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PDF Anything!

December 1st, 2009 by Carol L. Smith
Using PDF995

Contributed by Courtney Hime ’09 and Emily Riggs ’11

The wait for large file downloads is now over! The HelpDesk Downloads page offers a quick and easy way to convert any document into a PDF file. Why is it beneficial to convert a document to a PDF? PDF stands for portable document format. Saving a document as a PDF file embeds all the formatting of your original file in a new document that can be read by anyone who has a copy of Adobe Reader, a free application also available through the HelpDesk Downloads page. As long as your viewers have a current version of Adobe Reader, they will be able to see exactly what you sent them whether or not they have the software with which you created the original document. Therefore, if you’ve created a document in MS Word, but your colleague or friend does not have MS Word, sharing it as a PDF file allows them to view the document. Or, perhaps your document uses a fancy font that isn’t on your recipients’ computers. Because the font is embedded in the PDF file, they can see what the document actually looks like.

Converting larger files to PDF (such as ones including images and graphics), provides another benefit. Converting these documents to PDF condenses the file size and makes them easier to transmit via e-mail. This not only allows for faster exchanges over the internet, but also saves memory on your computer.

The HelpDesk recommends downloading PDF995, which is a freeware tool that facilitates this conversion. The converter is downloaded as a print driver, so you can convert to PDF directly from your print menu dialog box. The video below gives instructions on how to download and use the converter.

Installing and using PDF995 (2.5MB – requires Flash player)

“Save as PDF” in Microsoft Office 2007

Contributed by David Diedriech, Instructional & Learning Services

Another option for saving PDF files exists for users of Office 2007. Microsoft supplies an add-in that allows you to save Word, Excel and PowerPoint files as PDF’s. In order to install this add-in, you will need to download it from Microsoft’s website. You can find it at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=4d951911-3e7e-4ae6-b059-a2e79ed87041&displaylang=en. Once you have downloaded and installed the add-in, you can save any Office document as a PDF by clicking on the Office button in the upper left, scrolling down to Save As, and then selecting “Save as PDF or XPS” from the menu.

Please note: when the Save As dialog box appears, be sure to click on the down arrow next to Save As Type and select PDF.

Assignments Made Easy by Tablet PCs

October 15th, 2009 by Carol L. Smith

Contributed by Emily Riggs, ITAP Communication Consultant

This is the second year that a Hewlett-Packard Tablet PC has been available as an option in DePauw’s student laptop program, and nearly 90 First-Year students purchased one this fall. Those students and the sophomores who bought a Tablet PC last year are finding an assortment of programs and functions that they can utilize for the writable screen on their laptops.

Tablet PCs are valuable tools for all majors and departments at DePauw in a variety of ways. For example, with the program PDF Annotator you can use the pen to highlight key quotes and take written notes in the margins of a PDF article right on the screen. With note-taking software such as DyKnow and OneNote handwritten notes can be easily accessed through handwriting recognition technology and converted into text for easier reading. Despite a student’s major or interest, the Tablet PC can make any reading, writing, or lab assignment easier through the writable screen.

To view the impact Tablet PCs have in classrooms at DePauw University, take a look at the following clip: Teaching with Tablets. For more information about the Tablet PCs log onto: http://www.depauw.edu/univ/fits/TabletPCs/index.asp.

To show students some useful tips and suggestions of what you can do with a Tablet, Michael Gough, Instructional Technologist and Coordinator of Student Technology Support, recently led a workshop on Tablet PCs.  Topics he addressed included functions of the pen tool in software such as OneNote, DyKnow, Windows Journal, PDF Annotator, and MS Office Word documents and presentations. This first workshop was a basic tutorial of the variety of functions and programs of Tablet PCs. Depending upon interest, Gough can schedule more workshops in the future that will focus on more advanced techniques and specific programs.

If you are interested in a workshop, but do not yet own a Tablet PC, do not fear. A few Tablet PCs are available for participants to use during a workshop. For more information about Tablet PCs or future workshops, contact Michael Gough at michaelgough@depauw.edu. If you are interested in purchasing a Tablet PC through the DePauw laptop program, you can find that information on the DePauw Laptop website.