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Hubble Space Telescope

How to Make PDF Documents

HST proposal submission requires that your scientific justification be submitted in PDF format. Towards that end, we provide the following guidelines on creating PDF documents.

Starting from Latex

After doing latex mydocument.tex, ordinarily, one next does dvips -o mydocument.dvi. If you do this followed by the subsequent steps below, the document will look awful on the screen, but print ok. In order to get the document to look ok on the screen, when you do dvips, you need to get the fonts right, and so you MUST use the -P flag, e.g.:

dvips -P pdf mydocument.dvi -o

Then continue with the next step below, since now you have a ps file on a unix or linux machine.

Starting from a ps file on a Unix/Linux machine

Use the program ps2pdf to convert the file to pdf. (If you can already view postscript files, this conversion script is almost certainly already installed on your system.)

ps2pdf [options] output.pdf

Right now, the default behavior is to produce PDF 1.2 output (Acrobat 3-and-later compatible). If you want to force Acrobat 4-and-later compatible (PDF 1.3), then you should do

ps2pdf13 [options] output.pdf

There is also an interactive web-served version of this at

This conversion is not perfect, e.g. does not create the most streamlined product, and the images can look odd on the screen (but ok when printed).

Easiest Way if on a Windows or Mac Machine

The easiest way on a Windows machine if you have Office2007 or later is to just save the file as a PDF. The same is true on any Mac, in any application just print/save the file as a PDF. Other possibilities include below:

If on a Windows or Mac (with the Adobe products)

With a copy of Adobe Acrobat (the full version, not the free version), then any application that can print to a printer can also produce a PDF file.

If you DO have a copy of Adobe Acrobat (and you selected the appropriate [default] options when installing it), then from your Windows/Mac application, when you choose print, you can select "Acrobat PDF Writer" as your printer. Do NOT select "print to file", simply select the PDF writer as you would any other real physical printer. It will prompt for a filename. Make sure to put the file where you can find it; Acrobat uses by default the location where it was the last time when it created a PDF file, not where your source file is.

If on a Windows or Mac (without the Adobe products)

If you do NOT have a copy of Adobe Acrobat (the full version, not just the free Acrobat Reader), you can produce a ps file through your Windows/Mac application and then convert it to PDF. Download a postscript printer driver if you don't already have one. Open your original document and go to "File"->"Print". Under the "Print" popup menu, select the postscript printer driver, and print to a file. This will create a postscript version of your document. Then "Google" to find and download a free postscript to PDF utility. (Again, there are lots out there.) Follow the installation and configuration instructions carefully. Use this to convert your postscript document to a PDF file. You could also use ps2pdf (possibly involves transferring your ps file to a place where you have ps2pdf installed). This link at UIC describes how to create a ps file from various platforms.

The PDF file may look funny in Adobe Acrobat, but it should print properly. Please double-check that any strange fonts, symbols, and images were converted properly before submitting your proposal.

Streamlining your PDF

Ultimately (and optionally), if you'd like to clean up your PDF (remove redundancies, etc., making a smaller file), there are programs such as PDF Enhancer available.

Listing here does not imply endorsement by the STScI.

(Thanks to the Spitzer Science Center for this tutorial

Release Documents

    The Call for Proposals describes the policies and procedures for submitting a HST Phase I proposal. Go to the CP.

    The Primer provides an introductory overview of the Hubble Space Telescope and explains how to calculate the appropriate number of orbits for an observing proposal. Go to the Primer.

    Science Justification Templates for Cycle 27 HST Phase I

  • Full Set of HST Documentation

HST Phase I Roadmap

    The Roadmap is a step-by-step guide to proposing and submitting an HST proposal. Download APT here.

DD Time

Up to 10% of the available HST observing time may be reserved for Director's Discretionary (DD) allocation.

Mid-Cycle Proposals

Up to 200 orbits per cycle will be available for Mid-Cycle GO programs. Mid-Cycle programs were initiated in Cycle 23 to provide the community with an opportunity to propose for in-cycle observations of recently-discovered, non-variable objects. As such, they complement Director’s Discretionary programs, which target unexpected transient phenomena and time-critical observations..

Special Programs from Past Cycles

Status of Current and Past Programs:

Past Proposal Opportunities