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All SFU theses, projects, and extended essays must be converted to PDF/A before being uploaded to the Thesis Registration System. This guide will explain how to save your document in PDF/A format using Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat Pro, and LaTeX.
Need help? Contact the Assistant for Theses
Save as PDF/A in Word
For SFU students, staff, and faculty, MS Word is available on computers in labs on all three campuses.
All current SFU students, staff, and faculty are also eligible to install Microsoft 365 (including Word) for free on up to 5 individual-use devices, such as laptop, tablet, or smartphone. See SFU IT Software Catalogue - Microsoft 365 for more information and software downloads.
Microsoft Word for Windows
Microsoft Word for Windows gives users the option to save their document as a PDF/A using the following steps:
Microsoft Word for Mac
There is no option to save as PDF/A using Microsoft Word for Mac. Instead, save the document as PDF, then follow the steps below to convert PDF to PDF/A using Adobe Acrobat Pro.
Save as PDF/A for LaTeX users
There is no option to save as PDF/A using LaTeX. Instead, save the document as PDF, then follow the steps below to convert PDF to PDF/A using Adobe Acrobat Pro.
Convert PDF to PDF/A using Adobe Acrobat Pro
Note: Saving to PDF/A requires the Pro version of Adobe Acrobat.
For SFU students, staff, and faculty, Adobe Acrobat Pro is available on computers in labs on all three campuses. Remote access to computer lab software is also available via remote desktop (requires an SFU VPN). See SFU IT - Remote access for instructions on how to access remote desktop. In the event that you cannot get access via remote desktop, please Contact the Assistant for Theses.
Free download of Adobe software is also available to verified SFU staff and faculty, which may include teaching assistants, sessionals, and research assistants. See Adobe for faculty, staff and departments for more information (page requires SFU log-in to view).
Adobe Acrobat Pro allows Windows and Mac users to convert PDF documents to PDF/A using the following steps:
Sometimes errors will occur when saving as PDF/A, including changes to formatting, fonts, images, etc. Students must review their file to check that everything displays as desired.
If you encounter issues with your document formatting or the conversion process when saving as PDF/A, review the troubleshooting tips below or Contact the Assistant for Theses.
Images not rendering correctly?
Saving as PDF/A with MS Word:
- Try saving as PDF, then converting to PDF/A using Adobe Acrobat Pro rather than saving as PDF/A directly from the Word document.
- Problems with image conversion caused by cross referencing:
- Remove the cross referencing by highlighting the text of the affected section, then use keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+F9 (for Windows users) or Command+6 (for Mac users). This should remove problematic cross referencing, so when Word document is saved as PDF/A following the instructions above the images will display correctly.
Error message when converting from PDF to PDF/A?
Converting to PDF/A with Adobe Acrobat Pro:
- When converting from PDF to PDF/A, instead of using the "Save as" option, go to "Tools" and in the "Protect & Standardize" section, select "Print Production". In the right hand menu, click on "Preflight". In the "Profiles" tab of the Preflight window, use the "PDF/A" drop-down (Windows) or "PDF/A compliance" drop-down (Mac) to select "Convert to PDF/A-1b". Then click on "Analyze and fix". Once the PDF/A version has been generated, check the entire file to make sure everything appears correctly.