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Several people have asked me to take a bunch of files and make an ebook for them. This is a breakdown of the process (a simple ebook).
Step 1: Organize your directory
It’s not necessary, but it is very convenient, to make a separate directory with copies of all the files you need in it. So, organize your directory and your files within.
Make sure all your files have file names that you are okay with people seeing. That is, don’t have any typos in the file names and make the names meaningful to your readers. Since this is example is on how to compile an ebook, my file names are related to the order the files need to be in when the book is finished.
The file names are directly used as bookmarks in your final PDF file.
Step 2: Convert all your files to PDFs
Strictly speaking, this is not necessary. Acrobat can do bulk converts. However, I like to do it separately. I run into less bugs that way. I don’t encounter memory problems on my system, and I have more control.
Step 3: Start combining the files
Highlight all the files you want to combine into your ebook. Don’t highlight extra files. Once the files are selected, hit the right mouse button and select “Combine supported files in Acrobat.”
All the files will be highlighted in the Combine files dialog box (above). Click somewhere to unselect the files. Use the Move Up and Move Down buttons (bottom left of the dialog box) to move the files into the correct order.
Make sure the files are in the correct order. It is much easier to fix the order now than it is to do so later.
Click on Options.Make sure “Always add bookmarks to Adobe PDF” is enabled and hit OK. This option ensures that the file names are automatically added as bookmarks to your final PDF. This saves a lot of typing. This is why the file names should be spelled correctly and have meaning to the user.
Once you’ve hit ok, you’ll go back to the Combine Files dialog box (above). On the bottom right side are three icons for paper. Each icon is a different size. Select the file size you are after in your final PDF. You can always go down in size, but you can’t go back up, so as long as your system can handle it, I suggest selecting the largest file size.
Hit combine files.
Acrobat combines the files and turns the Acrobat icon into a green check mark after each file is successfully added.
Once the files are done, you’ll be prompted for a file name. Give the file a name and save it. The default name is Binder1.PDF.
Step 4: Properties
Open the PDF and alter the file’s properties. Select Properties from the File Menu. Give the file a title and your author name. Insert a subject and keywords. You can add additional metadata if you wish. All of the information you put in on this screen is metadata. It’s data about data. This data is what the search engines use to categorize your document on the web.
Once you’ve filled out the author and title in the Description tab, click on the Initial View tab. The initial view tab controls what your readers see when they first open the PDF file. Will they see a file that shows the whole page or shows a zoomed in view? Will the bookmarks be there? How many pages of the ebook will be displayed? I like the options of Bookmarks Panel and Page, Single Page, and Fit Page. This ebook opened this way for you. If you do not like these options, change them. Don’t worry. The reader can change the view to whatever is easiest for him or her.
Once you’ve changed the properties of the document, save the file. The changes will not stay with the document unless you hit save. You can click on the little diskette icon or select Save from the File menu.
Step 5: Check your bookmarks
Open your PDF and look at the bookmarks. Are they all spelled correctly? If a bookmark is spelled incorrectly or has a typo, select the bad bookmark and either hit F2 or select Rename after you hit the right mouse button. Change the bookmark.
If you want to create additional bookmarks, move your cursor to where the new bookmark should be. Then, click on the new bookmark icon. It is a bookmark icon with a little sun on the top right. Give the bookmark a name and move it to the correct position in your list.
Remember to save the file or you will lose your new bookmarks.
Step 6: Add page numbers
Go to the Document menu and select Add from Header & Footer.
The Add Header and Footer Dialog Box comes up. Click in the area you want the page numbers to show up. (I like bottom center.) Then click on the Insert Page Number button. Hit Ok. You’ll see a progress bar showing “Updating” and when Acrobat is done, you’ll have page numbers.
Remember to hit Save or your changes will be lost.
Gwen Nicodemus owns and operates Shiny Newts, LLC. Shiny Newts solves technical and documentation problems for its customers in a timely, professional manner–often going “above and beyond”–by providing custom services and pre-packaged services. Visit http://www.ShinyNewts.com to watch videos on how to use Joomla, Photoshop, and Word or to read Gwen’s ebook, “Write a Marketing Plan by Filling in the Blanks.”