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How To Make A PDF eBook

by PotPieGirl on June 5, 2009 · 49 comments

How To Create A PDF Ebook For Free -

So you want to make an ebook, do ya?  That is great!  Ebooks and pdf reports are great to give away to help build your email list or to sell for some online profits.  Info products online are big business and learning how to make a document into a pdf report with clickable links is super important to the success of your online business.  Let’s take a minute today to learn how to create a document and convert it into a pdf report – in simple PotPieGirl steps (yes, with pictures) and then we’ll learn how to sell an ebook with PayPal.

How To Make An eBook – The Free and Easy Way

I have tried quite a few pdf converts in my time, but I have finally settled in on a VERY easy (and free) way to make my pdf reports.  I have to give a big thanks to Chris Kellum for pointing this out to me, too.  Thanks, Chris! (can’t forget my manners, now can I?)

Let’s Make an eBook

Ok…. know how everyone says to start by creating your document in Word?  Well don’t do that.  Trust me on this.  You’ll see why in a moment.

Go to OpenOffice.org and download Open Office for free.  Open Office is kinda like MicroSoft Office.  It has a word processor like Word and it is very similar to use.

I know, I know… you are wondering why you have to download ANOTHER word processor when you already have one….  But trust me on this one, ok?

So, go to OpenOffice.org and click the “I want to download OpenOffice.org” button.  That will open up a green box that says “Download Now” – so click that and start the download.

download open office to make a pdf

Go ahead and let it download and then install it. It’s all pretty straight-forward. If you have any issues, just check at their site.

Writing Your eBook

Once Open Office is installed on your computer, you can go to your Start menu and click to open OpenOffice.org. You want to create a text document, so choose that.


The program in Open Office that makes the text documents is called Writer – and it is really, really similar to Word.

Now, you write…or well, you type =)

I’m sure you have a terrific idea already for your digital ebook, so type away. Go ahead and add images or screen shots if you’d like – whatever you want and need to make your ebook complete.

As for putting links in your ebook….

This is one thing I LOVE about Open Office – all the links WILL work.  You don’t have to only make http:// type straight url links – you can make anchor text links, too.  They will all “take” and work great if you make your pdf ebook with Open Office.

How To Convert Your Document Into a PDF

This is the other thing I love about Open Office Writer.  Look at the top of your Writer screen….see that little PDF button?  Yep, you guessed it, when you are ready to convert your document into a PDF, all you do is click that.


Once you click that, Open Office Writer will ask you to give the pdf a file name. Do that and click “save”. (Note: I always choose to save my PDFs to my desktop so I can easily find them right after creation. I tend to lose things on my computer, so this trick has really helped me when working on PDF ebooks.)

After clicking “save” you will see Open Office do it’s thing and convert your document into a PDF file. As soon as it’s finished, you will find your new pdf report sitting right there on your desktop (if you save it to your desk top like I do)


Just double click the pdf on your desktop and you can read your eBook!

Now, THAT was easy, wasn’t it?

Common Questions About Making an eBook PDF

Q.  What if there are errors in my PDF eBook?

A. NO PROBLEM!  You can go back in to your Writer document and correct, add, or whatever you want to do and then convert it into a PDF all over again.

Q.  Is my original Writer document gone after I convert it into a pdf?

A.  Nope – it’s all still there.  You can work on the Writer document as much as you want, and convert it into a PDF as many times as you want. Don’t forget to save your Writer document, too!

Creating a PDF ebook or report is very, very simple to do.  Try it – I bet you’ll love how easy it is, too.  It’s really great when you don’t have to download and install a separate PDF converter – especially one that doesn’t convert your links properly.  This process is all-in-one and works like a charm…..AND, the price isn’t bad either (free).

Next post: How To Sell an eBook with PayPal

Learn More:

  • How to Make Covers and Images for your eBook (video Lesson)
  • How To Create, Market, and Deliver your eBooks (video Lesson)


    Sugar June 5, 2009 at 9:12 am

    You make it all so easy to understand. thank you

    antbanks June 5, 2009 at 11:17 am

    what about security settings for the pdf. Are these free giveaway ebooks or what? thanxs

    Dennis Edell June 5, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    I need to resubscribe to your blog updates via email – why is this link not on site?

    Dennis Edell June 5, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Forgot to subscribe to comments. :)

    Dennis Edells last blog post..I’m Unsubscribing from Your Blog – Don’t Panic!

    Sergey June 5, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Thank you, Jennifer. Though there is nothing new to me, I’m glad to see how you care about others. However, I think you missed a very useful as well as very simple tip here. Headings. You know – Heading1, Heading2 etc. When you use those to structure your text, then PDF output produced will contain according “bookmarks” as well. Jennifer, please use it with your e-books! It will make them much more readable.

    Sergeys last blog post..How to cope with information overload

    Jaebird88 June 5, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    I agree whole heartedly. I have downloaded openoffice long ago and have not used anything else since.

    Don’t forget to mention all the add-ons that openoffice has to offer as well.


    Jaebird88s last blog post..Gary Vaynerchuk On CNN Talks About Social Media

    Newbie Profits June 5, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    I still prefer to use PDF995 and PDFedit995 (the free versions). Maybe I am just too stuck in my ways — or just too lazy to learn new ways to do things I already know how to do. LOL

    Newbie Profitss last blog post..Quick Google Indexing

    Sergey June 5, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Aside from OpenOffice there is also MS Office OneNote, which is capable to export to PDF too. Though I don’t know how to make PDF with bookmarks in OneNote it is interesting productivity tool, because of its hierarchical nature and integration with other MS Office programs (ability to make blog posts from notes, notes from email etc.)

    Sergeys last blog post..How to cope with information overload

    PotPieGirl June 5, 2009 at 3:41 pm
    Dennis Edell June 5, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    I’m looking to subscribe to your feed via email…does the newsletter also give up to the moment posts?

    Dennis Edells last blog post..I’m Unsubscribing from Your Blog – Don’t Panic!

    Moldy Jon June 5, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    Often there are many different solutions to the same problem. Here is another option. I downloaded PrimoPDF to my work computer and four computers at home many months ago (it’s also free). I like working in Microsoft Office because I have it at work as well as in my private business. To convert documents to PDF format, all I do is click print, and then select PrimoPDF as the printer. I save the document to the same folder as the original document was in, resulting in both a word format document and a PDF document with the same title.

    PrimoPDF has been error free and very easy to use.

    PotPieGirl June 5, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    @ Dennis – The option to subscribe via email is right underneath the newsletter sign up form here – http://www.potpiegirl.com/potpiegirls-newsletter/

    @ Moldy Jon – I’ve used Primo, too (and CutePDF and some others). They all gave me issues with the links once the pdf was converted. While straight urls worked fine, the anchor text links didn’t work in the PDF.

    Anne June 5, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Sorry Jennifer – but Sergey???
    Are you saying that If I were to say put a chapter heading in my Open Office text doc. And I formatted is as a “heading”, then when I created the PDF file, it would put those “headings” as a sort of “Table of Contents”? In the frame to the left of the main reading area?
    Hope I am making myself understood, cuz that is my main problem – trying to get those “page links” in the pdf file for easy reader surfing.



    Sergey June 5, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    If I understood you question correctly. the answer is ‘yes’. But why to take anybody’s word? Just try it!

    BTW, I see now that Jennifer uses bookmarks in her eBooks. But not in every one.

    Sergeys last blog post..How to cope with information overload

    Dagmar June 5, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    Well, correct me if I am wrong, but I have Many of these PDF Converters, but so far I could Not find one which would do the same like Adobe Acrobat does! = to make even your Affiliate links Clickable!

    Yes, those other free PDF converters Do convert ‘some’ links, but the Must be writen in your Word in the form like http://www.yoursite.com – then it will show like that in PDF

    Whatever is in Any other form = i.e. if you want to Have a WORD or a SENTENCE clickable it will Not convert.
    = hence it is basically useless for your affiliate promotions.
    (f.e. if I want to put my link to PPG affiliate program and make the words “Visit One Week Marketing” clickable it will Not convert! regardless you hyperlink it in Word)

    I am actually looking for a PDF converter which would do this, so far the only one I know about will do this is Adobe Acrobat.
    If anybody knows about any other I would appreciate to mention it here.

    Dagmars last blog post..What You Should Know Before Starting Your Own Home-based Business

    Curtis June 5, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    I must say that you are a God send. The things you do for each is beyond me.

    I my inbox is full of emails and your emails are the only ones that have something to teach. they all are pushing some kind of new product or telling to buy now.

    I am greatfull to have found you inside Wealthy Affiliate.

    Thank you because I have and Idea for an ebook and was planning to write it in word. :( now =) I am thrilled to get this email from you.

    Cate June 5, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Jen ~

    You must have been reading my mind once again! I have been writing some notes for an ebook, and actually found that open office on my own a long time ago… but never really did anything with it. I was using Abi Word and Primo PDF… but will try anything new!

    One question (for now.. lol) do you have to “officially” publish it or just send the link out… I was looking at lulu.com and just wondered what is best.

    Thanks for all the goodies as usual! :)

    Cathy June 5, 2009 at 10:34 pm

    You can also use Google Docs to do it just as easily. I like using them because if I can work on my project from any computer anywhere in the world.

    Cathys last blog post..My (Almost) Mini-Retreat

    Wess Stewart June 6, 2009 at 12:23 am

    I KNEW that OpenOffice was able to make .pdf files!

    Too bad I can’t get my wife to read this…she doesn’t believe me…

    Wess Stewarts last blog post..SEO Smart Links: The Poor Man’s Ninja Affiliate

    schilt June 6, 2009 at 1:23 am

    I really appreciate and admire of what you have given us a free tutorial. May God bless you.

    Newbie Profits June 6, 2009 at 1:56 am

    To Dagmar:

    PDF995/PDFEdit995 will allow you to convert any word or phrase into a clickable link. Two things to note though:

    1) If you want the link to be blue and underlined you will need to do that in Word before you convert it (you don’t have to hyperlink it in Word – just color and underline it)

    2) PDFEdit995 will convert EVERY instance of the word/phrase into a clickable link. This can be handy or it can give you too many clickable links (if that is possible). The solution is to use a very specific word or phrase and only use it once or typo the one you want to make into a link.

    Hope that helps.

    Newbie Profitss last blog post..Quick Google Indexing

    Curtis June 6, 2009 at 4:55 am

    Hello Jennifer, this is kind off the topic of pdf but I have to ask you this.

    My Squidoo campaign is getting traffic but currently no conversion yet. I get traffic from Ask, Yahoo and Google.

    The keywords that brought the searcher to my site are really long tail keywords. Should I create more lens with these keywords and get articles pointing to them with these same keywords?

    Thanks for responding.

    theverysmartguy June 7, 2009 at 2:51 am


    I’ll give you some feedback on that. That is exactly why that is telling you what keywords is finding your lenses. Its so you can optimize your lenses, or make new ones focusing on that keyword.

    HOWEVER, another way you could add to it, would be to write an article focusing on that keyword. Or do both.

    What I would first do is find out what kind of traffic that keyword is getting, and how many other people are trying to get traffic for that keyword.

    After that bit of research, and if it still seems worth it, then go for it. But remember, don’t just create A lens, do the whole promotion thing from OWM. As you should be with your articles, and lenses anyways =)

    Another thing to remember, is if you have your own site, besides your lenses, they should have Google analytics on them, this is the same thing that Squid shows you when looking at the stats on your lenses.

    Hope this gives you some insight.

    Ciao for now,


    Brett June 7, 2009 at 7:44 am

    I have been a member of wealthy affiliate for over a year now and love it. I highly recommend it to everyone I know.

    Barbara June 7, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    this is great jennifer — thanks! If you’re looking for an idea for your NEXT post — I would love to have a simple and easy explanation on how to include nifty screen shots (with arrows! lol) in my writing. Can you share what programs you use to make those graphics (or how you capture the screen?)

    I’d also love to know how to create the little videos you do that allow you to capture your computer screen as you are doing searches, etc.


    Tammi June 7, 2009 at 3:19 pm


    Thanks so much for this post. I was searching for just this information for a couple of days on forums and google.

    The information was either to confusing or not what I was searching for.


    Beanie Babies June 8, 2009 at 6:33 am

    Oh wow, this works for openoffice! I was using one for word, but it only worked in word. Thanks!

    Beanie Babiess last blog post..*NEW* Bo Beanie Baby – Obama’s dog

    Mikael @ Retire Early June 8, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Jennifer, are you able to protect the PDF with a password so that others can edit it?


    BFU Rector June 8, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Jennifer, Seth has a short lens on creating a useful ebook with a few good points and answers.

    BFU Rectors last blog post..Time for a change – a new style of BFU Journal

    Chris Jensen June 8, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    PotPieGirl this post is amazing!

    I had a friend asking me the other day how to create a PDF. I was looking through all of the software that I have because I have a word to PDF program somewhere. I will definitely scrap my idea and send him here instead!

    Great information!

    Chris Jensen

    Chris Jensens last blog post..Top Ten Twitter Applications

    shaun June 9, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    it has never been easier to make a pdf book online! top information as always :)

    Tammi June 9, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    I did it! I created my own report and converted it to pdf with open office – threw up an opt in form on my lens – what a breeze!

    The longest part to all of this was writing the report, followed by learning the autoresponder set up and opt in instructions.

    Other than the writing part, 30 mins. tops!

    Karen Cioffi June 9, 2009 at 11:37 pm


    I’d like to thank you for the info. It seems easy enough. I also bought OWM a couple of months ago – I’m hoping to read it this month. I keep getting side-tracked.


    Karen Cioffis last blog post..And, the Winner Is!

    Professional Copywriting June 11, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    That looks so easy,
    i have never tried to create one but it looks easy to create in openoffice,
    would give a try to my old photoshop tuts and see,

    Dave June 14, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Thanks for the detailed guide. It’s going to be of great help to me! :D

    Lawrence June 17, 2009 at 4:49 am

    To first time users of Open Office, to make an anchor text link, just highlight the text with your mouse and click on the hypertext button on the toolbar. It is a round greenish button with what looks like a chain link. A window will pop up and you enter your URL, click apply and you have a text link. The href stuff is done automagically.

    Maurice (TheCaymanHost) June 18, 2009 at 8:01 am

    OpenOffice is great software but if you can track down a free copy of eWriter Pro I think it’s even better for PDF’s.

    It does it all and has its own integrated WYSIWYG word processor. Write your content, add your links, images etc etc and then convert. It’s very simple and works seamlessly. You can add various levels of security easily too.

    It comes with resell rights so a lot of people sell it including me so I’m shooting myself in the foot a bit here for five bucks ;-) but you can probably find it at a lot of givewaway events or free membership sites.

    Have a hunt around, it’s worth finding a copy.

    Maurice (TheCaymanHost)s last blog post..Marketing And Twitter Revisited

    rani June 23, 2009 at 6:15 am

    “This is one thing I LOVE about Open Office – all the links WILL work. You don’t have to only make http:// type straight url links – you can make anchor text links, too.”

    I tried doing the same with MS Word 2007 and it works well. just type the url link and I can simply control-click on the site’s name and another window pops up to the site.

    Mida June 30, 2009 at 10:46 am

    nice tip thanks, also if you have ms word 2007 you can easily save file as pdf ms made it really easy

    Australia Immigration Agents July 22, 2009 at 7:22 am

    E-books seem to be popular these days and also sell well because they are very convenient and can save the user time to scout the bookstores and search for books. This tutorial also shows how easy it is to create one and that anyone can make it.

    Wireless networking July 25, 2009 at 10:42 am

    The all information about PDF are very useful ., bookmark this!

    Sally August 6, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Thank you for the detailed post, I think I need to bookmark this page for future references

    walter cookson August 31, 2009 at 10:49 am

    I hope you can help?
    I have wrote an ebook, and want to sell it through a website.
    Any recomendations where I can build my own website, which would support a paypal facility, and a download page link?
    And how do i make that link secure?
    I know im asking alot, but i just need pointing in the right direction (not the door!)
    Can you help, pleaseeeeeeeeeeeee

    Judy October 17, 2009 at 6:17 am

    Can anyone tell me how to do the screen capture like Jeniffer does here and on her websites?

    Foot Tattoos November 6, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    This is EXACTLY what I was looking for… thank you!

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