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This week's assignment is a little different. Last week's assignment was to search for information To read such documents you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader (which you probably already have on your computer, but is available for free from The advantage of pdf format documents is that they can be used with any computer based platform, Mac, Unix, Linux and Windows with appropriate software. Many agencies and journals now want documents submitted to them in pdf format, including the NSF (National Science Foundation, the major scientific granting agency of the federal government). This week's assignment is to take any of your lab reports and convert it to pdf format. The lab report must contain at least one table and at least one figure. If you need help scanning the figure for this assignment (if you cannot cut and paste it), please see your instructor who will help you scan the figure). Some word processing programs such as WordPerfect 9 and higher have an option under "File" for "Publish to pdf". In WordPerfect 9 and above arrange your report as you would like it to appear. Save your word processing file!! When you are satisfied, under the File Menu select the "Publish to pdf" option. Save the file to a floppy disk. Although the computers in the Chemistry computer Lab have WordPerfect9 on them, the "Publish to PDF" option no longer works correctly due to the type of installation necessary to prevent students from downloading unwanted programs onto the computers. These comnputers can still be used to create pdf documents, however. On all of the computers, a program called CutePDF Writer is installed. This program is installed as a printer driver. Once you have the document the way you want it to look and you have saved the word processing file (or any oher format that allows you to choose a printer), you choose CutePDF Writer as the printer, and save the document as a pdf file. CutePDF Writer is a free program. There are other free programs as well for creating pdf files. Two which are free and function well that are described here, both function as a printer driver. To publish a document in pdf format, you change the selected printer to the desired program in the printer selction box in each program. They work from within any Windows program that I have tried in Windows 98, or Windows XP.

The first program is CutePDF Writer, and is available for download from This program is fully functional and ad-free. You will need to download both the free CutePDF Writer file and the free converter, usually a version of Gnu Ghostscript. You will then need to install both files which are both executables. Installation should be trouble free. Restart your computer, and you are ready to go.

The second program is PDF995. It is free and available for download from You will need to download the PDF995 Printer Driver and the Free converter. This program every time you use it will open a browser window for the PDF995 software. To remove this, you can purchase a "key" for the rather reasonable price of $9.95.

The disadvantage to both CutePDF and PDF995 is that any internet links that your document contains will not be active. For these to be active you'd need to purchase their full versions.

Other pdf editing software is also available at both these sites.

The other option, is, of course, the fully functional Adobe Acrobat, but it is rather steeply priced at around $500 (for those of us without student discounts). Adobe Acrobat is installed on some computers around campus, but not on the Chemistry Computer Lab computers.

Once you are done creating your pdf file, make sure to look at the lab report in pdf format using Adobe Acrobat Reader, since occasionally when publishing to pdf slight changes occur. You may have to adjust the word processor file to get the exact look you want in pdf format. (i.e. occasionally an extra space may have to be inserted or deleted to get things on the page properly.)The pdf file is not editable, since pdf files are essentially image files. If you need to modify your pdf file, you will have to change your word processing file and use the "Publish to pdf" option again or the changing to the printer driver to CutePDF (or other pdf creation program) again to make a new pdf file. Turn in the disk (not a printout of the pdf file) to your instructor on the due date. You will get your disk back after the assignment has been graded.