Converting a Microsoft Word document to a PDF for digital preservation

When converting a Microsoft Word document into a Portable Document Format (PDF) file for digital preservation purposes, there are a few things that should be done. The files should have all of the fonts embedded and the document metadata should be checked. Also, it is best to use PDF/A, a ISO-standardized version of PDF designed for long-term preservation. Below is a list that may assist you in preparing a PDF document.

How to check and edit document properties in Microsoft Word

To check document properties in Microsoft Word 2010:

  1. Select the File tab.
  2. Select Info to view the document properties.
  3. On the right-side panel click on Properties.
  4. Select Advanced Properties.
  5. Make sure that all of the information in the properties window is correct.
  6. Click the File tab to return to your document. Changes are saved automatically.

To check document properties in Microsoft Word 2007:

  1. Click the circular Office button in the upper left corner of Microsoft Word.
  2. Select Prepare.
  3. Select Properties.
  4. Make sure that all of the information in the properties window is correct.
  5. Changes are saved automatically.

To check document properties in Word:mac 2011:

  1. Select File from the top menu.
  2. Select Properties.
  3. Select the Summary tab.
  4. Make sure that all of the information in the window is correct.
  5. Click OK to save the changes and return to your document.

How to embed fonts in Microsoft Word

If the fonts in your document are not embedded and they are not available on the document reader's computer, the program displaying the PDF file (usually Adobe Acrobat Reader) will make a "best guess" as to which fonts to use instead. Sometimes this can create significant differences between your original intent and what readers see on their screens. This is particularly true when using symbol fonts.

To embed fonts in Microsoft Word 2010:

  1. If possible, the document should utilize TrueType fonts.
  2. In the File pull-down menu, click on Options.
  3. Choose Save on the left sidebar.
  4. Check the box next to Embed fonts in the file.
  5. Make sure that Do not embed common system fonts is NOT checked.
  6. Click the OK button.
  7. Save the document.

To embed fonts in Microsoft Word 2007:

  1. If possible, the document should utilize TrueType fonts.
  2. Click the circular Office button in the upper left corner of Microsoft Word.
  3. A new window will display. Click the Word Options button near the bottom right corner.
  4. Choose Save on the left sidebar.
  5. Check the box next to Embed fonts in the file.
  6. Make sure that Do not embed common system fonts is NOT checked.
  7. Click the OK button.
  8. Save the document.

To embed fonts in earlier versions of Microsoft Word for Windows:

  1. If possible, the document should utilize TrueType fonts.
  2. On the Tools menu, choose Options.
  3. Click the Save tab.
  4. Select the Embed TrueType fonts check box.
  5. Save the document.

Embedded fonts Microsoft Word for Mac:

Microsoft Word 2008 and latter on a Mac OS/X computer will automatically embed your fonts while converting your document to a PDF file. Earlier versions of Word for Mac are not able to embed fonts so it is recommended that you do not use them for the final preparation of your document.

How to save a document in PDF/A format using Microsoft Word

To create a PDF/A document using Microsoft Word 2010:

  1. Click File and select Save As.
  2. Click the Options button.
  3. In the Options window select the check box for ISO 19005-1 Compliant (PDF/A).
  4. Click OK to return to the Save As window.
  5. Click the Save button to save the file in PDF/A format.

To create a PDF/A document using Microsoft Word 2007:

  1. Click the circular Office button in the upper left corner of Microsoft Word.
  2. Click Save As and then select PDF or XPS.
  3. The Publish As window is displayed. Click the Options button.
  4. In the Options window, click the check box for ISO 19005-1 Compliant (PDF/A).
  5. Click the OK button to return to the Publish As window.
  6. Click the Publish button to save the PDF/A file.

To create a PDF/A document using Microsoft Word for Mac:

Unfortunately, Microsoft Office for Mac does not include a feature to save as a PDF/A. So, unless you have Adobe Acrobat, installed you will not be able to save a file as a PDF/A. If Adobe Acrobat is unavailable, using a OS X computer that has Adobe Acrobat or a computer that has Microsoft Windows and Office is advisable. However if that is not an option, since the fonts will be embedded if you use Apple's built in PDF generator your document should be adequate. If Adobe Acrobat is available, use the following method on Word:mac 2011:

  1. Click File and select Print.
  2. Click and hold the PDF button on the bottom left of the window until a menu appears.
  3. Select Save as Adobe PDF. A "Save as Adobe PDF" pop-up box will appear.
  4. From the "Adobe PDF Settings" drop down menu, choose PDF/A, PDF/A-1b-2005 (CMYK), or PDF/A-1b-2005 (RGB). Depending on your version of Acrobat, these options may vary slightly. As long as your choice has the PDF/A in it, you should be okay.
  5. Click the Continue button.
  6. Save the document.

Note: If you just hit PDF in the Print Menu or choose Save as PDF, your PDF will be created using Apple's PDF generator which does not include a PDF/A option.

Last Updated: 8/19/13