word tables in pdf

Posted on 2006-03-21
Last Modified: 2013-12-03
I try to convert some word documents to pdf-files using the acrobat professional 7. The documents include some tables, that I can't convert correctly. There are some lines missing and some lines appear frayed and not straight. Is there any way to convert them correctly?
Question by:SWB-Consulting
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    You're not doing anything wrong. The problem is that Adobe works best with some settings, and Word works best with some setings, and those settings "fight" with each other when trying to convert. For example, what you see when working on your Word document is NOT what Adobe sees. It sees whatever you see when you switch from your local printer setting to the Adobe printer. You'll see what I mean later. Follow these steps and you should be fine.

    After you install Acrobat, you can use either the Adobe PDF printer or Acrobat PDFMaker to convert PDF files in Word. Acrobat PDFMaker supports additional PDF features that aren't available with the Adobe PDF printer, such as tagged Adobe PDF information, hyperlinks, styles, and bookmarks. You can also convert a Word document to an Adobe PDF file by using Acrobat.

    Getting ready to create PDF files

    Before you create a Word document, you want to make a few change to your system so that you get the best results converting it to PDF. Be sure to complete the following tasks in order:

    1. Make a copy of your Word document.

    To preserve the original formatting of a document, make a copy of the document before changing the printer to the Adobe PDF printer. If you change the default printer for a Word document, the formatting of the document may change because Word applies page setup properties and resident fonts specific to the default printer driver. If you receive Word documents from another source, you should ask the documents' creator to set the default printer to the Adobe PDF printer before he or she creates the documents.

    Reformat the copy to correct formatting shifts after you specify the printer.

    2. Set up the Adobe PDF printer as the default printer.

    Setting the Adobe PDF printer as the default printer ensures that you get the best results.

    To set up the Adobe PDF printer as the default:

    1. Choose Start > Settings > Printers and Faxes (Windows XP) or Start > Settings > Printers (Windows 2000).

    2. Right-click Adobe PDF, and then choose Set As Default [ Printer ] from the pop-up menu. (In Windows XP, the Set As Default option isn't available if the Adobe PDF printer is already the default printer.)

    3. Configure the Adobe PostScript printer driver.

    Acrobat configures the Adobe PDF printer to use the Adobe PostScript printer driver (AdobePS); however, you must configure AdobePS to send TrueType fonts as Native TrueType fonts to preserve their appearance and to prevent them from being substituted with Type 1 fonts.

    In Windows XP or 2000:

    1. Choose Start > Settings > Printers and Faxes (Windows XP) or Start > Settings > Printers (Windows 2000).

    2. Right-click Adobe PDF, and then choose Properties from the pop-up menu.

    3. Click the General tab, click Printing Preferences, click the Layout tab, and then click Advanced.

    4. Click the plus sign next to PostScript Options.

    5. Select the TrueType Font Download Option, and then choose Native TrueType from the pop-up menu.

    4. Specify printing options in Word.

    The Adobe PDF printer uses the printing options you specify in the Word Options or Print dialog box. If a Word document uses a custom page size, add the custom page size to the Adobe PDF printer properties.

    To specify printing options in Word:

    1. Choose Tools > Options.

    2. Click the Print tab.

    3. Deselect Reverse Print Order to make sure that pages in the PDF file appear in the correct sequence. If the document contains line graphics (for example, arrows or flow charts), select Drawing Objects.

    4. Select any other appropriate settings, and then click Print.

    To add a custom page size to the Adobe PDF printer properties:

    1. Choose File > Print.

    2. Choose Adobe PDF as the printer, and then click Properties.

    3. Click the Adobe PDF Settings tab, and then click Add Custom Page.

    4. Specify the page height and width, name the custom page size, and then click Add/Modify.

    5. Click OK. The custom page size appears in the Adobe PDF Page Size list.

    5. Replace low-resolution graphics.

    If your Word document contains graphics that have a resolution lower than 200 dpi (for example, on-screen images), replace the graphics with higher resolution graphics, if possible. Graphics with a resolution lower than 200 dpi may not appear as smooth when converted to PDF. Acrobat products apply anti-aliasing, which smooths images, only to graphics that have a resolution of 200 dpi or greater, whereas Word applies anti-aliasing to all graphics.

    Creating PDF files

    The method you choose to create PDF files depends on the features you want to include in your Adobe PDF file. To create PDF files with the quickest and simplest method, use the Adobe PDF printer. If you want to include embedded tags, styles, bookmarks, hyperlinks, or Properties information for the Word document, convert them by using PDFMaker. Because PDFMaker provides these additional features, it may take longer to convert documents, especially large documents that contain several fonts, complex tables, or both.

    Creating PDF files by using the Adobe PDF printer

    After you specify your printing options, you can create a PDF file from the Word document.

    To create a PDF file using the Adobe PDF printer:

    1. In Word, choose File > Print.

    2. Choose Adobe PDF from the Printer Name pop-up menu.

    3. Click OK, and specify a filename and location for the PDF file, and then click Save.

    Creating PDF files by using PDFMaker

    You can convert Word files from within either Word or Acrobat. Because both applications use PDFMaker, you can achieve the same results in either application.

    To create a PDF file from within Word:

    1. Exit from all applications except Word to minimize processing time. To further minimize processing time, complete the following:

    -- If the document contains several fonts, either reduce the number of fonts or replace TrueType fonts with Type 1 fonts.

    -- If the document contains large or complex tables, reduce the number of columns and rows.

    2. If the document contains hyperlinks, make sure that the page margins are .8 inch or larger.

    3. To add features such as font embedding and compression to your PDF file, choose Adobe PDF > Change Conversion Settings. (To create customized job options settings with these features, edit the conversion settings.

    4. Choose Adobe PDF > Convert to Adobe PDF, or click the Convert to AdobePDF icon on the Word toolbar, specify a filename and location for the PDF file, and then click Save.

    To create a PDF file from within Acrobat:

    1. Configure Acrobat's PDF conversion settings:

    a. In Acrobat, choose Edit > Preferences > and select Convert to PDF from the list.

    b. Select Microsoft Office from the Converting To PDF list.

    c. Click Edit Settings, select one or more conversion settings, and then click OK.

    2. Choose File > Create PDF > From File.

    3. Select Microsoft Office Documents from the File of Type list, select the file that you want to convert, and then click Open. Acrobat then opens the document in Word, and converts it to PDF file by using PDFMaker.
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    try to print your document with acrobat distiller and not with acrobat writer,
    sometime you may have bad result with acrobate writer...
    i hope that work..if not, plz, tell me back...

    have a nice day
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    did you try my solution?
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Or my prior solutions which have a 100% success record so far ;-)
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment


    Author Comment

    I tried both solutions, but unfortunately there was no improvement visible. I converted some documents converting them first to images with the image writer and then to pdf. This worked better, but still not satisfying.
    The word documents contain some complex tables from ocr-scannings. In particular when the lines are bold, they look frayed. Other lines are uncontinuous.
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    it's sure that pdf document is a kind of photo especially in case of drawing case, as lines and other details because of low resolution and it doesnt take a lot of memory when you compare it with other document format....
    it's wonderful for text, but once you start with other details you wanna lose in resolution...
    in my experience the best result you get it with Acrobat Distiller...
    it should be acceptable...after that im out of other ideas

    good luck  
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    hello again
    what i checked today..that the way you create PDF... so don't use the button create pdf with pdfMaker.....
    as i mentionned it's better to print your document in selecting adobe Distiller as printer, that will give you a better resolution concerning lines and tables...


    Author Comment

    What I tried so far is, creating a pdf via the Adobe button,  printing selecting the printer "Adobe pdf" as well as printing it with the Adobe ps-printer and convert it afterwards to a pdf using the distiller. Since some tables look so messy, I don't think that it is a resolution problem.
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment


    Adobe Acrobat is a "fixed" program, so the solutions I provided will work unless there's something inherently unique about the content of your original document or the settings within Word itself. It's unlikely, but if you performed all of my suggestions and none of them resolved your issue, then you can simply email me your Word document so that I can see what's unique about it. Then I'll be able to tell you exactly what you need to do to the document before printing through Acrobat. If you performed all of my suggestions in Acrobat, then it's not Acrobat: it's Word, the document, your print settings or something else external to Acrobat. Send your document to me and I'll tell you what that thing is.

    LVL 4

    Accepted Solution

    I took a look at your original document:

    For me, it opened up in Word as an XML file. I also noticed some MIME headers when I did something that I've since forgotten. I played with the document and it does have some formatting quirks with line spacing and other things, but I honestly didn't want to spend anymore surgery time on trying to see what was fighting with what because you reach a point where you realize that you're essentially reformatting the entire document where in probably a less amount of time and energy you could simply retype the whole document over from scratch. But I've never wanted to do that either. So you may be "stuck" unless you consider some of my tried and true workarounds that have made me a "legend" for customers I support:

    1: remove the table lines; an obvious idea, but often the doc looks cleaner. it's the quickest and easiest solution and you'd be amazed at how many people say "hmm, i never even considered that and it looks better anyway."

    2: if you have hundreds of documents, you might be better served by software that is designed for customers who need rock-solid business-level conversion results, such as those from Abbyy: or Nuance: This is especially suited for when you don't create the documents yourself and receive documents from various sources with various formatting issues that you simply won't have time to spend hours fixing each one.

    3. If that's overkill and you only need to fix one, two or a few documents, and you absolutely need those pretty table lines, then my "claim to fame" is that I often do something that few if any have ever considered: a screenshot. By capturing and cropping a photo of your table beforehand, acrobat doesn't have to. (As I'm sure you know, a PDF file is essentially a big photo in a proprietary format. So when you make the table a photo, you are only doing perfectly what Acrobat does imperfectly.) It's also very quick to do and you can capture the screenshot in seconds and save it from low to high quality. Once you format your document, you can press ALT - Print to capture the screen, paste it into Microsoft Picture Manager (or Microsoft Paint), crop it, and then save it. I prefer the PNG format: When you insert the photo in your Word document, the table looks just as it did when it was text. Save the Word document to PDF as you do now, and you'll have your perfect table. I didn't change any settings to high or anything like that, but here's a quick example of a PDF file with your table inside of it: So if you want even higher quality, than you can change the settings accordingly.


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