Creating PDF copies of Text Messages


The history of text messages

The ability to send text messages was part of the design of mobile (cellular) phones from the beginning. The modern phone, or smartphone as it is sometimes called, is essentially a small computer capable of doing the kind of functions which computers are typically used for such as word processing, handling PDFs, and sending emails, with the phone function itself being just one of a number of apps on the smartphone. Although text messaging facilities have developed from the original SMS (short message system) so that it is now possible to text photos and other media (MMS) text messaging remains essentially part of the "phone" on a smartphone rather than part of the "computer". One consequence of this is that whilst it is easy to upload copies of ordinary "computer" files such as PDFs and Word files, there is no easy way of doing the same for text messages. If a photo is sent by MMS message you can save the photo itself as a JPG file and upload it in the usual way but there is no easy way to create a copy of an MMS or SMS message itself apart from doing a screenshot.


Creating PDF copies of selected messages

You will need to display the text messages on your phone and take a screenshot. How to take a screenshot on a phone depends on what phone model it is but on iPhones it is usually pressing the home button and power button at the same time. On Android phones it is often pressing the volume down button and power button at the same time. The screenshot takes a JPG image of what the phone's screen is displaying at the time.   

Usually when you display a text message on a phone it will display the message as part of a conversation - i.e. it will show you all messages to and from that phone to a particular phone number, in chronological order - and if there are more than three or four messages to/from that number, you have to scroll to see them all. Each screenshot will save as a JPG just the text messages you are displaying at the time you take the screenshot. You should try to take screenshots in such a way that only messages sent/received on the same day appear in each screenshot. For example, if two messages were sent from the phone on Tuesday and one on Wednesday and all three messages are currently displayed on the screen, use your finger and thumb to expand the display so that only the two messages sent/received on Tuesday still appear and take one screenshot, then scroll down and expand so that only the Wednesday message appears and take another screenshot. If there are so many messages sent/received on a particular day that they cannot all be displayed on your phone at the same time, it is fine to take a screenshot of the first few messages of the day, then scroll down and take another screenshot for the next few messages of the day etc. as long as each screenshot does not contain messages for more than one day.

Once you have the text messages in JPG form, you can create PDF copies of the JPG files using www.sejda.com/jpg-to-pdf (select a one inch margin) and, if necessary, www.sejda.com/merge-pdf. You should create one PDF per day per pair of people sending/receiving so, for example, if you have the following JPG files:

a.) texts between Smith and Jones from 09.22 to 13.51 on 3 November 2018

b.) texts between Smith and Jones from 13.53 to 17.22 on 3 November 2018

c.) texts between Smith and Baker from 10.51 to 15.01 on 3 November 2018

d.) texts between Smith and Jones from 08.51 to 12.30 on 4 November 2018

you should:

create a single PDF (containing 2 pages) from (a) and (b) together using Sejda Merge - give the PDF a name of 2018-11-03 Texts between Smith and Jones

create one PDF for (c) using Sejda jpg-to-pdf - give the PDF a name of 2018-11-03 Texts between Smith and Baker

create one PDF for (d) using Seja jpg-to-pdf - give the PDF a name of 2018-11-04 Texts between Smith and Jones 



Creating PDF copies of an entire conversation

Usually when you display a text message on a phone it will display the message as part of a "conversation" - i.e. it will show you all messages to and from that phone to a another particular phone number, in chronological order. Text messages are often short and may be cryptic so that it may be necessary to look at other messages to understand the full meaning of a particular message or, at least, if there is a legal dispute it may be alleged that a particular message has to be understood in the context of other messages, so often is is necessary, as well as being convenient, to ltake a screenshot of the entire "conversation". How to do this depends on what phone model it is but on iPhones it is usually pressing the home button and power button at the same time. On Android phones it is often pressing the volume down button and power button at the same time. You have to tap "Scroll capture" to include the whole of the conversation in the JPG (otherwise it captures only the one or two messages which happen to be displayed at the time).

When you have the entire conversation as a JPG you need to create a PDF copy containing as many A4 pages as are necessary. To do this you need to open the JPG file on a Windows computer using a program which can "print" the JPG with a "tiled" option. There are a number of programs which can be used including Kofax Power PDF. You "print" the JPG using a printer of "Microsoft Print to PDF", select the "tiled" option (often called "split pages to multiple sheets") and choose an overlap of 1 inch.          


Disclaimer

The information on this page about specific computer techniques is provided for information purposes only. Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate and up to date at the time it was written but no responsibility for its accuracy, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by me. You should satisfy yourself, before using any of the techniques, software or services described, that the techniques are appropriate for your purposes and that the software or service is reliable.

This page was lasted updated in August 2019. Disclaimer