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Sending Trees by E-mail

The best way to send PediTree output in electronic form whilst preserving the layout is to make a Portable Document Format (PDF) file from it and send that. How? See below.

A PDF file can be displayed by using a suitable program. The standard program for this is Adobe Acrobat Reader, often pre-installed on a new computer. Otherwise, it is readily available at no cost with some purchased applications, or by download from There are alternatives, one of which is PDF-XChange Viewer 2.0, to be described below.

Producing PDF Files

There are several different ways to produce a PDF file from PediTree output without spending much money. They all involve installing a Windows Printer-driver that either produces a PDF file as output or an intermediate file that can be converted to the PDF form.

Windows 10 now includes Microsoft Print to PDF that you can select as a printer. This works perfectly well for PediTree Reports, Tables and Trees, either in Portrait or Landscape format. The default paper size is A4, but other sizes can be selected.

The writer uses PDFCreator. This appears as a Windows printer called (guess what) PDFCreator. If you select this printer to 'print' a Tree or other chart in the usual way, then on choosing Save you are prompted for a filename for the PDF output. The result is then automatically displayed. Here is a small two-page example.

Other software suggested by contributors to the PUG-L mailing-list is:

  • PDF995 from (small licence fee to stop nagging)
  • PDFill from (free; small cost for additional PDF editor)
  • Use a Windows printer-driver to produce a PostScript output file, such as the HP1200PS driver supplied with most versions of Windows. Then use Acrobat Distiller (expensive) or Ghostscript (free from to convert the PostScript file to PDF. (This is effectively what PDFCreator does in one step, but is more complicated to use.)

Other Uses of Print to PDF

As well as providing files for easy sharing, printing to PDF provides a way to check the layout of a proposed Table or Tree without actually spending ink and paper. You can simply view the result on-screen and then make changes if needed.

It is also possible to produce PDF files for large-format printing. How would you like a big Tree on A0 paper (841 x 1189mm)? Set that paper-size in your PDF printer, produce the file and take it to a local shop that can print it for you. That is, after you have checked it on-screen first, of course.

Installing PDF Creator

This can be downloaded from There are two versions, one free, the other (PDFCreator Plus) costs a small amount (£3.29 in December 2014). The free version attempts to install a program that serves adverts during the installation process; this advert-server is often intercepted by anti-virus software as a Potentially Unwanted Program (PUP). I recommend that you pay for the ad-free Plus version. You will be asked for contact details, including name, address and telephone number. The web-sites privacy statement says that these will not be passed on to others without your explicit permission.

After payment, an email will provide a link to download the installer (c. 26Mb) and a password that is needed during installation. After download, run the installer, pasting in your password as requested. You will be asked to choose some installation options: I suggest you deselect PDF Architect, as this takes a long time to download and install. You can always change your mind about this at a later date.

PDF-XChange Viewer 2.0

This is a free alternative to Adobe Reader, which is somewhat faster to load and display your files. I use this myself. It can be downloaded from

There is a note saying that this has been discontinued and replaced by another product (which I haven't tried). However, you can still download PDF-XChange Viewer and use it.

This is smaller and less troublesome in many ways than my previous recommendation (Foxit Reader). It doesn't get involved with cloud storage and has a nice clean interface.

faq/makepdf.txt · Last modified: 2021/02/19 18:41 by Colin Liebenrood

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