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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.

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:

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.