How and Why to Create PDF Files

Why Use PDF File Format for the Review Process?

For the submission and review process of most conferences it is strongly recommended to use PDF as file format, as most other formats can cause problems for the reviewers when they want to display or print the document.

If (for instance) a DOC file is used for the review process, and author and reviewer use different versions of Microsoft Word, have different printer settings, or the reviewer does not have the same character sets installed as the author, the file might be displayed inaccurately on the reviewer's screen. Please note: This can also happen with RTF files (in fact another Microsoft format) and many other source formats like TeX or ODT.

Two of the most "reliable" formats are currently PDF (Portable Document Format by Adobe) and PS (Postscript, also by Adobe), and PDF viewers are very common as the Adobe PDF Reader can be downloaded for free. Therefore, PDF as only format for the review process is usually the best choice.

Chairs, please note: If you need to edit the accepted submissions for your proceedings, you can use the final version ("camera-ready copy") option of ConfTool and ask the authors to submit the "source file" (e.g. the Word or the TeX document) and the PDF file.

How to Create a PDF File

Do not be concerned about creating PDF files - it is simpler than most people think. Different options do exist:

Creating PDF Files on Windows

The most popular word processor from Microsoft only does provide a PDF export function since version MS Office 2010. There are several simple (and free) ways to create PDF files on Windows:

  1. Use a free PDF printer driver. We can recommend for instance PDF creator and Free PDF XP. After the installation of either one of these tools, just select the new PDF printer in your print dialog and a PDF file will be written to your hard drive.
  2. Use OpenOffice or LibreOffice respectively to create your submission (or open and convert your Word file). It has a PDF export function already built-in (Menu "File" => "Export as PDF...").
  3. If you must not install any software on your computer and are not too much concerned about the processing of your file by a third party, you may also use an online conversion tool to convert your documents into PDF like Baltsoft PDF ConverterBCL PDF Online, PDF Converter Elite and the very flexible docdroid.

Creating PDF Files on Mac OS X

If you use OS X, the print dialog already offers a PDF export option.

If you use an older Mac OS, please have a look at the online conversion tools mentioned above.

Creating PDF Files on Linux

  1. If you use LaTeX to write your contribution, you will probably know how to create PDF files (either look for "pdflatex" or use "dvips" and "ps2pdf").
  2. OpenOffice is also available for Linux and offers a PDF export function (see above).
  3. For the most common printing system on Linux "CUPS" a CUPS-PDF printer driver is available. However, the installation requires some Linux experience.


Good luck!