Converting Documents to PDFs

Not all web users have ready access to Microsoft Office documents (ie, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Publisher, et al).  Therefore, it isn’t recommended that you upload/post these documents directly to the web.  Either convert the contents of the document into HTML and create a new web page, or first convert your document to a PDF and post this file to the web.  The directions below are for those who simply want to convert their documents to PDFs before posting.

  1. Open up your Office document
  2. Click the Office button Office button in the upper left hand corner or the File menu in older versions of Office
  3. Click “Save As”…
  4. Select either “Adobe PDF” or “PDF or XPS.” Save as PDF
    If you don’t see anything about Saving As A PDF, then first try a free online pdf converter (eg, or just send the file to your resident web developer they will convert it for you.
  5. If available, make sure you save the file for online publishing (minimum size):
  6. Publish as PDF or XPS
  7. Now you can upload/link your pdf file on a web page within your site!



Converting a Publisher File to PDF

  1. Open your Publisher file
  2. Click File –> Save As
  3. Under “Save As Type” select PDF
  4. Under “Optimize For” select “Minimum Size”
  5. Save your file, then follow the directions under linking to a pdf/word doc to upload the file to your site!



Resizing/Compressing a PDF

There are at least three ways I’m aware of to resize PDFs to make them friendly for the web: using Acrobat Reader (recommended), an online tool such as (also recommended) or Photoshop.  Ideally you should aim to have a text-only PDF be smaller than 100 kilobytes in size.  A PDF with images should ideally be no more than 1-2 megabytes in size, but I’d personally recommend never uploading a PDF that’s larger than 5 megabytes in size.  I rarely configure a site to allow file uploads that are greater than 20-30 megs/file.

Method 1:

  1. Since this is the simplest method of all, it should be tried first.  Simply visit, upload your file, and it will spit back a compressed version.  Hopefully that compressed version is significantly smaller than the file you uploaded.

Method 2: Adobe Acrobat (not Reader, this is also known as Adobe Acrobat Professional):

  1. Open the PDF
  2. Go to File -> Save As
  3. Under Save as type:, select “Adobe PDF Files, Optimized” or “Optimized PDF”.  If you don’t see this option, you are more than likely using Adobe Reader and not Adobe Acrobat.
  4. Click Save using the default settings and then check your new file’s size.  If it’s still too big, repeat steps 1-3, then click the “Settings” button to modify the PDF’s compression settings.  Specifically, I usually compress images to a size no greater than “High” quality and a PPI of 150.  You usually can get by with much less than this if your intent is to simply make the PDF readable online (eg, 96 is often used for optimization for mobile devices).
  5. If you have a ridiculously large PDF or if the PDF contains images that simply cannot be downsampled, you might also try saving as Reduced Size PDF.  Try selecting a later version of Acrobat (eg, 8.0) and saving the file.  I’ve yet to encounter a PDF that couldn’t be resized below 20 megs using this option.

An alternative to the above method (you may even be able to do this without Adobe Acrobat) is to simply print as a pdf:

  1. Open the PDF
  2. Go to File -> Print
  3. Under Printer Name, select “Adobe PDF”
  4. You could either click Advanced to tweak compression settings, or simply click “OK” to use the default settings

Method 3: Photoshop

  1. Open the PDF using Photoshop (right click, Open With -> Photoshop)
  2. Click OK to import the PDF (you could reduce the resolution to something like 150)
  3. Click File -> Save As
  4. Under Format, select “Photoshop PDF”
  5. A new dialog should appear which will allow you to change the document preset.  I’d typically recommend using Smallest File Size.
  6. Click Save PDF