FAQ PDF Talk – What Writers Need to Know

July 30, 2008

The digital age has brought us a more efficient process of communicating literary assets.  To date, this often means that writers submit their manuscripts and screenplays online via PDF. 

If you’re writing on a Mac that has Tiger or Leopard OS, and you’re creating your brilliant masterpiece inside of Word, Pages or a simple text editor; you have PDF conversion tools built right into your operating system.  If you’re using Vista, there is a free plug-in that will allow you to “print” to PDF just like Mac. However, if you’re using a later version of Windows such as XP or Linux and you’re using Microsoft Word or some other text editor to create your masterpiece, you will need PDF conversion software. 

Print to PDF??? I thought I was creating a .pdf file?  I know this is confusing to some folk so allow me to clarify.  When you are prompted to “print to PDF”, essentially what you are doing is creating a “printed” copy of the document in .pdf format and saving it to your hard drive.  So the document doesn’t forward to your printer spool and come out your printer.  You’re creating a .pdf “print” of your original document. 

Does my writing software already have PDF conversion capabilities?  Possibly. The latest versions of screenwriting programs such as Movie Magic, Final Draft and Montage already come equipped with PDF printing tools.  So there’s no need to purchase additional software.

Is there an online PDF converter?  Sure, try PDF Online.        

What about a free downloadable software? Try PrimoPDF.

What does PDF mean? Portable Document Format

Are all PDF converters the same? No.  Depending on the technology used some PDF converters produce larger file sizes than others.  The better PDF converters are able to recognize and convert 99.9% of the text and produce a small file size.

If I convert my file to PDF does that mean no one can manipulate the text? Unfortunately, no…  Converting a PDF into text is called “ripping”. There is PDF ripping software out there, which can convert PDFs back to manipulative text.  GMail allows you to view a PDF via HTML, which is another form of ripping PDFs.  Also PDFs don’t stop someone from simply retyping the document.  However, short of scanning a photocopy of your document (not recommended), PDFs are the most secure way to protect the integrity of your work.
 

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