Microsoft Word/MSWord to PDF


Hi Suzanne

I am a pre-forestry student using Word 2010.  I am creating a large document in MSWord with hundreds of pictures of tree leaves, crowns, bark, flowers, and seeds.  The document will be indexed by shape of leaf for easy lookup and identification of trees.

In finishing I plan to convert the document to a PDF so others can look up a tree on the internet.

A two-part question:  1) some of the JPEGs of leaves, etc. are large.  Will they also be large in the PDF document?  Should I open them in Photoshop to reduce their size (quality, not size of image) before converting to PDF for faster internet access?  Or does Adobe/Word take care of that automatically?

Second question:  Is this the best methodology for putting this index on the internet, or should I use another software?



I'm probably not the best person to answer this question partly because it is really more about PDFs than Word and partly because it is largely about graphics, about which I am not outstandingly knowledgeable. So you might do well to ask some "experts" on PDF and graphics as well, but here's what I know.

To some extent you can use Word alone to resample your photos. When you select a picture in Word 2010 and get the contextual Picture Tools | Format tab, you can use the Compress Pictures button. You'll get a choice of output resolutions, the highest of which is for print (220 dpi--which is interesting because in Word 2003, which I use, the default is 200 dpi for print). If you clear the check box for "Apply only to this picture," the compression will affect all pictures in the document.

Even if you don't do this, however, if you use Save as PDF from Word, you'll get some resolution options. If you use Adobe Acrobat to create PDFs, you have a much wider range of options, including a lot of specific settings regarding pictures (most of which are Greek to me, so I just usually go with the default settings).

What resolution you choose for the PDF (using Word's built-in PDF-creation feature or a third-party application such as Acrobat) will depend on whether you intend the file to be downloaded and printed out or merely viewed online (for the latter, lower resolution is adequate). If you do envision the document being used primarily online, it might be more satisfactory to create it as a Web page (or website with linked pages) rather than as a PDF. If you do decide to go with PDF, and if you use Acrobat, there is a setting to optimize the document for faster display (I believe it permits the first few pages to be viewed while later pages are still loading).

Again, all of this is outside my area of expertise, but perhaps it will give you an idea of what sorts of more specific questions to put to experts in the fields of PDF and graphics.

Good luck with your document. My brother is a retired forester for the State of Oregon; he is quite an expert on West Coast trees but sometimes baffled by trees here in Alabama, as it can be a very localized specialty!
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Suzanne S. Barnhill


I've been using Word for Windows since version 2.0 (1992), and the more I learn about it, the more I realize how little I know. But I may know a few things that you don't, and I'll help if I can. I answer many questions every day in Microsoft's peer support forums and as a result have been awarded the MVP (Most Valuable Professional) designation by Microsoft Corporation. You may be able to find the answer to your question at the Word MVPs' FAQ site or at my own Word FAQ site, so please check those first! Please, no questions about VBA (macros), Registry editing, networks, or complex merges, as I have no experience with these aspects of Word, nor do I have any experience with Word for Mac. Please indicate which version of Word you are using; if you are not sure, see "What version of Word do I have?".


I have a master's degree in classics (Latin), which is surprisingly helpful, though I no longer teach. The things I am proudest of: Having raised two children to maturity, both Merit Scholars, both college graduates (one a philosophy major!), one Phi Beta Kappa (from Harvard!); having been made a Paul Harris Fellow by my Rotary club; having been designated a Microsoft MVP.

Rotary Club of Fairhope, Friends of the Fairhope Public Library

B.A. (Latin), Agnes Scott College, 1966; M.A. (Classics), Emory University, 1972.

Awards and Honors
Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award every year since 1999; many Rotary honors

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