PDF In-Depth

Mad Web Skills with PDF -- Create a PDF from Internet Explorer

About the Author

David Fishel

In 1991, David joined the United States Department of Justice as an Honors Attorney in the Environmental Enforcement Section of the Environment and Natural Resources Division. While at DOJ, he engaged in large-scale, scorched earth civil litigation across the spectrum of...  More



I spend a lot of time on various forms of transportation that I'm not piloting. I like to take something to read, such as an article off the Web, but I'm not so wired that I have non-stop wireless net access, and I don't always carry a computer anyway. So I print stuff. I've found that just printing from Internet Explorer yields some funky results -- the most common being page width problems that shave the last few words off of each line. Printing a PDF of an article works much better. If you carry a Palm or other PDA, that works too -- PDF docs display nicely on such devices.

Sometimes I also like to make a collection of articles to read -- sort of a custom magazine for the Metro. The fastest way to do this is using Acrobat and Internet Explorer. Acrobat allows you to do some other amazing things on the Web, but today, we'll focus on one page at a time and save the mad hacker skills for a later post.

Once again, as with all operations that generate or create a PDF, you must have a flavor of Acrobat (Standard, Pro) above and beyond the free Reader. I haven't found any of the other mainstream PDF creation applications such as JAWS PDF Creator and NitroPDF that have these web abilities. If you find one that does, let me know.

Using Internet Explorer and Acrobat -- Capturing the Web One Page At a Time

If you have both Acrobat 7 and Internet Explorer on your (Windows) computer, Acrobat should have installed a "Create PDF" button on your Explorer toolbar, just as it did in Word and the other MS Office applications. When you are at the page you want in Internet Explorer, hit the "Create PDF" button and select "Convert web page to PDF." You will next get a Save dialog that gives you the opportunity to pick a name and place for your new file. For these quick-reading articles, I just put them on the desktop for easy access.

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