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PDF Generation Guide

This section describes how to prepare PDF files for your final year project. Independent of the program you are using to write the document and create the PDF file, the PDF file must fulfil the following conditions:

  • It must be compatible with Acrobat 5, PDF version 1.4.
  • All of the typefaces used in your document must be embedded in the PDF file, except for the standard PDF fonts. Embedding the standard PDF fonts is optional. The 14 standard PDF fonts are Times–Roman, Times–Bold, Times–Italic, Times–oldItalic, Helvetica, Helvetica–Bold, Helvetica–Oblique, Helvetica–BoldOblique, Courier, Courier–Bold, Courier–Oblique, Courier–BoldOblique, Symbol, ZapfDingbats.
  • The PDF file must not contain any malicious software. In general there is no need to embed any scripts at all.

We also recommend that you turn off any additional image compression during the PDF generation to preserve the original image quality. Furthermore, the PDF file should be generated for 300dpi or higher (print or prepress settings are ok). Screen resolutions, etc. may be of insufficient quality to easily read or print your documents.

The method you choose to create your PDF file is up to you, of course. However, there are several methods that most people use as described below. Following these methods will ensure your document fulfils the above conditions.

Once you created the PDF file you are highly advised to carefully proofread the resulting PDF file using acroread, available at (also installed on all COMSC computers). In particular check that the PDF file does not differ from the original file in any significant way.

TeX and LaTeX

If you are using TeX or LaTeX there are two basic options to create a PDF file: directly generate the PDF file with PDFTeX / PDFLaTeX or create the PDF file from a DVI file. For special TeX frontends and implementations for various platforms, commercial version, etc. you should refer to the documentation of these programs.


We recommend to use PDFTeX / PDFLaTeX directly by calling pdflatex or pdftex command to create a PDF file. Note that there are some small differences between these commands and the original latex or tex commands, which produce DVI files. To avoid any problems you should choose which version you use before you write the complete document.

TeX and LaTeX with DVI files

The standard version of TeX and LaTeX produce DVI files. To generate acceptable PDF files from these, first convert the DVI file to PostScript with the following command:

dvips -Ppdf -G0 -t a4 -o FILE.dvi

Then you should run the ps2pdf program to create the PDF file from the PostScript file:

ps2pdf  -dPDFSETTINGS=/prepress \
        -dCompatibilityLevel=1.4 \
        -dAutoFilterColorImages=false \
        -dAutoFilterGrayImages=false \
        -dColorImageFilter=/FlateEncode \
        -dGrayImageFilter=/FlateEncode \
        -dMonoImageFilter=/FlateEncode \
        -dDownsampleColorImages=false \
        -dDownsampleGrayImages=false \ FILE.pdf

Microsoft Word

There are various ways to generate a PDF file under Microsoft Word. The following three sections describe the most common options.

Save as PDF

Newer Word programs offer under the save menu point the option to save the file as a PDF file. You may have to install a separate option in order for this to work. In general this may be best best option to generate a PDF. Make sure you turn off image compression and select at least 300dpi resolution.


PrimoPDF is a free program available at It installs a PDF printer which can be used to generate the PDF file as well. For details on how to use it see its documentation.

LibreOffice / OpenOffice

If you are using OpenOffice to write your report export the file in PDF format using the File → Export As PDF … menu. Under the options window provided you do not need to select any of the special options. But make sure you turn off JPEG compression by selecting lossless compression to avoid image quality problems and we also do not recommend reducing the image resolution.

pdf_guide.txt · Last modified: 2014/01/13 18:12 by scmfcl