Begin with Understanding:
What is a PDF?
I’m not a software engineer, nor a historian, but i’ll tell you what i know.
The PDF, or Portable Document Format(1), is a type of presentational media– almost like a picture, a graphic file, or Macromedia Flash® content– in that it is a way to “present” something in a digital format. A PDF is different from an image, however– though it is meant to maintain an identical reproduction(2) of the original content, it miraculously maintains a psuedo-editable quality: the text may be selected, and copied to another text editor outside of the PDF viewer, to be again edited as new.
In summary of the “what is it?” part, (because i want to “Get on with it already!”) the PDF is more than just another text document, but a special type of media which is dependent upon a special type of Creation process. It is not a default feature of most PC’s to be able to create a PDF.
NOTE: Most important to the purpose of this article– though you may in fact create a PDF document, or a document with a .pdf extension– you may not have actually created a true PDF with the capability of being displayed by anyone, on any PC running the Adobe Acrobat Reader. If a PDF can not be read by Acrobat, then it is likely not quite a PDF at all.
How to Create a PDF in Linux Fedora Core 5 (and other Linux Distros)
- View the page from which you wish to create a PDF
- Choose the option to print the document
- From the Print dialouge, select “Print to File” — this is a very important step toward successful PDF creation
- Name your file with the dot-p-s extension (i.e. .ps) — this indicates that it is a “Post Script” document; the type of document from which a PDF can be created — a more creative mind might consider the .PS document as the embryo of a PDF
- Open the .ps document in KPDF. Here we will again select to Print the document, except we now have the option, to create a PDF as part of the KPDF print dialogue.
- If your default printer is showing as the print device, you must NOT use that selection, but instead choose Save as PDF (or Print as PDF… i forget the exact phrasing)
- Click Print. you’re finished. your PDF document has been created, and should now be viewable by just about anyone around the world who has Adobe Acrobat® installed on their System, Win, Mac, Linux, or otherwise!
NOTE: Always test-view any PDF in Acrobat before sending them to someone for viewing. It’s a good rule-of-thumb for certainty.
(1)Portable Document Format: Adobe Systems. Rev. 06-21-2006. Available at http://www.adobe.com/pdf/about/history/ . Accessed 03-11-2007
My own terminology. Not an “official” definition of PDF characteristics