You'd think that converting to pdf from a mac would be simple… but not so much.
After I wrote and published my very first eBook, which was a feat in and of itself – I discovered something super strange about my new MacBook Air…
Having just recently converted from a Window's based laptop to an Apple Macbook Air – which I absolutely LOVE! I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed the transition from a Window's operating system to the Macbook Air. It makes me feel like a bonafide, professional writer and business owner now, lol!
However, I feel that Apple really needs to step up their game when it comes to certain aspects, like the way that their programs interact with other programs, or don't, as I quickly found out.
Now I know there is a lot of politics that goes on behind the scenes as to why some software companies just don't want to play ball with Apple, but in the long term, the only people they are actually upsetting is the end-user, ie you and me!
So, there I was, happily typing away in my Mac version of Word and then later in Mac Pages, completely unaware of the horror that I was going to experience when I went to convert the document to a PDF.
As anyone that is a seasoned pro with MS Word 2011 in a Windows environment; you'll know how easy it is to convert to PDF, all while retaining ALL formatting – something I was expecting equally from the Mac version.
But no, that wasn't what I experienced at all… I know I sound surprised; please forgive me for my naivety!
Imagine this: You've spent the last 3 months laboring away on your first eBook, making sure it reads right, making sure the correct images align with the words in the document and painstakingly adding hyperlinks where possible so that your avid audience won't have to see horrible, long URL's throughout the text.
You quickly and easily convert the document to PDF simply by choosing “save as” and you choose the file extension as PDF – and here comes mistake number 1 – you don't bother to check ALL the hyperlinks in the book because they all LOOK as they are supposed to, blue with an underline!
It's January 17, 2014 and you're only a week away from launching your eBook to the world! So, you decide to do a few test runs and offer the book at a discounted rate to your fellow Location Rebelers (yes, I invented a new word, just go with it!) to see how it flies… and within 10 minutes of pushing the ‘Publish' button on your fresh WordPress and OptimizePress install, you get an email from a member in Location Rebel saying that while they absolutely LOVE your new eBook, none of the damn hyperlinks work!
Here's mistake number 2 – I had several people review the book for me and my editor as well, but never ONCE did I think to double check the hyperlinks, so I never asked anyone else to either, doh!
This was purely because I assumed that, as in MS Word 2011 for Windows, the hyperlinks would have all copied across as live!! – Yes, that deserves two exclamation points 🙂
So, What's a Gal to Do?
A quick Google search determined that this was a very common occurrence (um, why don't they let you know this when you're converting?! A simple ‘warning box' would suffice) and after a bit of sleuthing around, I found a solution.
The solution was not ideal, but I didn't care, I had to get this sorted asap, and send an updated version to those people who had already purchased!
And with that all figured out, here's what you have to do to ensure that your formatting stays (relatively) the same, including your live hyperlinks when converting to PDF from MS Word 2011 or Pages for Mac:
- Email the Word or Pages document to your Gmail email account
- Don't download your document, but rather open it in Google Docs
- Next, you need to go through and MANUALLY ensure that all the hyperlinks are there and working – test every one of them, including any in your header or footer sections.
- Once you're happy that all is as it should be, click on ‘File' from within Google Docs (not your web browser) and choose the option ‘Download as' and then select PDF document
- Google will then convert your Google Doc to a PDF, with ALL links included, nice and live
The only drawback is that of course, any fancy-schmancy formatting you had, will be lost. Something you and I will just have to cope with when converting to pdf from a mac. Of course, there are other programs you can use, but if you're looking for a simple PDF, this solution will work for you.
I've heard that there are some free PDF online converters that will do this for you too, but those that I found wanted to provide a link back to their website within the PDF – which is fine for a free report or document you're giving away, but NOT for an eBook you're about to sell!
For my next book, I'm going to check out some other options, such as Scrivener for Mac (there is a Windows version too!), it sounds like it's well worth the price tag! [Update: It is worth the price, and I would never attempt to publish a book without it now!]