Creating Your PDF


“It’s too complicated,” said Joan.  “I’ll never understand how to make my pictures a PDF.  Why can’t this be easier?  It seems like computers are created for engineers.”

Making it Simple

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke

Why is it that so many tasks, that seem simple, become so complex?

Part of the problem comes from the designers of the applications.  If you understand enough to write the application, understanding what is happening is trivial.  If you are a user of the application, you may not understand what is happening at all.  You just know when you do A, B should happen.

What is happening under the hood is “magic.”  But there is good news, we can create PDFs at the press of a button with several applications.

Today we’ll discuss applications that exist on the Windows and Mac computers 99% of us use.  Lightroom, Windows Explorer, and Photo.  Lightroom is arguably the most widely used photo management software.  Windows Explorer is a bundled application with Microsoft Windows.  And Photo is a bundled application with Apple’s OS X.

Lightroom to PDF

To create a PDF in Lightroom has become simple.  Choose your photos, go to the Book tab, select PDF, and click the Export to PDF in the lower-right.

Windows Explorer to PDF

Windows Explorer is the application most of us use to navigate the file system in Windows.  Starting in Windows 10 Microsoft included a right-click menu item Print for JPEGs.  In the Print Pictures dialog, there is an option to choose Microsoft Print to PDF.  Selecting this option provides the options for creating a PDF albeit with limited control.

Windows 7 & 8

If you have Windows 7 or Windows 8 you can download doPDF to add a PDF printer to your system.

OS X Photos to PDF

Starting in El Capitan Apple provided Photos as your image viewer.  To create a PDF, select the images you would like, then select File, Print.  You can choose any format or printer, then click Print.  In the Print overlay dialog, choose the PDF button in the lower-left and Save As PDF…

OS X 10.10 & Earlier

For earlier versions of OS X, the procedure is similar, except you use iPhoto.

Although it once required specialized software, today you can print to a PDF.  On a Windows or Mac computer it IS trivial to create a PDF.  Simply print your images to a PDF printer.

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