Making PDF Files

Jed Margolin

Here is a simplified explanation of PDF.

PDF is a descendant of PostScript. PostScript is used in desktop publishing and was the Killer App for the Apple Macintosh.

Here is an article on PDF on Wikipedia: (You have to be careful when you cite Wikipedia. Anyone can edit Wikipedia and some people use Wikipedia to spread disinformation. This Wikipedia article on PDF looks right to me)

PDF allows you to have fonted text (with an embedded font) and graphic images. An embedded font means the font is included in the file. It does not get the font from the Operating System.

When you start from a word processor (like Microsoft Word) and create a PDF file from it, your words go into the PFD file as fonted text.

But if you scan a document in a scanner, everything is a graphic image (a picture).

Fonted text takes up a great deal less file space than images (pictures) . It also allows the PDF file to be text searchable.  And, you can also cut-and-past text from the PDF file to another program.

You cannot search text that is in a picture. You can cut-and-paste pictures, but you cannot edit the text in pictures other than with picture editing software like PhotoShop.


Here is my article The Road to the Transistor as a Microsoft Word document:  transistor.doc  (62 K Bytes)

Here it is as a PDF file created using CutePDF (more about CutePDF later):  Microsoft Word - transistor.pdf  (73 KBytes)

I printed the article from Microsoft Word and scanned it using a scanner at 300 dpi: Scanned - transistor.pdf  (547 KBytes)

And here I "printed" it from Microsoft Word into Paperport 11SE  and saved it as a PDF file: PaperPort - transistor.pdf  (9.3 MBytes)

This last one is 9.3 MBytes, and it doesn't even look very good.

When you file a document on paper with the Court, the Clerk's Office has no choice but to scan it. When you file electronically, it is your PDF file that goes onto Pacer.

About CutePDF. CutePDF is available as a free program available at (They also have versions that you can pay for.) CutePDF appears to your system as a printer. You "print" to it, and it converts the document to a PDF document.

The downside is that the free version requires a component from Ghostscript:

Ghostscript is an extremely useful program that reads almost every PDF file, even when Adobe Acrobat won't. (It also reads Postscript files.) Ghostscript allows you to convert PDF files into a wide variety of other formats, such as .bmp and .png files. The reason this is useful is that then you can use the .bmp and .png files with OCR software, such as Omnipage. (A tip: when converting a PDF file to .png for OCR, output it as a color image: png256 at 300 dpi). The OCR software will do a better job than if you make a simple B/W file.

Ghostscript is worth getting. It's also free:

Or, you can buy software from Adobe ( as well as from many other companies.

There are two other things you might have to do to make a PDF file for the Court.

1.  You have to number the pages.

If your document comes entirely from a word processor, you can number the pages with the word processor.

However, if your document has been put together from several sources (like several PDF files) it can be a problem.

There is a really great (and free) program for adding numbering to a PDF file: A-PDF Number, available at  (Home page:

You can tell it what page to start at, what number to start with, and where to put the numbering. You can also add a prefix to the number.

2.  You might have to merge PDF files if they come from different sources. An Appendix might contain Exhibits from different sources.

A-PDF makes a product for this called A-PDF Merger ( This one costs money but it isn't much, and it is worth it.

A-PDF Merger also allows you to number the pages, like A-PDF Number.

There is another way to merge PDF files, using Ghostscript, but it's a little complicated. It requires writing a Command File (previously known as a Batch File) and either fiddling with the File Path (assuming there is one in Windows Vista) or putting everything in the Ghostscript /bin directory. Most people would require considerable support to use it, and I cannot provide the support.

Use A-PDF.

Note: I am not associated with A-PDF. I am recommending their products because they do what I need to do, they are easy to use, and they are inexpensive.

Look at the difference between filing on paper and filing electronically.

Paper: doc001-2.pdf (PDF page 73)

Electronically (CM/ECF) doc012-4.pdf (PDF page 10)

This is not a knock on the Clerk's Office. If you file a document on paper the Clerk's Office has no choice but to scan it. If you file electronically, it is your PDF file that goes onto Pacer. If you do a good job creating the PDF file the results will be more readable.

Jed Margolin
Virginia City Highlands, NV
September 25, 2009