How to Make a PDF File From a Book
By Brian Hudson
Making PDF copies of your print books can be a valuable, if time-consuming, process. The result will be a readable, portable replica of the book that you can access on any computer with the Adobe Acrobat Reader. These instructions were written with Adobe Acrobat 9. While basic Acrobat functions have remained consistent, you will want to have your versions' software documentation on hand if you are using an older or newer Acrobat version.
Scan each page of your book into the image-processing software with the flatbed scanner, in a quality of at least 300dpi. Be sure that each page lays flat against the scanner bed to avoid shadow or distortion in the scanned image.
Post-process each page with the image-processing software. Make sure that each page is of a uniform height and width; rotate pages, if needed, to perfect their vertical and horizontal orientation, and filter each image for contrast, tone and hue if necessary. (Consult your software's documentation for exact instructions.)
Save each page in an identical Acrobat-compatible image format, such as JPG, BMP or TIF. Begin the filename with a 3-digit page number, e.g. "001-BookTitle.jpg," "002-BookTitle.jpg," etc.
Click on "Combine" under the File menu in Acrobat, and then choose "Merge Files Into a Single PDF." (Alternately, you can click the "Combine" button on the toolbar and select "Merge Files Into a Single PDF.")
Click "Add Files" in the Combine window and navigate to the folder where you have stored your scanned pages. Select all the files and click "Add."
Make sure the files are sorted by filename in the Combine window. If you named them properly earlier, they should be in page order (001, 002, 003, etc.).
Click "Create." Acrobat will process your files and then prompt you to save the created files.
- Acrobat gives you the option to scan pages directly into a PDF file; this is quicker, but does not allow you to post-process the page image.
Brian Hudson is an educator and freelance writer living in Dearborn, Mich. He has been freelancing since 1998, and in that time he has written for "DRAGON Magazine," the Role-Playing Game Association, MacFarland Publishing, and Blue Bike Books. He holds a Master of Arts in English language and literature from Central Michigan University.