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Overview of PDF creation

  1. Acrobat User Guide
  2. Introduction to Acrobat
    1. Access Acrobat from desktop, mobile, web
    2. What's new in Acrobat
    3. Keyboard shortcuts
    4. System Requirements
  3. Workspace
    1. Workspace basics
    2. Opening and viewing PDFs
      1. Opening PDFs
      2. Navigating PDF pages
      3. Viewing PDF preferences
      4. Adjusting PDF views
      5. Enable thumbnail preview of PDFs
      6. Display PDF in browser
    3. Working with online storage accounts
      1. Access files from Box
      2. Access files from Dropbox
      3. Access files from OneDrive
      4. Access files from SharePoint
      5. Access files from Google Drive
    4. Acrobat and macOS
    5. Acrobat notifications
    6. Grids, guides, and measurements in PDFs
    7. Asian, Cyrillic, and right-to-left text in PDFs
  4. Creating PDFs
    1. Overview of PDF creation
    2. Create PDFs with Acrobat
    3. Create PDFs with PDFMaker
    4. Using the Adobe PDF printer
    5. Converting web pages to PDF
    6. Creating PDFs with Acrobat Distiller
    7. Adobe PDF conversion settings
    8. PDF fonts
  5. Editing PDFs
    1. Edit text in PDFs
    2. Edit images or objects in a PDF
    3. Rotate, move, delete, and renumber PDF pages
    4. Edit scanned PDFs
    5. Enhance document photos captured using a mobile camera
    6. Optimizing PDFs
    7. PDF properties and metadata
    8. Links and attachments in PDFs
    9. PDF layers
    10. Page thumbnails and bookmarks in PDFs
    11. Action Wizard (Acrobat Pro)
    12. PDFs converted to web pages
    13. Setting up PDFs for a presentation
    14. PDF articles
    15. Geospatial PDFs
    16. Applying actions and scripts to PDFs
    17. Change the default font for adding text
    18. Delete pages from a PDF
  6. Scan and OCR
    1. Scan documents to PDF
    2. Enhance document photos
    3. Troubleshoot scanner issues when scanning using Acrobat
  7. Forms
    1. PDF forms basics
    2. Create a form from scratch in Acrobat
    3. Create and distribute PDF forms
    4. Fill in PDF forms
    5. PDF form field properties
    6. Fill and sign PDF forms
    7. Setting action buttons in PDF forms
    8. Publishing interactive PDF web forms
    9. PDF form field basics
    10. PDF barcode form fields
    11. Collect and manage PDF form data
    12. About forms tracker
    13. PDF forms help
    14. Send PDF forms to recipients using email or an internal server
  8. Combining files
    1. Combine or merge files into single PDF
    2. Rotate, move, delete, and renumber PDF pages
    3. Add headers, footers, and Bates numbering to PDFs
    4. Crop PDF pages
    5. Add watermarks to PDFs
    6. Add backgrounds to PDFs
    7. Working with component files in a PDF Portfolio
    8. Publish and share PDF Portfolios
    9. Overview of PDF Portfolios
    10. Create and customize PDF Portfolios
  9. Sharing, reviews, and commenting
    1. Share and track PDFs online
    2. Mark up text with edits
    3. Preparing for a PDF review
    4. Starting a PDF review
    5. Hosting shared reviews on SharePoint or Office 365 sites
    6. Participating in a PDF review
    7. Add comments to PDFs
    8. Adding a stamp to a PDF
    9. Approval workflows
    10. Managing comments | view, reply, print
    11. Importing and exporting comments
    12. Tracking and managing PDF reviews
  10. Saving and exporting PDFs
    1. Saving PDFs
    2. Convert PDF to Word
    3. Convert PDF to JPG
    4. Convert or export PDFs to other file formats
    5. File format options for PDF export
    6. Reusing PDF content
  11. Security
    1. Enhanced security setting for PDFs
    2. Securing PDFs with passwords
    3. Manage Digital IDs
    4. Securing PDFs with certificates
    5. Opening secured PDFs
    6. Removing sensitive content from PDFs
    7. Setting up security policies for PDFs
    8. Choosing a security method for PDFs
    9. Security warnings when a PDF opens
    10. Securing PDFs with Adobe Experience Manager
    11. Protected View feature for PDFs
    12. Overview of security in Acrobat and PDFs
    13. JavaScripts in PDFs as a security risk
    14. Attachments as security risks
    15. Allow or block links in PDFs
  12. Electronic signatures
    1. Sign PDF documents
    2. Capture your signature on mobile and use it everywhere
    3. Send documents for e-signatures
    4. About certificate signatures
    5. Certificate-based signatures
    6. Validating digital signatures
    7. Adobe Approved Trust List
    8. Manage trusted identities
  13. Printing
    1. Basic PDF printing tasks
    2. Print Booklets and PDF Portfolios
    3. Advanced PDF print settings
    4. Print to PDF
    5. Printing color PDFs (Acrobat Pro)
    6. Printing PDFs in custom sizes
  14. Accessibility, tags, and reflow
    1. Create and verify PDF accessibility
    2. Accessibility features in PDFs
    3. Reading Order tool for PDFs
    4. Reading PDFs with reflow and accessibility features
    5. Edit document structure with the Content and Tags panels
    6. Creating accessible PDFs
  15. Searching and indexing
    1. Creating PDF indexes
    2. Searching PDFs
  16. Multimedia and 3D models
    1. Add audio, video, and interactive objects to PDFs
    2. Adding 3D models to PDFs (Acrobat Pro)
    3. Displaying 3D models in PDFs
    4. Interacting with 3D models
    5. Measuring 3D objects in PDFs
    6. Setting 3D views in PDFs
    7. Enable 3D content in PDF
    8. Adding multimedia to PDFs
    9. Commenting on 3D designs in PDFs
    10. Playing video, audio, and multimedia formats in PDFs
    11. Add comments to videos
  17. Print production tools (Acrobat Pro)
    1. Print production tools overview
    2. Printer marks and hairlines
    3. Previewing output
    4. Transparency flattening
    5. Color conversion and ink management
    6. Trapping color
  18. Preflight (Acrobat Pro)
    1. PDF/X-, PDF/A-, and PDF/E-compliant files
    2. Preflight profiles
    3. Advanced preflight inspections
    4. Preflight reports
    5. Viewing preflight results, objects, and resources
    6. Output intents in PDFs
    7. Correcting problem areas with the Preflight tool
    8. Automating document analysis with droplets or preflight actions
    9. Analyzing documents with the Preflight tool
    10. Additional checks in the Preflight tool
    11. Preflight libraries
    12. Preflight variables
  19. Color management
    1. Keeping colors consistent
    2. Color settings
    3. Color-managing documents
    4. Working with color profiles
    5. Understanding color management

You can create a PDF by converting other documents and resources to Portable Document Format. You can usually choose from several PDF creation methods, depending on the type of file you start with.

What’s the best way to create a PDF?

You can create PDFs from documents printed on paper, Microsoft Word documents, InDesign® files, and digital images, to name just a few examples. Different types of sources have different tools available for PDF conversion. In many applications, you can create PDFs by selecting the Adobe PDF printer in the Print dialog box.

If a file is open in its authoring application (such as a spreadsheet that is open in Microsoft Excel), you can usually convert the file to PDF without opening Adobe Acrobat. Similarly, if Acrobat is already open, you don’t have to open the authoring application to convert a file to PDF.

Every PDF strikes a balance between efficiency (small file size) and quality (such as resolution and color). When that balance is critical to your task, you’ll want to use a method that includes access to various conversion options.

For example, you can drag files to the Acrobat icon to create PDFs. In this case, Acrobat applies the most recently used conversion settings without providing access to those settings. If you want more control over the process, you’ll want to use another method.

PDF creation methods by file type

Refer to the following lists to determine the methods available for the different types of files.

Most files

These methods can be used for documents and images in almost all file formats.

File > Create menu or Tools > Create PDF

Within Acrobat, by choosing PDF from File.

Adobe PDF printer

Within most applications, in the Print dialog box.

Drag and drop

On the desktop or from a folder.

Context menu

On the desktop or in a folder, by right-clicking.

Paper documents

Requires a scanner and a hard copy of the document.

Create menu or Tools > Create PDF

Within Acrobat, by choosing PDF from Scanner. Or, for previously scanned paper documents, by choosing PDF from File.

Microsoft Office documents

PDFMaker (Windows only)

Within the authoring application, in the Acrobat PDFMaker toolbar and on the Adobe PDF menu. For Microsoft Office 2010 or later applications, in the Acrobat or Adobe PDF ribbon.

Save As Adobe PDF (Mac OS)

Within the authoring application, choose File > Print > PDF > Adobe PDF.

Adobe PDF printer (Windows only)

Within the authoring application, in the Print dialog box.

Drag and drop

On the desktop or from a folder.

Context menu (Windows only)

On the desktop or in a folder, by right-clicking.

Email messages

PDFMaker (Windows only)

Within Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes, by clicking Acrobat PDFMaker toolbar buttons. Or by choosing commands in the Adobe PDF menu (Outlook) or the Actions menu (Lotus Notes).

Adobe PDF printer (Windows only)

Within the email application, in the Print dialog box. Creates a PDF (not a PDF Portfolio).

Context menu (Outlook 2010 or later)

On an email folder or selection of messages, by right-clicking.

Web pages

File > Create menu or Tools > Create PDF

Within Acrobat, by choosing PDF from Web Page.

PDFMaker (Windows only)

Within Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Firefox, or when editing in a web-authoring application that supports PDFMaker, such as Word. Also, in the Acrobat PDFMaker toolbar and on the Adobe PDF menu.

Adobe PDF printer (Windows 7)

Within a web browser or when editing in a web-authoring application, such as Word; in the Print dialog box.

Drag and drop

On the desktop or from a folder, dragging the HTML file.

Context menu (HTML files)

On the desktop or in a folder, by right-clicking the HTML file.

Content copied on the clipboard

File > Create menu

Within Acrobat, by choosing PDF from Clipboard.

AutoCAD files (Acrobat Pro for Windows only)

File > Create menu or Tools > Create PDF

Within Acrobat, by choosing PDF from File.

PDFMaker

Within AutoCAD, in the Acrobat PDFMaker toolbar or in the Adobe PDF menu.

Adobe PDF printer

Within AutoCAD, in the Print dialog box.

Drag and drop

On the desktop or from a folder.

Context menu

On the desktop or in a folder, by right-clicking.

Adobe Photoshop (PSD), Adobe Illustrator (AI), and Adobe InDesign (INDD) files

File > Create > PDF from File or Tools > Create PDF (single file)

Within Acrobat, by choosing PDF from File.

Drag and drop

From the desktop or a folder on to the Acrobat window or icon.

PostScript and EPS files

Drag and drop

On the desktop or from a folder, by dragging to the Acrobat Distiller icon or into the Acrobat Distiller® window.

Double-clicking

(PostScript® files only) On the desktop or in a folder.

Open command

Within Acrobat Distiller, in the File menu.

Create menu

Within Acrobat, by choosing PDF from File.

Context menu

On the desktop or in a folder, by right-clicking.

3D files (Acrobat Pro)

File > Create menu or Tools > Create PDF

Within Acrobat Pro, by choosing PDF From File.

Drag and drop

On the desktop or from a folder.

Adobe PDF

Within Microsoft PowerPoint, choose Adobe Presenter > Publish.

Balancing PDF file size and quality

You can select various settings to ensure that your PDF has the best balance between file size, resolution, conformity to specific standards, and other factors. Which settings you select depends on your goals for the PDF that you are creating. For example, a PDF intended for high-quality commercial printing requires different settings than a PDF intended only for onscreen viewing and quick downloading over the Internet.

Once selected, these settings apply across PDFMaker, Acrobat, and Acrobat Distiller. However, some settings are limited to specific contexts or file types. For example, PDFMaker options can vary among the different types of Microsoft Office applications.

For convenience, you can select one of the conversion presets available in Acrobat. You can also create, define, save, and reuse custom presets that are uniquely suited to your purposes.

For scanned documents, you can choose from Autodetect Color Mode or several scanning presets that are optimized for scanning documents and images in color or black and white. You can modify these presets, or use your own custom scanning settings.

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