SSC Home Page
Spitzer Science Center
Need Data? Use the Spitzer Heritage Archive (SHA)
How to Make a PDF

How to make a PDF document

Spitzer proposal submission requires that your scientific justification be submitted in PDF format. Towards that end, we provide the following guidelines on creating PDF documents.

In all cases, please remember to display the created pdf file on your screen and make sure the fonts are all correct (especially Greek letters) and easily readable (and not fuzzy).

Starting from Latex

After doing latex mydocument.tex, ordinarily, one next does dvips -o mydocument.dvi. If you do this followed by the subsequent steps below, the document will look awful on the screen, but print ok. This doesn't much help the reviewers of your proposal, who are likely to be reading your proposal on their laptop screens. In order to get the document to look ok on the screen, when you do dvips, you need to get the fonts right, and so you MUST use the -P flag, e.g.:

> dvips -P pdf mydocument.dvi -o

Then continue with the next step below, since now you have a ps file on a nix/linux machine.

Starting from a ps file on a Unix/Linux machine

Use the program "ps2pdf" to convert the file to pdf. (If you can already view postscript files, this conversion script is almost certainly already installed on your system.)

You should explicitly force Acrobat 4-and-later compatible PDF (version 1.3), so you should do :

> ps2pdf13 [options] output.pdf

This will produce the nicest output possible so that it is clearly readable on the most platforms.

If you don't have this version installed, you can fall back on the older version which produces PDF 1.2 output (Acrobat 3-and-later compatible). BUT, this does NOT produce as nice output; it produces blurry pdf on most platforms.

> ps2pdf [options] output.pdf

There is also an interactive web-served version of this at This conversion is not perfect, e.g. does not create the most streamlined product, and the images can look odd on the screen (but ok when printed).

Some users may have "dvipdf" installed. This program uses dvips and ghostscript as the above commands do, but it does it from the dvi file in just one step.

dvipdf input.dvi output.pdf

If on a Windows or Mac (with the Adobe products)

With a copy of Adobe Acrobat (the full version, not the free version), then any application that can print to a printer can also produce a PDF file.

If you DO have a copy of Adobe Acrobat (and you selected the appropriate [default] options when installing it), then from your Windows/Mac application, when you choose print, you can select "Acrobat PDF Writer" as your printer. Do NOT select "print to file", simply select the PDF writer as you would any other real physical printer. It will prompt for a filename. Make sure to put the file where you can find it; at least in Windows, Acrobat uses by default the location where it was the last time when it created a PDF file, not where your source file is.

If on a Windows or Mac (without the Adobe products)

If you do NOT have a copy of Adobe Acrobat (the full version, not just the free Acrobat Reader), you can (a) buy another company's product to produce PDF (there are a LOT out there, just Google it), or (b) produce a ps file through your Windows/Mac application and then convert it to PDF through, again, any of a wide number of freeware or software products. Google to find and download a postscript printer driver if you don't already have one. (there are lots out there.) Open your original document and go to "File"->"Print". Under the "Print" popup menu, select the postscript printer driver, and print to a file. This will create a postscript version of your document. Then google to find and download a free postscript to PDF utility. (Again, there are lots out there.) Follow the installation and configuration instructions carefully. Use this to convert your postscript document to a PDF file. You could also use ps2pdf (possibly involves transferring our ps file to a place where you have ps2pdf installed). This link at UIC describes how to create a ps file from various platforms.

The PDF file may look funny in Adobe Acrobat, but it should print properly. Please double-check that any strange fonts, symbols, and images were converted properly before submitting your proposal.

Mac users: The "Preview" application can be used to convert files to PDF.