options are saved in files called "job options." Almost every different way you can make a PDF with Acrobat has a different setting for the default job option it will use. When Acrobat is first installed those defaults are virtually always the job option called "Standard." You do not want that for your Lulu book. We will be changing the default job option, changing it slightly, and saving it for future use. It is easy to do. If you do not do it you will not get the PDF you want.

The details:
  1. Acrobat does not "want" to embed all fonts. This reflects a deliberate choice that has been made by Adobe. There is a set of "base" fonts that Adobe variously refers to as "built-in fonts," "device fonts" or "printer fonts." These are fonts that are standard in PostScript printers and are built-in to Adobe's Reader. Acrobat prefers not to embed any True Type font that is equivalent to an Adobe built-in font.
  2. To embed all fonts, including built-in fonts, you must make a settings in the Adobe PDF PostScript driver and in the distiller that creates the PDF. The objective is to prevent font substitution.
  3. Another issue concerns subsetting of font embeddings. The large extended character sets that come with many True Type fonts would consume a large amount of space in normal PDFs. Therefore, most True Type fonts are embedded as subsets in spite of Distiller settings. There are varying degrees of subsetting. A key concern for Lulu authors is that there be only a single embedding of each font in a PDF. This is especially true for fonts that are embedded as subsets.
  4. The PDF creation mechanisms used by Acrobat are closely related to your computer's printing systems. There are a set of paper sizes that are defined which often do not include page sizes of books and custom book covers. You may need to define those page sizes to get the PDF size you want.
Windows XP Pro      Windows XP Home      Windows 2000 Pro