Tag Archives: PDF


Collecting Student Work with Google Forms

File folders organized in a file boxA good number of us here at ProfHacker prefer to avoid paper whenever possible. When I teach my writing course each fall, I have my students use Google Documents so that it’s easy to see an essay’s development over time.

For classes where it’s not essential that I see a student’s revisions, I prefer that essays be submitted in PDF format, so that I can comment on essays using my iPad. (My current favorite app for this purpose is PDFExpert; Jason and Erin have both made use of iAnnotate.)

What I…


Batch Convert Word Documents to PDF in Google Drive

pile of paper

PDF format is very useful for any documents that are going to be shared with others, whether by posting online, via email or printed as hard copies. Using PDF means that you can control not only the content but also the presentational formatting, and ensure that what you create will remain consistent for your audience. PDF was designed to be cross-platform and is accessible from a variety of machines and devices.

Recently, I was reminded of a simple approach to batch converting Microsoft Word d…


A Year of Turkel Tutorials

Many of the students and scholars I know who have picked up technical skills in the world of the command line (see Lincoln’s introduction and a series of posts here at Profhacker) or who have attempted their hand at programming come to what they know through tinkering. Some new way they want to analyze their sources, improve the discovery of interesting patterns, organize their stuff, or automate their tasks supplies them the justification they need to carve out some time to learn by playing. T…


Combine PDFs In 5 Seconds with Mac’s Preview

A leather bound book with "PDF 1.5" written on the spine

Academics tend to work with a lot of PDFs. We read journal articles as PDFs because they come that way from databases. We collect assignments from our students as PDFs because a paperless classroom is a disease-free classroom. We annotate these PDF assignments or the grant applications that we’re working on with colleagues. And no conference travel would complete without scanning receipts into PDF form and submitting them. (Fortunately, you can turn your phone into a scanner.) The prevalence of…


Turn Your Phone Into a Scanner

camscanner logoAbout 18 years ago, when I bought my first scanner, I had a vision of keeping paperless research files. But it wasn’t really feasible then, given the hardware I had to work with and the time it would have taken me to scan documents.

Today, the hardware and software for scanning, archiving, and OCRing paper documents has dramatically improved. I’m still not living a paper-free life, but I’m able to archive and use items in PDF format much more easily than even a couple of years ago. I’ve written …


Grading with Voice on an iPad


[This is a guest post by Doug Ward, an associate professor of journalism and the Budig Professor of Writing at the University of Kansas. You can find him online at www.kuediting.com and www.journalismtech.com, and follow him on Twitter @kuediting. Doug's previous posts have looked at finding iOS apps, what to do if your Twitter account is hacked, using iPads in the classroom (one, two) and engaging students with music.--@jbj]

One of the frustrating things I found in teaching online last semeste…


Fix PDFs Quickly with pdftk

I work a lot with PDFs. Most of the journal articles I read are PDFs, when I’m lucky drafts of other people’s work come as PDFs rather than Word documents, and I scan much of the source material for my research into PDFs. At ProfHacker, we’ve given you lots of advice about how to hack PDFs: how to OCR them so they’re searchable, how to convert documents into PDFs, how to use Zotfile with PDFs in your Zotero library, and how to organize and annotate your PDFs.

So what do you do when you need to f…



Most regular readers of ProfHacker know that we like Dropbox. We’ve featured several posts about it (see, for example, these posts by JasonRyan, and Brian). But just in case you are new to ProfHacker, in a nutshell Dropbox is a cloud-based service that syncs data across different computers and allows you to access your files on any computer that either has the Dropbox software installed or has access to the internet. Users who register with Dropbox are given 2GB of storage space for free. If y…


Zotero vs. EndNote

Two roller derby contestants

We here at ProfHacker are big fans of Zotero. Some of our earliest posts covered teaching with Zotero groups and making your WordPress blog Zotero-able (although we can’t control whether it’s “zo terrible” <rimshot>). And of course, there’s Amy’s fantastic two-part series on getting started with Zotero (parts one and two). The folks at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (who make Zotero) are friends of ProfHacker, and we got one of our earliest boosts from their Digital Campus …


Converting Files with Primo PDF

You may have noticed that there is a tendency for the members of Team ProfHacker to prefer the Apple platform.  I share this preference, but for reasons beyond my control, my office computer is a PC.  Most of the time, switching back and forth between Windows and Snow Leopard isn’t a problem, though I should confess that my version of Windows is rather dated.  This switch might be significantly different on Vista or Windows 7, for better or for worse.  In any event, earlier this week I ra…