Although the computer age promised a paperless revolution, we are, in many ways, more dependent on paper than ever before. This year alone at Princeton University, students will print more than 8,000,000 pages in the campus computing clusters. Significant sustainability efforts are ramping up, but there are some clever steps that we can individually take within higher education to lessen our dependence upon paper and to help launch a paperless existence.
In 1993, Adobe Systems created the Portable Document Format (.pdf), a standard for the layout of two-dimensional documents that includes the text, fonts, and images in manner that is independent of application software, hardware, and operating systems.
There are many ways to create .pdf documents. The simple rule of thumb is that if you can print a document, you can turn it instead into a .pdf. Acrobat Professional offers a simple mechanism for creating .pdf documents from Office applications such as Word, Excel, or PowerPoint or from any web page or site. But the simplest and fastest way to create .pdf documents is from within Microsoft Office 2007 applications. There, you can simply SAVE AS PDF, an action that takes just seconds.
Of course, many scholarly documents are already available in .pdf format. For example, Princeton students have access to their reserve reading in .pdf format. If you open a .pdf document within Adobe Professional, you can (within the Review and Comment tab) add a “Sticky Note” or highlight any portion of the document.
Members of the University community can also use Acrobat Professional to create digital portfolios of their work. From within Adobe Acrobat Professional, select “Combine Files” and then select the documents that you want to include within your digital portfolio. You can include a cover page that introduces or summarizes the contents.
The quick result is a digital portfolio that will permit you to share any or all of your work in a digital format without any printing. You can tailor portfolios to suit your needs, to share work with an adviser or a potential employer. Here’s a screenshot of what a how a portfolio would appear. You can quickly switch among documents simply by clicking on their filename in the left column.
Princeton seniors working on their theses may be especially interested in another Adobe Professional feature, the ability to combine .pdf documents into a single document that can have its own page numbers, headers, footers, and watermarks.
The Software Depot at the OIT Solutions Center in Frist offers Adobe Professional at a significant discount.
Posted by Lorene Lavora