Print Book Formatting: Convert to PDF

Introduction

You now have a professional looking novel typeset in Word. However, many printers don’t accept books in this format for the very good reason that it’s unstable. If you haven’t noticed by now, Word does inexplicable, weird things. Bullet points and tabs that were fine one minute suddenly jump about the page, out of control. Admittedly, this is probably because of something else you told Word to do which you didn’t even realise would have that effect but the fact is that Word isn’t a fixed format and is open to change.

PDF, on the other hand, is fixed, stable and unalterable. It won’t and can’t change except with the aid of special software. In fact, if you want to alter anything after you’ve converted to PDF, you’ll need to go back to your word file, make the change and convert it all over again. However, this isn’t particularly problematic because the process is very simple.

The first thing you need to do is confirm you have the software to convert to pdf. If you have Word 2010 or later, then, you definitely will. With Word 2007 it’s less certain. To find out, press the Office button in the top left-hand corner, hover over Save As and see if PDF is an option as it is below:

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If it’s not there, visit the Microsoft website (microsoft.com), type Word 2007 PDF into the search box and you’ll quickly find a free add-on. Once this is downloaded, PDF should then appear as an option under Save As.

If you have Word 2003 or before, you’ll need to download separate software to convert your document to PDF. There are many suitable free options. I use doPDF (dopdf.com). Follow the instructions below for books with images. Obviously, you don’t need to worry about setting your resolution or selecting High Quality Images if you don’t have any but you do need to ensure that page size is set correctly and your fonts are embedded.