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Typesetting in Microsoft Word: Creating Press-Ready PDFs from Word

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Now that you’ve finished
typesetting your book in Microsoft Word (following the instructions in my past
three articles), your next step is to send it off to a printer. What you’ll
probably find, however, is that your printer doesn’t want your Word file. Why?
For starters, it probably won’t look the same on your printer’s computer as on
yours, and you certainly don’t want to mess up all that beautiful typography
you’ve created. (This can also be true with files created in QuarkXPress.)


The solution is to send your
printer a PDF (Portable Document Format) file with embedded
fonts—something the printer will welcome.


If you have Adobe Acrobat
(pricey!), you can use it to create the PDF you need. (See Acrobat’s Help file
for complete instructions.) If you’re using a Macintosh with OS X, the ability
to save a file as a PDF is built right into the operating system. And if you’re
using Windows and you’re cheap, like me, there are plenty of alternatives. This
article explains how to create a PDF using the free Ghostscript and GSview
programs, available at:




You’ll probably need the Win32
versions about halfway down the page. Download and install both gs851w32.exe
(Ghostscript) and gsv47w32.exe (GSview).


The first time I typeset a book in
Microsoft Word, the press didn’t like my PDF. “You didn’t embed your fonts,”
they said. Well, I sure thought I’d embedded the fonts. To check, I followed
this procedure:


1. Opened
the PDF in the free Adobe Reader: <span

Clicked File –> Document Properties.

Clicked the Fonts tab.


Sure enough, no fonts were listed.
What did I do wrong?


I neglected to install the Acrobat
Distiller PPD file. Basically, I didn’t follow (or know about) Adobe’s
instructions here:


Windows: <span


Macintosh: <span


Those instructions are completely
adequate to do what’s needed. Just remember that you need to install both the
universal PostScript printer driver and the Acrobat Distiller PPD file.


The instructions that follow here
are intended to help you create a PostScript file suitable for use with Adobe’s
Create Adobe PDF Online service:




But they’ll also work with
Ghostscript and GSview.


27 Steps and Presto, PDF!


After you’ve installed all this
good stuff, creating a press-ready PDF is easy:


1. Open
your typeset document in Word.

2. Click
File –> Print.

3. Under
Printer Name, select “Acrobat Distiller.”

4. Click
the Properties button.

5. Click
the Advanced button.

6. Under
Graphic: Print Quality, select the dpi (dots per inch) you were told to use by
the service representative at the printing company you’re using. This should
probably be at least 2400 dpi.


Also ask the printer’s rep about
the other settings you should use. I’m giving you the ones that worked for me
in steps 7–9 and 18–20, below.


7. Under
TrueType Font, select “Download as Softfont.”

8. Under
PostScript Options: PostScript Output Option, select “Optimize for

9. Under
PostScript Options: TrueType Font Download Option, select “Native TrueType.”

10. Click
the OK button.

11. Click
the next OK button.

12. Click
the next OK button to print your document as a PostScript file.

13. In
the “Print to file” dialog, under “Save as type,” select “All Files(*.*).”

14. In
the “File name” box, give your PostScript file a name ending with a “.ps”

15. Click
the OK button.

16. Open
your newly created PostScript file in GSview (just double-clicking the file
will do the trick).

17. In
GSview, click File –> Convert.

18. Under
“Device,” select “pdfwrite.”

19. Set
“Resolution” to 720.

20. Click
the Properties button and set EmbedAllFonts and SubsetFonts to true, set
PDFSETTINGS to /prepress, and set MaxSubsetPct to 100. Don’t miss this step!

21. Click
“All pages” (assuming that’s what you want in your PDF).

22. Click
the OK button.

23. In
the Output Filename dialog, provide a name for the PDF file you’re about to
create, being sure to give it a .pdf extension.

24. Click
the Save button.

25. Watch
the GSview button in your taskbar as it tells you the percentage complete. Be
patient. Don’t try to open the PDF until GSview has finished creating it.

Double-click the PDF to open it in Adobe Reader.

27. Check
to see if your fonts are embedded, as explained at the beginning of this


Could I be missing something?
Sure. I’m no expert when it comes to making PDFs. But these instructions work
for me. If they don’t work for you, don’t be afraid to talk to the
representative at your printing company, who should be glad to give you all the
help you need.


Jack M.
Lyon is proprietor of The Editorium (www.editorium.com), which provides macros
to automate publishing tasks in Microsoft Word. He’s also managing editor of a
publishing house in Salt Lake City and co-author of a business book, <span
class=8StoneSans>Managing the Obvious.
To subscribe to Editorium
, his free newsletter about publishing with Word, send a
blank email message to subscribe-editorium@topica.com. For more information,
email editor@editorium.com.



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