Saving Microsoft Word document to PDF creates multiple files

I had a client who showed me that when she saved Microsoft Word documents to PDF it created multiple files. I had never seen this behavior before. It didn’t matter how she saved it to PDF it still had the issue.

It turns out that in her document she had a page that was in a different orientation than the other pages. In her document she had a mix of portrait and landscape orientation. The files were being created at the pages where the orientation changed from portrait to landscape. Since those pages were being used for chart purposes it couldn’t be changed.

I did some research and apparently Apple licensed the PDF engine from Adobe and this is the expected behavior. So of course one option would be to buy Adobe Professional to make PDF’s but most people won’t do that. Another option is to use Preview and move the thumbnail from one pdf file to another. This will allow you to insert the PDF with the different orientation into the file.

You can read more about this in Apples helpful article Combining PDF documents using Preview.

To me this is a remarkable way that Apple has saved its customer money. Instead of having to buy and master an expensive Adobe application, they have already thought about what people are trying to accomplish and support this.

It also seems a lost opportunity for Microsoft here. When Microsoft word had to split the file into separate pieces, it could have tried to make the experience easier for its users. It could have popped up a dialog box that offered to increase the Word Functionality for a small price. I bet lots of people would have upgraded it. It could have directed people to a webpage that offered to help them upgrade their application or use the webpage to save to a PDF.

That is the thing about Microsoft that I dislike. When you use their software you never feel that they are on your side. As much as Microsoft tells you they try to make things easy for its customers, everything with Microsoft seems to have a gotcha/glitch. I am not looking for perfection, but many people have problems with doing the basic Microsoft functions like saving or printing. It doesn’t help when there are issues like this.

There should never be a problem with saving that an application can’t handle gracefully. If Microsoft didn’t know what to do or what the user was trying to do, they could have even offered a phone number to call to understand an additional dialog box that was presented. Did Microsoft really believe that having a file split up in pieces was what they thought the user wanted? Is it what you would have wanted when you saved a file to PDF?

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