4 Replies Latest reply on Apr 16, 2010 11:53 PM by Bill@VT

    save word doc as pdf options

    petesgrille33 Level 1


      I'm saving a large word document (over 100 pages) as a PDF, using Word 2007 and Acrobat 9 Pro. Then, I am using Acrobat to do the final-stage accessibility edits.


      There are a number of ways to save the file as a PDF, and I'm curious about what the differences are.

      1. I can save the word doc using the "Acrobat" ribbon- the button "Create PDF" and also play around with "Preferences" when doing so.

      2. I can go to the 'pizza box' and "Save As" and then hit "Adobe PDF."

           (I'm pretty sure this is the same thing as 1)

           When I do 1 or 2, the conversion takes a LONG time and usually freezes my computer. So I've been doing the following:

      3. "Save as" and then "PDF or XPS"- the button with the little document wearing a belt around its waist? Funny button.

           Doing this converts my file to a PDF a lot quicker than 1 or 2. From what I can tell, it does a fine job- carries over alt text, tags, etc.

           3a. Also- there's an option when I save this way to make the PDF "ISO 19005-1 compliant (PDF/A)" Does this mean anything?



      - what is the difference between these saving options? And why is 3 so much faster?!

      - which option is best creating accessible PDFs from Word documents (or are they all the same)?



        • 1. Re: save word doc as pdf options
          CtDave Level 5


          For #1 –
          This uses Adobe PDFMaker.
          If "Enable Accessibility and Reflow with tagged Adobe PDF" is selected you'll create a Tagged output PDF from the Word file. How well-formed it is depends on how diligently built-in headings and styles were used.


          For #2 –
          'pizza box' > "Save As" > "Adobe PDF" passes the Word file through Adobe Printer to Distiller to PDF.
          No Tagged output PDF that way as the file is not being processed by Adobe PDFMaker which provides the tag management.

          For #3 –
          'pizza box' > "Save As" (mouse hover, no click) > PDF or XPS (click)
          In the 'Publish as PDF or XPS' dialog, click on the "Options..." button.
          In the Options dialog, select "Document structure tags for accessibilty"
          (don't forget to provide the Word file with meta data in its Document Properties and to select "Document Properties" in the Options dialog).
          Give your output PDF Bookmarks by selecting the "Create bookmarks using" choice.
          Click OK.
          Back in the  'Publish as PDF or XPS' dialog, confirm that "Standard (publishing online and printing)" is selected (the default).
          If you want to view the PDF upon creation, select "Open file after publishing".
          Click the Publish button.
          Output PDF will be tagged.
          Process has improved since its initial release.
          On the whole, I still prefer to use PDFMaker; but, the Office 2007 routine is a viable alternative.
          An end-user "win" due to Adobe's work with ISO to create the ISO Standard for PDF.

          #1 & #3 process time is a function of what you authored – short-simple, long-complex, adherence to a well-formed template and built-in headings/styles, willy-nilly, etc.
          You would have to run a statistically valid sample of the same Word files through each to see which has a run-time you like AND provides a structure tree that requires minimal post-processing.
          Although less post-processing may not be a 'good thing' if the few activities you have to do are gnarly.

          For #3a –
          PDF "ISO 19005-1 compliant (PDF/A)"
          The ISO Standard for long term archival grade electronic files (PDF, of course <g>).
          Asking the question indicates that you are most likely not in need of providing the content in Word to PDF/A.

          – 'speed' of output that needs more post-processing with Acrobat Pro may not be a good thing.
          –  which is 'better' for tagged output PDF...
          That depends.
          I prefer Adobe PDFMaker's output of <Table>, <Note>, its dealings with headings, its ability to appropriately nest elements, etc.

          I'd do two or three of the same Word files each way.
          Then post-process to assure the PDF structure tree is compliant with the requirements of ISO 32000-1.
          If your PDF is ISO 32000-1"good" it is solid for accessibility/Section 508.
          For each, walk the tree with 'Highlight' selected.
          If checking with AT, use the most recent release. Old stuff (any of it from any software house) is not going to be able to properly "QC" something processed to current standards.
          After this, throw the chicken bones to decide.


          fwiw, I've found FrameMaker / Acrobat Pro to be a better tool set for tagged output of PDF and requisite post-processing.

          Be well...

          • 2. Re: save word doc as pdf options
            MichaelKazlow MVP & Adobe Community Professional

            The third method, does not use Acrobat at all, it uses Office's native pdf creation ability.

            • 3. Re: save word doc as pdf options
              petesgrille33 Level 1

              Thanks Dave, Michael-

              Much clearer.


              I think method 3 works best for this document since it is so large and complex.  From what I can tell, Adobe picks up the tag structure fine and I have made sure to use Word styles, add alt text in Word doc, etc- as much 508 formatting as I can do in "pre process" so not too much end-work in Adobe- just retagging some artifacts etc.


              Interesting how there are so many options, though- I wonder why?

              • 4. Re: save word doc as pdf options
                Bill@VT Level 7

                Acrobat offers basically 2 options: 1) print to the Adobe PDF printer and 2) PDF Maker (create PDF in newer versions). The PDF Maker is used in OFFICE to create tags and other markup. Tags provide format information and such for various option, but are also a major cause of bloat in PDFs. Without PDF Maker, you simply print to the Adobe PDF printer and have the same result as printing to a piece of paper - no markup or links.


                OFFICE 2007 seems to create problems for the various Acrobat processes that do not exist for OFFICE 2003 and earlier. OFFICE 2007 does offer the plug in for creating PDFs by way of the MS method. I think this was the 3rd method you described. It does not always create clean PDFs (remember MS always things their way is the standard, even if they do not write the standard).