Disc Pro Graphics Pre Press

Converting a Word document to PDF

Which way is best for professional printing

PDF files are the best way to send print ready files. There are many reasons why this is the case, but we will focus on the three most important ones here. As a customer of Disc Pro Graphics, the files you send us are of the utmost importance. We want to make sure that your files are printed exactly as you intend. Many people ask how to convert a word document to PDF, here’s how.

Ways to Convert a Word Document to a PDF, & Quality Checks

Options we will cover in this document.

1. Using Microsoft Word to convert to PDF.

2. Adobe Word-to-pdf software.

 

Which way is best?

PDF files are best for the highest quality printing, but if you start by designing your document or project within a different program you are at a disadvantage from the beginning. There are certain limitations that come from creating print documents from applications that are not designed primarily for high quality printing. Disc Pro Graphics has preferences as every other commercial printing company does when it comes to quality control and customer expectations.

The benefits of Printing from a PDF and not a word Document outweigh the small learning curve it takes to create the same document for printing from within a PDF format originally.

We want to make this process as easy as possible for our customers to receive the highest possible product from us. Printing is an art, and want you not to be blind sided by your printing project not being just as you expected. This is why we’ve taken the extra steps to walk you through converting your Word documents to a pdf. By doing so there are many benefits for you to see a pdf that you intend to be printed before it is sent to Disc Pro Graphics.

Depending on Where your word document is will determine the best way to convert it to a pdf to start creating the dependable visualization 

The Best possible outcome

Adobe Creative Cloud

The Adobe Creative Suite is what Disc Pro Graphics uses on a daily basis to provide us the most control over the highest quality of commercial printing files. If you’re wanting the most control and best quality in printing from creating and managing your print documents, Adobe’s Creative Suite allows you to control everything possible from within your artwork.

Images, Vectors, Text, Layout and quality, are at your fingertips from within Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat for all your professional commercial printing designs. Their professional Design software allows you to organize and maintain the most control over your images, brand colors, and quality control throughout the designing process. 

 

 

Saving / Creating a PDF

There are many ways to create word documents now days, on many operating systems. Differences between the way Windows, and Mac OS  handle files can be confusing but we will do our best to make the most sense of it.

PDF’s saved to your computer whether on Windows or Mac Os can be saved as a pdf. 

 

Saving a PDF from Word on Windows

1. Select  File  >  Save a Copy

2. Then Browse to select the location on your computer where you want to save the file.

3. Then in the Drop Down list, choose PDF.

 

 Saving a PDF from Word on Mac OS

1. Select  File  >  Save As…

2. Then Browse to select the location on your computer where you want to save the file.

3. Then in the Drop Down list below, choose PDF & Best for printing.

 

Saving a PDF from word on Mac OS Screenshot step by step
Screenshot file name saving pdf from word on Mac OS

Quality Review of Word to PDF

Image quality

When using Microsoft Word to convert a file to a pdf, jpg images are compressed unless you go into the settings and improve the DPI of your Microsoft Word document. To do achieve this higher dpi it will need to be done before saving as a pdf. The Photo / image size and resolution settings are in the Advanced Settings of Word on Windows, and in the Edit settings of Preferences on Mac OS

Select High fidelity for the least amount of image compression and loss of data, for the highest possible print quality.

Mac OS microsoft word Image settings preferences for higher DPI

Images are still not at full possible resolution when converting using Microsoft Word. By checking the pdf once it has been creating you can verify if this quality is a right match for your intended printing. Disc Pro Graphics recommends at least using a 330 ppi for images in a pdf. 

Design & Layout

Once the document is a pdf format, nothing will be moved, but during the converting process of using word things do move slightly. As an example with the .5” margins on a word document images converted to pdf started at .5” from the left and were at .53945” from the edge of the page after the saved file was finished. That is a total movement of .03945”, this might not seem like a big deal until you are working with solid colors of ink and there might be slight difference in the alignment of two different images.

This problem is compounded if attempting to utilize word for documents that need to be folded or stitched and images need to jump across a gutter. Just being aware of this discrepancy can save you lots of headache by 

Page sizes

Page / Document size is the first and most important thing about preparing a file for printing. Unless changed at the very beginning Microsoft word defaults to the standard U.S. Letter size at 8.5”(w) x 11”(h). This creates an instant bottleneck for production when this is not intended to be the final size. Pdf’s are designed to carry

1.Page / media size,

2. Trim Size

3. Bleed size

These allow pre-press and rip (Raster image processing) work flows to correctly layout and prepare the document for printing in many ways. Word does not create these extra measurements and will need to be created post conversion to pdf.

If you need a unique size document for professional printing. Here are instructions for creating a document size in Adobe Creative Suite software.

Bleed

Check the edges of your pdf and see if there are any images or colors that lay down all the way to the edge of your document. Images that do not go past the edge have a high chance of showing a white edge of paper after being cut unless Disc Pro Graphics trims the document smaller than the size of the pdf. This small paper border near one edge or another does not look as professional as could be by adding bleed size which is larger than the trim size of the document and allowing the printed image to go past and trimming off the excess ink.

These sizes are not native in word documents and must be added during the pre-press stage. By professionally creating your document within pdf designing software such as Adobe Creative Suite software such as Acrobat Pro DC, these can be added and your file can arrive ready for printing much more easily.

Disc Pro Graphics performs a pre-press check to make sure there is at least a 1/8 inch bleed of artwork around any part of the design that lays down over the trimmed edge of the document.

Color accuracy

Disc Pro Graphics uses the GRACol standard for our color targets. When using a Word document this information cannot be embedded into the document. So by converting artwork from any word document using Microsoft word, chances are it is using an sRGB Color profile when being created. This color profile is designed for monitors not professional printing. 

As an example Pantone color 307c and 032c were both embedded into a photoshop jpeg image and placed into a word document. The most accurate CMYK value for these two provided by our GRACol color target were different than that provided by Word’s conversion method.

Imagine this being your brand color, or logo. This is far more complicated when taken into account with photo images which play off every color present together to make warm, cool, light and dark photos. 

Pantone 307 c converted vs. built within a pdf with proper color profile

Pantone 032 c converted vs. built within a pdf with proper color profile

Microsoft Word converting to PDF Conclusion

From this example we hope that we can save you same time, money and frustration of not getting an accurate first proof. By taking an extra moment to overlook a pdf before sending it to Disc Pro Graphics you can avoid these headaches of the back and forth changes being requested by seeing how your document should print by seeing a pdf immediately.

Converting using Adobe word-to-pdf on Windows

Using a link to Adobe Creative Suite services you can upload a word document to Adobe and have them convert the document and simply download the file after.

1. To convert your file Go to Adobe Convert Word to PDF

2. Select your file.

3. Download your file once 

 

Adobe Convert Word to PDF

Adobe Convert Word to PDF on Mac OS

1. Select file to be converted.

2. Select and move Microsoft Word file to the Adobe Acrobat Pro DC application 

 

Saving a PDF from word on Mac OS Screenshot step by step

Quality Review of Word to PDF

Image quality

When using Microsoft Word files, jpg images are compressed unless you go into the settings and improve the DPI of your Microsoft Word document. To do achieve this higher dpi it will need to be done before saving as a pdf. The Photo / image size and resolution settings are in the Advanced Settings of Word on Windows, and in the Edit settings of Preferences on Mac OS

Select High fidelity for the least amount of image compression and loss of data, for the highest possible print quality.

Mac OS microsoft word Image settings preferences for higher DPI

Images are still not at full possible resolution when converting using Adobe word to pdf. By checking the pdf once it has been creating you can verify if this quality is a right match for your intended printing. Disc Pro Graphics recommends at least using a 330 ppi for images in a pdf.

Design & Layout

Once the document is a pdf format, nothing will be moved, but during the converting process of using word things do move slightly. As an example with the .5” margins on a word document images converted to pdf started at .5” from the left and were at .52” from the edge of the page after the saved file was finished. That is a total movement of .02”, this might not seem like a big deal until you are working with solid colors of ink and there might be slight difference in the alignment of two different images. If you notice this movement and layout change is much smaller than saving the word document as a pdf. but still not as accurate if building the pdf from pdf software such as Adobe Creative Suite.

This problem is compounded if attempting to utilize word for documents that need to be folded or stitched and images need to jump across a gutter. Just being aware of this discrepancy can save you lots of headache by 

Page sizes

Page / Document size is the first and most important thing about preparing a file for printing. Unless changed at the very beginning Microsoft word defaults to the standard U.S. Letter size at 8.5”(w) x 11”(h). This creates an instant bottleneck for production when this is not intended to be the final size. Pdf’s are designed to carry

1.Page / media size,

2. Trim Size

3. Bleed size

These allow pre-press and rip (Raster image processing) work flows to correctly layout and prepare the document for printing in many ways. Word does not create these extra measurements and will need to be created post conversion to pdf. 

If you need a unique size document for professional printing. Here are instructions for creating a document size in Adobe Creative Suite software.

Bleed

Check the edges of your pdf and see if there are any images or colors that lay down all the way to the edge of your document. Images that do not go past the edge have a high chance of showing a white edge of paper after being cut unless Disc Pro Graphics trims the document smaller than the size of the pdf. This small paper border near one edge or another does not look as professional as could be by adding bleed size which is larger than the trim size of the document and allowing the printed image to go past and trimming off the excess ink.

These sizes are not native in word documents and must be added during the pre-press stage. By professionally creating your document within pdf designing software such as Adobe Creative Suite software such as Acrobat Pro DC, these can be added and your file can arrive ready for printing much more easily.

Disc Pro Graphics performs a pre-press check to make sure there is at least a 1/8 inch bleed of artwork around any part of the design that lays down over the trimmed edge of the document.

Color accuracy

Disc Pro Graphics uses the GRACol standard for our color targets. When using a Word document this information cannot be embedded into the document. So by converting artwork from any word document using Microsoft word, chances are it is using an sRGB Color profile when being created. This color profile is designed for monitors not professional printing. 

As an example Pantone color 307c and 032c were both embedded into a photoshop jpeg image and placed into a word document. The most accurate CMYK value for these two provided by our GRACol color target were different than that provided by Word’s conversion method.

Imagine this being your brand color, or logo. This is far more complicated when taken into account with photo images which play off every color present together to make warm, cool, light and dark photos.

Adobe Word to PDF seems to be more reliable with color conversion from our experience. This is yet another reason we appreciate and suggest Adobe Creative  

These conversions are much closer when using Adobe Creative Suite Software. But still not as accurate as could be for your critical artwork as Adobe Creative Suite Software.

Pantone 307 c converted vs. built within a pdf with proper color profile. 

 

Pantone 307 Adobe word to pdf conversion comparison

Pantone 032 c converted vs. built within a pdf with proper color profile

Adobe word-to-pdf conversion conclusion

From this example we hope that we can save you same time, money and frustration of not getting an accurate first proof. By taking an extra moment to overlook a pdf before sending it to Disc Pro Graphics you can avoid these headaches of the back and forth changes being requested by seeing how your document should print by seeing a pdf immediately.

Best Quality Print from best quality documents

To get the best possible printing quality Disc Pro Graphics can provide you is directly based on your quality of printing file. We are excited to help you produce the best possible files. Adobe’s Creative Suite Provides some of the best all around control over your Professional printing files.  

I have my PDF and ready to get my printing started!