Using Adobe Acrobat to Create .PDF Files


Before you start using the Adobe software, you should have a number of Word Processed files (e.g. Microsoft Word .doc files) representing the chapters/sections of your report. If you have ArcView figures that are interspersed throughout the chapters, I would reserve separate pages for them within the document (using page breaks) and save all your layouts to .eps (Encapsulated Postscript) files in ArcView. When you're ready to start, you should have a bunch of .doc files and a bunch of .eps files.

***VERY IMPORTANT*** If any of your ArcView layouts include polygon coverages that are represented by some colored outline and a transparent (or blank) foreground (such as for a watershed boundary), you should remove these from your views/layouts and replace them with arc representations of the same coverage. You can create these arc representations by using the build command at the "Arc" prompt like this: build coveragename line. It is important that your ArcView layouts have no polygon coverages with transparent foregrounds, as conversion of these layouts to .PDF files will result in rasterization errors when the .PDF files are displayed in the Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Accounting for Kerning

Your .doc files should be set up as if they were camera-ready, i.e. your report is in its final form, ready to go to the printer (you'll probably even have a hard copy of it). Once your chapters are at this stage, open each of them in the Word Processing application (Word), select PRINT, change the printer to a laser type printer (e.g. pdf writer or hp4mv) and then select Close (rather than OK). CAREFULLY view your chapters to see if the kerning performed for the laser printer has changed the layout of your document. This change in layout will typically show up as an additional page (or pages) with only one line of text just prior to one of your inserted page breaks. If this happens to you (it did to me) you'll need to reformat your chapter(s) before you start converting them to .PDF files.

The reformatting process that I used was tedious and time consuming. There must be a better way, but at least this way does work, even if it does seem to be a bit "brute force" like. The steps that I took to "get around" the kerning problem were:

Like I said, if you can come up with a better way to address the kerning problem, you'll be my hero.

Identifying the Bookmarks and Links

The links that you can build in Adobe Acrobat place colored boxes around the linked text rather than create colored hyperlinks. I prefer colored hyperlinks (a la HTML), so before I start any PDF conversion, I identify where I want my links to be and use the Format > Font option in Word to change colors from black to whatever (I used red to specify links within the documents and blue to specify bookmarks). Bookmarks are pointers to strategic places in the document (e.g. chapter headings, section headings). The difference between bookmarks and links is that bookmarks access locations within the document from a list (looks like an outline) that is exterior to the document. Links connect places within a document to other places within the document. At this point, you won't be creating the links & bookmarks, just marking the Word text for later creation of links & bookmarks.

Scanning in Figures

I had a few figures in my document for which I didn't have electronic copies. These had basically been photocopied from other sources, then cut and pasted with figure titles & references. I used the scanner to create electronic copies of these figures. To use the scanner, open HP DeskScan II DeskScan II v2.2. Make sure that the scanner is turned on and place into it the page that you want to scan. To scan in black & white figures, I found that, for good quality figures, selecting Sharp B&W Photo as the type of scan and then selecting Preview and Zoom in that order produced the best results (although it does also give the figures a slightly gray background). You can use the mouse/cursor to reposition the top, bottom, left, and right margins. When you've got the figure looking like you want it, you select Final and specify the file type as an EPSF (Screen Image) type. You can then either save the file to the e:\home1 drive (which is equivalent to the d: drive on the networked Niger PC), or save it to a drive resident on the PC and FTP it to a directory on Danube.

Conversion to PDF

Now it's time to convert your .doc and .eps files into .PDF files. Since the .doc files now have colored text embedded, they need to be converted to postscript files first. In Word, open up each of the .doc files and specify the Acrobat Distiller as the Printer. Also, select the "Print To File" option. When you are prompted to enter the name of the new file, make sure that you select Save As Type: All Files (*.*) instead of Printer Files (*.prn). Then, specify the path to the directory where you want the file saved and save the file as Do this for each of your .doc files.

Next, FTP all of your .eps files from the UNIX network to the PC where Adobe Acrobat is installed. Don't forget to specify "binary" as the transmission mode for these files. At this point, you should have all of your chapters existing as .ps files and all of your .eps files resident on the PC.

PDF files are then created using the Adobe Acrobat Distiller application. It's simple to use. When you open the Distiller, select File > Open and specify a .ps or .eps file to convert. The Distiller then prompts you to verify whether the associated PDF file should have the same filename (i.e. filename.PDF). You just click OK and the Distiller creates the .PDF file. Through repeating this process, you'll end up with a slew of .PDF files, one for each .ps and .eps file that you started with. Each of your Word documents, ArcView layouts, and scanned figures should now exist as .PDF files. You can view any one of them using the Adobe Acrobat Exchange application. Just open up the application and select one of your .PDF files for inspection.

Merging PDF Files

You can merge the ArcView layout and scanned .PDF files into your chapter .PDF files using the Adobe Acrobat Exchange application. With Exchange running, open a chapter .PDF file and scroll down to one of the blank pages that you had "reserved" with page breaks. Select Edit > Pages > Replace from the menu and a window will prompt you to specify which .PDF file you'd like to replace the page with. Just select the appropriate figure.PDF file, and the figure will be inserted into your chapter, replacing the blank page that you had reserved for it earlier. Just follow this process to insert all of your figures into the chapters.

Once all of the figures are merged into all of the chapters, you can also create one large .PDF file of your complete report by inserting chapters in the appropriate order using the Edit > Pages > Insert option in the Exchange application.


When all of your figures are inserted into the appropriate places in your document, links can be created from the colored text "hyperlinks" that you had previously defined. To do this, select Tools Link (or the little "chain" icon). Then use the mouse/cursor to draw a box around the text that you want to link. This will produce a "Create Link" window. In this window, specify Invisible under the Appearance section (since you've already identified the links with colored text, you don't need a visible box around the text, too). With Action Type specified as "Go To View", scroll to the figure, table, or whatever that you want to link to. When that page of the document is displayed, you can change the Magnification option to your liking and then, finally select "Set Link".


A set of Bookmarks can be created for each of your .PDF files. These bookmarks appear as an Outline in a separate window to the left of the document in the Exchange application. I defined each of my chapter headings, section headings, and subject headings as document locations that I wanted to have bookmarked. I had identified these entities my marking them with blue text in the original Word documents. To create each bookmark, select Edit > Copy (or the icon with the dashed box around text; or CTRL C) and highlight the text that you want bookmarked with the mouse/cursor. Then select Edit > Bookmark > New (or CTRL B) to make a space for the bookmark in the list. Finally, select Edit > Paste (or CTRL V) to paste the copied text as the bookmark text. If you make a mistake, just highlight the botched entry in the list of bookmarks and select Edit > Clear. No problem.

When you're done creating all your bookmarks for a particular .PDF file, you can indent some of them on your list simply by clicking on the "little page" to the left of the bookmark text and physically moving the text to the right. This will allow you to create a hierarchy of chapters, sections, and subjects.


You can also create a set of thumbnail sketches of the pages throughout each of your documents, once everything is merged together. This is a neat feature that gives the reader the option to quickly scan through your document and pick out figures, tables, or sections that they might be interested in. To create the thumbnails using the Adobe Acrobat Exchange application, select Edit > Thumbnails > Create All.

Viewing the Document(s)

In the Acrobat Exchange application, you have the options of (1) viewing your document by itself, (2) viewing your document with the Bookmarks window displayed, or (3) viewing your document with the Thumbnails window displayed. To cycle between these three options, just cycle between the three left-most icons on the Adobe Acrobat Exchange tool bar.

That's it!! Enjoy !!