PDF and Scanning Information
Last updated: 06/04/08

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SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING  SCANNING:

Most scanners are set for high resolution or "photographic quality", which can make disproportionately huge PDF files.  Due to file size limitations within the ECF system, make sure you scan your documents at the lowest resolution possible, but still leave legible text and you will be able to scan  approximately 80-100 pages into a PDF file under 5 MB.  If you are having documents scanned by a service (such a Kinko's) please instruct them to do the same. 

  1. How do I make a PDF document?

  2. I see I can get Acrobat for free at Adobe's website; why should I pay for it?

  3. I want to copy and paste from a PDF document, but I can't seem to select any text. How do I copy and paste?

  4. I can get a docket sheet, but when I try to retrieve a document I can't read the file—what gives?

  5. I tried to scan my document into PDF but a lot of errors appeared.

  6. My document seems to change when I make it into PDF; what's happening?

  7. Where do I get a PDF creator or converter, such as Adobe?

  8. How can I tell if I already have the ability to create PDFs?

  9. How should I read PDF files? What do I need?

  10. How do I set up Adobe Acrobat for use with ECF and Internet Explorer?

  11. Adobe Acrobat seems to take a long time to start up.

  12. I've filled out an interactive PDF form; how do I lock my changes?

PS01

How do I make a PDF document?

(Apple Macintosh users, please click HERE.)

There are several ways in which you can get a document from a word processing program into the PDF format.

The newer versions of some common word processors include the ability to publish a document to PDF built right into the word-processing software. In WordPerfect 9 and 10, you can click on File and then "Publish to PDF" to convert your WordPerfect file (.wpd) to PDF.  MS-Word (up to version XP) does NOT have this capability), but note that there is a free plug-in available for MS-Word 2007 from Microsoft; once installed, click on the Ribbon, then Save As -> PDF or XPS to convert your Word file (.doc) to PDF.

Adobe, the inventors of the PDF format, can be found at www.adobe.com, where you can find both the free reader version of the software, which can be used to retrieve documents from our e-filing system, and the writer version, which can create documents for posting.

When you've installed Acrobat, you can make PDF files right out of your word-processing software simply by "printing" the document, and selecting the "printer" called "Acrobat PDFWriter" from the drop down list of available printers. That process will actually save a file in PDF format, with a ".pdf" file extension, on your hard drive.

There are many other vendors besides Adobe who provide software to create PDF documents.  Please see our Links page for a partial listing.  Please note that the U.S. District Court does not endorse or recommend any specific PDF software.  Since there are so many different applications, and we could not depict instructions for all, we have chosen to depict all our instructions with reference to Adobe.

SPECIAL NOTE:

Please make sure your PDF writer/scanner/converter/etc. is set to save PDF files for Adobe version 5.0 (or older) compatibility. Please do not set your software for 6.0 or newer as older readers sometimes cannot open these files.

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PS02

I see I can get Acrobat for free at Adobe's website; why should I pay for it?

Adobe does provide a PDF Reader for free on its website and that works fine for viewing documents. However, in order to create and subsequently file PDF documents, you will need to obtain software that can create PDF. See above.

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PS03

I want to copy and paste from a PDF document, but I can't seem to select any text. How do I copy and paste?

You can select, copy and paste text in Acrobat, but you must first select the text tool (look for the T on the toolbar) instead of the hand. Then select the text, and either right-click and choose copy, or use the Acrobat copy icon (a couple of icons to the left of the Text tool on the Acrobat toolbar). In version 5 of Acrobat, there are two text select tools. The outline T, called "Column Select Text Tool" will allow you to pick text from a document without also getting the pleading paper numbers along with the text.

If you cannot select the text, then the PDF was scanned in.  Scanned documents in PDF act just like photographs, so the text within is not recognized as "text", just the image of the text.

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PS04

I can get a docket sheet, but when I try to retrieve a document I couldn't read the file - what's up with that?

You do not need Acrobat software to view a docket sheet, but you do need it to view documents. You might have Acrobat PDF on your machine, but have not connected it to Netscape. The solution--open Netscape: Options, General Preferences, and in the dialog box add application/pdf; extension pdf and indicate the path to the Acrobat.exe file.

Usually re-installing Acrobat reader will do this for you.

If you already have Acrobat, try starting the Acrobat application first, leave it running, and then try to access the document in ECF.

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PS05

I tried to scan my document into PDF but a lot of errors appeared.  What gives?

You are probably trying to scan the document using optical character recognition (OCR)--don't do this!  PDF can handle both text and scanned documents.  It can also take scanned documents and perform OCR on them, turning the image back into editable text; but this process has many problems and should not be done before e-filing them. It is permissible to perform OCR on PDF documents after they are in the e-filing system, since any OCR errors will not placed in the official documents at the court.

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PS06

My document seems to change when I make it into PDF; what's happening?

Adobe calls this "flowing".  Depending on the font, the printer selected, and other characteristics of the context, a document may undergo some changes when it's rendered into PDF.  Using Distiller instead of PDFwriter is supposed to better preserve the document's original appearance, according to Adobe.  Adobe has a good set of technical documents at their web site. There is one that speaks directly to ways in which you may attempt to address flowing problems.

Another work-around is to set your PDF printer as your "Default Printer" before opening the document, then open the document, edit it to correct any format errors, save it and try printing (converting) to PDF again.

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PS07

Where do I get a PDF creator or converter, such as Adobe?

Please see our Links page.

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PS08

How can I tell if I already have the ability to create PDFs?

  1. If you have Corel WordPerfect Version 9 or above, you DO.  All you need do is click on: File => Publish to PDF.

  2. For MS Word 2007, you might. Click on the Ribbon, then click on Save As: if you see the option for PDF or XPS, you have the plug-in already; if not, you should see instructions on how to download and install a free plug-in from the Microsoft website.

  3. For Microsoft Windows computers, if you click on

                       Start => Settings => Printers

    and see a PDF printer listed, such as Acrobat Distiller, PDF writer, PDF995 or any PDF-like listing, you DO.

Click HERE for how to use these.

There are other PDF converters that work other ways (custom programs, email PDF servers, special directories, etc.), please check with your local computer support personnel to see if you have any of these.

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PS09

How should I read PDF files? What do I need?

Make sure you are using the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader to view documents.

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PS10

Set up Adobe Acrobat for use with ECF

Before accessing any documents on the ECF system, please review the following info:

  1. The current version of the ECF system fully supports Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) version 5.5 and 6; when using IE 7, we recommend that you set your security level to Medium (the default, Medium High, may be too restrictive). The ECF Helpdesk currently recommends using IE, but current versions of Netscape, Mozilla, and Firefox are also reported to work.
     
  2. Sometimes the automatic integration between Adobe Acrobat Reader and your browser (Mozilla, Netscape, or IE) will cause difficulty when reading PDF documents within the ECF system, therefore the ECF Helpdesk highly recommends disabling the Adobe/Browser integration of Adobe Acrobat Reader.
    This procedure is for Adobe Acrobat 5.0, 6.0, 7, & 8. If you are using an older version, please update your Adobe Reader:
     
    1. To start Adobe Acrobat Reader, click:  Start=>Programs=>Adobe Acrobat/Reader
      Adobe will open with a blank grey screen.

    2. In Adobe, type Ctrl-K (or click Edit=>Preferences) to bring up the "Preferences" section of Adobe, then select
      Options  (for version 5.0), ...or...
      Internet  (for versions 6.0 through 8).

    3. UNCHECK the box that says "Display PDF in Browser".

    4. Click "OK", but leave Acrobat running. Your computer will be able to display the PDF documents faster if Acrobat is already running.

    5. Netscape, Mozilla, & Firefox browser users only:

      1. Search your hard drives for all copies of nppdf32.dll (probably in the browser subfolders as well as Adobe). Click Start=>Search=>Files or Folders.

      2. When you find them all, change the names of all of them to nppdf32._dll_ (or something) to disable the files. Right-click on the file and select Rename.

    6. Close all browsers, then open a new one and go to http://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov.
    7. Click on "LOGIN HERE", then please enter your PACER login/password (not your ECF login/password).

      1. The PACER login has the format: 2-letters + 4 numbers (such as "ab1234") and has its' own password. It is used only for viewing dockets and retrieving e-filed documents and is usually shared with an entire entity (firm, department, company, etc.)

      2. The ECF login has the format: attorney's last name + some letters and numbers (such as "smithab12") and has its own password. It is used only for submitting case documents and is connected to an individual attorney.

       

      All logins & passwords are case sensitive
      (ABC is not treated the same as abc).

    To associate your ECF login with your PACER login, please click HERE.

    1. One the blue-bar at the top of the screen, click on Reports, then Docket Sheet.

    2. Enter in the case number with the format
      2 digit Year-case Number (YY-NNNNN).
      Example 03-00123.

    3. Click [Submit] to see the entire docket.

    4. Now, when accessing a document, you may then see  choices, such as:  OPEN / SAVE / CANCEL.

    5. Choose SAVE and save the document to anyplace where you can find it later, such as your desktop, hard drive, network, etc.  (You can also try OPEN to open the document directly in Adobe, but this may not work on large files.)

    6. When the download has completed, open Adobe Acrobat Reader and then open the downloaded file from within Adobe.  Remember, you can not open PDF files with WordPerfect, MS-Word, etc.; you must open them with Adobe Acrobat.

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PS11

Adobe Acrobat seems to take a long time to start up.

If you're using Adobe Acrobat, you may be able to improve your start up time by turning off the Acrobat browser check preference.

  1. To start Adobe Acrobat Reader, click:  Start=>Programs=>Adobe Acrobat
    Adobe will open with a blank grey screen.
  2. In Adobe, type Ctrl-K (or click Edit=>Preferences) to bring up the "Preferences" section of Adobe, then select
    Options  (for version 5.0), ...or...
    Internet  (for version 6.0).
  3. UNCHECK the box that says "Check Browser Settings When Starting Acrobat."
  4. Click "OK." The next time you start Adobe Acrobat, you should notice an improvement in start up time.

In general, your computer will be able to display the PDF documents faster if Acrobat is already running. If you intend to view several PDF documents, close the documents but leave Acrobat running when you're done viewing.

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PS12

I've filled out an interactive PDF form; how do I lock my changes?

If you download an interactive PDF form, fill it out, and save a copy of it, your PDF document will still have interactive form boxes, and anyone will be able to edit the information you submitted.

Click here to view an unlocked sample interactive PDF form.

Click here to view a locked sample interactive PDF form.

A locked PDF document will prevent viewers from clicking on the form box and editing your information. To lock your form and save your changes, follow these steps:

If you have Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional version 6 or later, you can use the built-in PDF printing option:

  1. Once you've filled out the form, click: File=>Print
  2. Pull down the menu for Printer Name to Adobe PDF.
  3. Save your file to a location where you'll be able find it when you're ready to file.

If you have Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional version 5, you can use the Acrobat Distiller that came bundled with your software:

  1. Once you've filled out the form, click: File=>Print
  2. Pull down the menu for Printer Name to Acrobat Distiller.
  3. Save your file to a location where you'll be able find it when you're ready to file.

If you only have Adobe Acrobat Reader, you're going to need PDF Writer software to create the finished PDF Document. You can find links to PDF Writer Software here. Follow the software maker's instructions to install, and then you may proceed:

  1. Once you've filled out the form, click: File=>Print
  2. Pull down the menu for Printer Name to the name of your PDF Writer software.  For example, if you're using PDF995, you'd pull down to PDF995 Writer; if you're using CutePDF, you'd pull down to CutePDF Writer.
  3. Save your file to a location where you'll be able find it when you're ready to file.

 

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