In this column we're going to take a look at using Jaws PDF Creator 2.11. If you are ready to create your own PDFs, this tutorial will show you how to get up and running in no time.
Before getting started, you will need to complete the free online registration — you will be sent a code that converts the trial version of Jaws 2.11 offered on the August 2003 PC World magazine cover CD into the full version. The process is quite simple: connect to the Internet, put in PC World CD 1 and go to the Jaws section. Copy the coupon number on the page (highlight it with your cursor and select
In testing, the entire process took about two to three minutes from loading the CD until the code appeared in the inbox. Always ensure you have entered a correct e-mail address, and remember to back up your copy of the serial number for times when you want to reinstall the program.
Once you have the code, run the Jaws 2.11 installation and enter the number when prompted. You should now have your own full-version PDF creation tool worth over $150. If you install the program without the code, Jaws will run as a trial version. All PDFs created with the trial version will have a large, and rather ugly, watermark.
Like many PDF tools, Jaws is installed as a printer driver. This means that you create PDFs by using the Print command from any application on your PC. At first, the process may seem a little puzzling, but the huge advantage of the technique is that any program on your system that has a Print command will now be able to create PDFs in a flash. There is no need to fiddle with exporting, copying or pasting between programs.
Start by running an application such as Microsoft Word, your Web browser or other similar program. Now open a document for testing (or visit a Web site if you are using a browser). Select Print from the program’s menu to open the print window. In the printer Name menu, select ‘Jaws PDF Creator’ from the list. Click OK, then select a file name and location. A few seconds later the PDF will be created.
Important: you may be tempted to check the ‘Print to file’ button. Do not select this option. It is confusing, but selecting this box will not create a PDF.
There is a second way to create PDFs, but first you will need to convert your files to the EPS format. This is a little more specialised and most users probably won’t choose this option, so it won’t be covered here. For more information, head to the 80-page manual included with the installation.
At first glance, it may seem that there is no way to adjust the PDF settings. The items installed in the Start menu give no hint of a way to configure Jaws. However, after some digging you will find many different places to adjust the PDF settings. To make changes to a document you are about to turn into a PDF, follow the process above by selecting Print-Jaws PDF Creator. In this window, click the button labelled Properties (see FIGURE 1). The layout of the next window will vary depending on your version of Windows: Windows 9x users will need to click through the tabs to adjust various settings; XP users should click the Advanced button and change the options in the next window.
To change the default settings each time a PDF is created, head to the Control Panel, and open Printers or Printers and Faxes (depending on your version of Windows). Right-click Jaws PDF Creator and select Properties from the menu. XP users will need to click the General tab, then Printer Preferences, followed by the Layout tab, and finally the Advanced button. Changes you make here will apply to all PDF documents as the default setting.
Depending on your needs, most settings can be left as they were installed. The only exception is the resolution option which is located under the Device Settings (WinXP) or Device Options (Win9x) tab. 600dpi is far too high for most uses — files will be unnecessarily large and will open more slowly. For displaying on-screen, select 72dpi or, for printing purposes, choose 300dpi.
One gotcha: in the Control Panel, you will also see an icon labelled ‘Jaws PDF Creator’. This option is for using the EPS technique briefly mentioned earlier. It does not alter the settings for PDFs created via the Print command.
Finally, don’t forget to install Acrobat Reader to view your PDF.