Posted by: ayounglove | December 6, 2008

PDF Conversion

arrow1It seems like as time goes on that more and more people are asking for documents in PDF format. As an Interlibrary Loan Librarian, I frequently send and receive documents in digital format. I can use an expensive document transmission software called Ariel. But what should you do if you don’t want to fork over the huge sum just to install the full version of Adobe Acrobat? What if you’re working in a rural library and don’t have the budget?

There are some alternatives.

The easiest option is Docmorph, a tool made by The National Library of Medicine that can convert a document from any one of 50 different document types (including Word documents, TIFF documents, and yes, PDFs!) into any of those other 50 types. And better yet, it’s free for anyone to use! Check it out here:

I use Docmorph when I’m in a pinch and need a file changed quickly, and I haven’t had any problems yet. Just upload your file, select the file type that you want it to convert to, and then you are presented with a new file.  The limitation, of course, is that sometimes the finished PDF file looks a tiny bit different than the original Word document (fonts are changed or pages run slightly longer etc.).

What if you want a little more control over what the finished format looks like though? Say you don’t want a last page with just one sentence on it, or you want to adjust the font to see how it will in the final PDF before converting. Then you want to download Open Office here:  Open Office is a free open source application suite that does many of the same things the Microsoft  Office suite does, only because it’s open source, it’s free and it continues to improve over time rather than get worse.  To change a document into a PDF using Open Office, open up Writer and then create or open up an existing Word document.  Adjust any font choices or line breaks etc. to appear how you would like them to in the final document. Then, under the File menu, choose Export as PDF and that’s it.  You’ve created a new PDF without paying a dime or learning the ins and outs of a complicated document delivery software!



  1. […] for sharing documents and slides As a follow-up to my  last post about converting documents to PDF format, I thought I would bring up another option: publishing  through an online service that will […]

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