How To Convert Your Persian Word Document To A PDF File


What is a PDF file?

It is a way you can put a text on your website without having to worry what operating system, browser, and fonts the user has.  All the user has to do is download and install the FREE Adobe Acrobat Reader.  The text can both  be viewed and printed out.  Most people have the Reader  already, but if not, they can get it here:

While the Adobe Acrobat Reader is free, the programs needed to CREATE PDF files are not.  The most well-known is Adobe Acrobat which you can find more info about here: . (You'll find instructions for 2 different ways to make PDF files with this product at the bottom of this page.) Alternatively, you can get an almost free version downloadable from . (Instructions for downloading and using at the bottom of this page.)


Here is an example of a Persian Word document which has been made into a PDF file.


Why can't I just put  a Word doc (text.doc) on my site which the user can view in Word?  Why do I need to convert it to text.pdf?

You certainly CAN do that, especially if you take advantage of the "embed font" utility in later versions of Word.  However, if you have typed your .doc in a font such as Nazanin and you don't embed the font in the .doc or your user does not have your exact font installed on his or her machine, you risk 2 glyphs coming out incorrectly: 1) the final "yeh" may or may not end up in Arabic style with 2 dots underneath and 2) if you've used the [increasingly rare] glyph "heh + yeh" (aka "heh+hamzeh above), it will appear as a "tah marbuta" (i.e. a "heh" with 2 dots above). Font problems aside,  you have to make sure the user has the EXACT same computer set up as you. For example, a Word document written on a WinNT with  Word2000 may end up looking a bit different to someone viewing it on WinXP with Word2002 with one or two letters switched. The user  will assume you don't know how to spell! This is not something that comes up with documents written in English but it happens all the time with Persian. So be warned:  it is better to not post your .doc at all than to post as .doc and not be sure what your user will see!!! Use .pdf format instead!

Why are PDF files a big deal for Persian typography?

Because of the problems in making web pages in Persian.  In the best case scenario, the users may have an operating system and browser which will display (in  HTML) all the Persian characters correctly and running in the proper right-to-left direction.  However, you can't assume they'll have a Persian font on their computer. You have to assume that the best they've got is the Times New Roman font.  (You may think that with a name like that, it must be a Latin script font but it's actually got subsets with all kinds of exotic scripts.) This is the Windows default font and is the font which will kick in if no other font is specified or available. While the Times New Roman font is quite acceptable for conveying information in languages like Persian whose scripts are derived from the Arabic script, the "look" of the font is a bit on the "Arabic" side which may or may not suit the content of your site.  Besides this, the users who are not using a Windows computer may not even get the Times New Roman or any Arabic font at all.  Until the day when all computer users can be expected to have some Persian font installed on their machine (not going to happen soon!!) PDF files are a great way to ensure the users see your text exactly as you meant it to be seen.

The catch

In order to convert your Word document to a PDF file, you have to make sure your font has had embedding permissions enabled.  In some cases the font proprietor will have disabled this utility intentionally.  In the case of the many free, shareware Persian fonts widely distributed on the internet, the embedding permissions have not been disabled intentionally. Rather, the makers simply did not foresee the need for enabling permissions at the time they were making these fonts.  Fortunately, in recent days a whole slew of fonts has just been revamped and embedding enabled. You can find them at Borna Rayaneh.  (If you visit their site, be sure to drop them a thank you note. That was nice of them to do that!)  You will notice they've put a "B" in front of the new improved fonts. That means that if you've just typed a Word document in, for example, Nazanin font, you'll need to download and install the BNazanin font before you can make a PDF file.

We already explained earlier how to download and install  fonts for each version of Windows.  Once you've installed the new "B" font on your computer,  you only need to open up your Word document and do "Select All" and change the font of your document to the new, improved "B" font:

1) Edit > Select All

2) Change font


Now you're ready to convert your Word Document to a PDF file.

Using Adobe Acrobat and Distiller

Since there are so many variables involved, it is impossible to give a set of instructions and imagine you'll be able to follow exactly and achieve success without having to deal with the peculiarities of your own set up.  Therefore, here are two completely different ways of going about it.  Try one way, and if it doesn't work, try the other way.  Be prepared to improvise on certain steps because your setup will surely be slightly different! Once you know how, it only takes about 30 seconds to perform this operation so don't feel bad about having to invest a little time on the first go.


The "Quick & Dirty" method.  Involves "printing" your Doc to your desktop and running it through Distiller so you go from file.doc to file.prn to file.pdf. Instructions HERE.


The Elegant method.  Involves using Acrobat by just hitting buttons while still in Word. Best if you're planning to make a lot of PDF files in a systematic way in  the future. Instructions HERE. (By the way, METHOD TWO comes to you courtesy of the Boise School District in Boise, Idaho whose webmaster, Julia Rice first came to this site to find out how to make the school forms available in Persian for their Persian-speaking families. It is she who, in the best spirit of Internet  collaboration is responsible for bringing about this section on PDF files and generously made all the instructions for METHOD TWO just for you! Hope you'll send her your thanks ( and hope you'll also be inspired by her example to contribute whatever tips & tricks you've learned to this site so others can benefit.)

Using pdf 995

For shareware, it's sure easy to use! Instructions HERE.