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Tutorial: Emailing a report

For this tutorial, I will be using the My Blood Glucose software, however the same principles apply for any of the My Health Software programs. In fact, if you follow the steps below, you will be able to turn any program’s print-outs into PDF files — which can then be easily emailed.

PDF files were originally created by Adobe. Most computers (estimated at over 90%) contain the software required to view PDF files. They have become a defacto standard way to exchange documents that contain both text and graphics. Hence, a great way to email your report is to turn it into a PDF file, and attach it to an email.

A surprising simple way to create a PDF file

There are many ways to create PDF files, however there is one way which is surprising simple once you understand the concept.

The way we will be doing it in this tutorial is to install what is called a “Virtual Printer” utility.

A virtual printer is like any other printer you install, except there is no physical printer (and you can get them for free!).

Once you have installed a virtual printer, it will appear in your computer’s list of installed printers. Whenever you print something from an application, for example print our report, you can choose which of your printers to print to. If that printer happens to be a PDF virtual printer, instead of getting a physical print out, a PDF file will be created (and saved to your hard drive).

Installing a PDF Virtual Printer

There are many PDF virtual printers you can choose between. Some are free, some are not. See Wikipedia for a list.

My favorite is pdfFactory by Fineprint. You can download a non-expiring fully functional trial from their website for free. The trial does add a fairly unobtrusive watermark to your PDFs, which can be removed by purchasing the full product.

Installing the pdfFactory PDF Virtual Printer

Installing pdfFactory is as simple as installing most common software programs. The basic steps are:

  1. Go to the pdfFactory download page.
  2. Click on the Download button.
  3. When prompted, click Run to run the download, and follow the prompts.

This is illustrated in the animated tutorial below: (Note: no sound)

Using pdfFactory to create a PDF of a My Blood Glucose report

Once your PDF Virtual Printer is installed, creating a PDF file is as simple as clicking on a program’s Print button and selecting the virtual printer from the list. Soon after, a window should popup showing you the printed contents and asking you what to do with the PDF.

If I want to send the PDF via email, I will usually save the PDF to my Desktop, then create a new email and attach the PDF file to the email.

This is illustrated in the animated tutorial below: (Note: no sound)

The results

I have uploaded the PDF created in the above tutorial: My Blood Glucose PDF Report.pdf. I have also uploaded a second report made from My Blood Pressure: My Blood Pressure PDF Report.pdf

Most web browsers can also display PDF files, so if you click on the above links, you can view the PDF files in a webbrowser plugin. You can also right-click on the above links and save the reports to your hard drive.

If you have any questions or comments about this tutorial, please email me at steve@my-health-software.com.

My Health Software


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