Create a PDF Copy of Your Thesis, Dissertation or Report

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NOTE: the end product of the processes outlined below should consist of one PDF file*. DO NOT turn in a separate PDF file for each chapter, or for each item in the dissertation (abstract, etc.). The only extra files permitted are multi-media files, such as audio or visual files. If you have such files, create a folder in which you will place these files and the dissertation text PDF file.

NOTE: if you use a Graduate School template for Microsoft Word, it might have you create two separate Word files (one for pre-text and one for the dissertation text). If you have trouble combining these (e.g., with pagination), they can be converted separately into two PDF files, and then combined using Adobe Acrobat. This procedure will insure that the pagination of the separate files remains after the conversion to PDF.

WARNING: a few students have brought in PDF files in which there were errors that had occurred during the conversion from Word. The solution was to do the conversion again. Please make sure that you check over the final PDF document before you submit it. Do not assume that if the final Word document was fine, the PDF will be fine. In particular, look at charts, graphs, and any graphics files you imported into your document, and look for correct conversions of unusual fonts and diacritical marks such as accents.

What Is PDF?

PDF stands for "Portable Document Format". These files are becoming a popular alternative to offering information as a simple web page because they provide more visual appeal, flexible formatting, and a consistent look to documents whether you are viewing them on a Macintosh, Windows or UNIX workstation. If the information was originally published as part of a newspaper, magazine or other paper publication, the PDF file will usually look and print out exactly like its paper original with the proper fonts, tables, graphs and pictures.

PDF Converter Services
You can skip the steps below by submitting your materials to a company or service which will convert your word processing files into Portable Document Format (PDF) files.

Resource for embedding fonts in PDF documents

Computer labs on campus where Adobe Acrobat is available
Adobe Acrobat is the name of the software package used to convert word processing files into PDF format.

How and where to purchase Adobe Acrobat

The University of Texas at Austin holds a site license for Adobe software products which allows purchase and loading by schools and departments. It therefore can be found loaded in several computer labs across campus. It is important to remember that Adobe Acrobat is not the same as Adobe Acrobat Reader. Acrobat Reader is free and VERY widely available across campus. When inquiring about the software loaded in a computer lab, you will need to make sure the attendant knows you are asking for the full Acrobat software, not just the Reader.

Unfortunately, at this time the license does not allow students to purchase copies of the software for their personal use. You can purchase a copy from the UT Campus Computer Store at academic prices.

Other help available on campus

Instructions on converting word processing files to PDF format

* You can create multiple PDF files and then combine them in Adobe Acrobat. The final end product should be one file. You might want to do this, for example, to insert a landscape graph.

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