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Frequently Asked Questions

Introduction

This is a list of frequently asked questions about the Fast PDF service. If there's a question (or more importantly, an answer) that you'd like us to add, just email us at help@fastpdf.com.

General Questions

Conversion Questions

Other Services


General Questions

  What is Fast PDF?

Fast PDF is a web based service that provides an easy way to convert Microsoft Word (and files in a few other formats) to PDF files. Fast PDF does not require you to install any new software or change your system configurations to use the service - you do everything right through your browser.

  Why should I use PDF files?

PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file format designed to solve the problem of transporting a file from one software application to another. Your PDF document will look the way you want it to - regardless of the type of computer or operating system the person you're sharing it with has installed. In addition, PDF files are very useful when you don't want the person you're sharing with to change the contents of your document (such as, when it's an invoice, receipt, or other legal document).

  If I upload a document to Fast PDF, what will happen to my file? Will you respect my privacy?

Your input file passes through our automated process that converts it to a PDF file. We keep the PDF file on our system for a few days so that you can pick it up at your convenience, but after that, we completely delete your document from our system. We absolutely respect your privacy - we do not even look at your documents unless you give us explicit permission to do so (for example, to debug a problem having to do with your document). Please read our privacy policy for more details.

Conversion Questions

  I just submitted my file to be converted, what now?

Hang tight, we're on it! Your document gets fed into our automated conversion system as soon as you submit it, and the conversion process usually starts immediately.

We display a "progress bar" on the conversion web page to give you an estimate of how long the conversion will take. This is usually fairly accurate, but things may take longer if there are a lot of docs in the system ahead of yours.

When the conversion is finished, the web page displays a "pickup" button that lets you get the results. Or, if something went wrong (for example, if the input document is password-protected, and we can't open it), the page displays a message telling you of the problem.

  How do I save the PDF to my computer?

After converting your document to a PDF, the Fast PDF service will display a "download" button that you can use to download your document. Click on the link and the document should open. Once it has opened - from the "File" menu select "Save As." Navigate to where you would like to store the document on your computer. Then click "Save."

  What fonts are supported?

The Fast PDF converter supports the standard fonts that come shipped with Word (Arial, Book Antiqua, Bookman Old Style, Century Gothic, Comic Sans MS, Courier, Courier New, Garamond, Impact, Marlett, Monotype Corsiva, Symbol, Tahoma, Times New Roman, Trebuchet MS, Verdana, Webdings, WingDings). If you make use of a font the system doesn't yet support, it will either substitute a similar font (if it can), or else will use small rectangles in place of characters as if you'd opened your document in Word on a computer lacking those fonts.

If you want to make sure your document gets converted with all its fonts intact, you should do what's known as "embedding the fonts you use into your document" before submitting your document to our converter. Exact details of how to do this depends on your version of Word, but the general idea is to:

  • Open your doc in Word,
  • Go to ToolsOptions and click on the "Save" tab.
  • You should see a checkbox marked "Embed TrueType Fonts" - check it.
  • Save your document again.

Then submit the doc to us.

  I want to convert a PDF to a Microsoft Word document or HTML - do you provide this service?

Alas, no. For that, you'll probably have to obtain and use some serious PDF-manipulation software. Our recommendations include either Adobe's offerings, or the very good tools provided by Software995 (at www.pdf995.com).

  Can I password protect or encrypt the PDF file that's generated?

Sorry, no. But we're thinking of adding that feature later.

  I have a Microsoft Word document that's very large, can I convert it?

The Fast PDF service only accepts documents up to about 100MB. If your document is larger than that, you might try splitting it into several smaller documents and submitting them separately. We will be relaxing this restriction, but will not be converting exceptionally large documents for free. They can take awhile to convert, and slow down the service for other users.

  I'd like to insert hyperlinks into my PDF file, can Fast PDF do this?

No - we aim only to be print-compatible. But we're thinking of adding this feature at a future date.

  When I view my PDF on my screen it looks blurry, what's happening?

Fast PDF optimizes fonts for printing, and printers have a different resolution than computer screens. Some fonts work well at both resolutions, but some don't. We try to upgrade the fonts (and the font-handling software...) on our servers to higher quality versions as we can, so that conversion results will look as good as we can arrange, both when printed and when displayed on the screen.

  The page breaks in the PDF file don't match the ones in my Word document. What's wrong?

A few of our users have this problem. Sometimes it is caused by differing versions of Word being used, but most often is either because the fonts we're using don't match yours in all particulars, or because we don't have a font you're using. In the latter case, we sometimes substitute another font that's similar but not identical to the one you've used - and if the substituted font is a smidgie bigger or smaller, the effect can sometimes be enough to cause a page to break a line away from where you thought it would.

If you want to make sure your document gets converted with all its fonts intact (thus taking care of almost all page-break problems), you should do what's known as "embedding the fonts you use into your document" before submitting your document to our converter. Exact details of how to do this depends on your version of Word, but the general idea is to:

  • Open your doc in Word,
  • Go to ToolsOptions and click on the "Save" tab.
  • You should see a checkbox marked "Embed TrueType Fonts" - check it.
  • Save your document again.

Then submit the doc to us.

If the exact page break locations are important for your document, and if the font-embedding approach doesn't work, you might try visiting our workaround page. The workaround listed there is a somewhat more complicated process than simply submitting your document, but is virtually guaranteed to work.

Other Services

  Can I link from my website to Fast PDF?

Absolutely! Just add link text similar to the following to your website:
<a href="http://www.fastpdf.com">Fast PDF: Microsoft Word to PDF Conversions</a>
As long as the link attributes FastPDF, we're happy.

  Can I purchase a license to run Fast PDF on my own server?

No. At this time, Fast PDF is only offered as a service - we do not sell source code licenses.


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