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We’ve talked about PDF versions of your book—how they can be the easiest format to create and sell. Today we are going to look at a question asked by Anna:
How do you make a PDF?
I’m a Mac girl, and I can tell you several ways that creating a PDF works for my computer. I can tell you to the best of my knowledge based on research what works on a PC. With the variations in operating systems, software versions, and more, it’s possible that some of what I say here may not work for your particular situation. My hope is that among the several PDF converter options I list, one will work for you.
The simplest option for most of you will be to save it as a PDF from Microsoft Word. When you choose the “Save As” option, if you do not see PDF listed as an option, don’t panic. Instead of choosing “Save As,” choose “Print.” When the Print dialog box pops up, you will see a button that says PDF in the bottom left corner. . .
When you click that PDF button, you will access a drop down that enables you to save as a regular PDF. You will also have the option there to save as a PDF/X (keep that in mind if you need to save a PDF to send to a printer such as CreateSpace). If you are trying to save your book for PDF download, the regular PDF is fine.
Let’s look at some additional PDF creation options.
The most flexible PDF creation program that I know of is Adobe Acrobat Pro. It’s also probably the most expensive. I have Acrobat Pro as part of my Adobe Creative Suite (which I use for design), and I use it every single day. Acrobat Pro adds a task ribbon to Microsoft Word, so I can convert directly from there. Acrobat has many additional features, such as combining PDFs, adding and removing pages, editing within the PDF, and more. It’s likely that most of you can get by without it, but it definitely makes my life easier.
Adobe also offers an online PDF Creator for a subscription fee.
Scrivener is an excellent word processing program developed especially for writers. In addition to saving as a PDF, Scrivener gives options for ePub and Kindle output. With options for both Macs and PCs, Scrivener is highly regarded as a quality choice.
Mac users may want to check out Pages, available in the App Store. Pages is my go-to word processing program.
Open Office is a free alternative to Microsoft Word that also offers a PDF option. I personally don’t use it because it and my computer unfortunately do not get along well. I know many people who use it regularly though.
There are many additional possibilities, including both paid and free options. I am only mentioning those that I have either used personally or heard good things about from people I know. As always, just use caution and do your research when choosing software or using online services. If there is a PDF creator that you have used successfully, please share it in the comments!
During this series, we’re chatting about everything self-publishing—design, branding, marketing, formats—you name it! Pulling questions from Design by Insight clients, Re:Write Conference attendees, and you, we’ll take a look at what can often be a confusing and potentially overwhelming subject. Have a question you’d like me to answer? Leave it in the comments below!