PDFs make a favourable
impression on business
by Alan Zisman (c) 2003 First published in Business in Vancouver
21-27, 2003: High Tech Office column
we were getting our
house painted this past summer, our housepainter sent his estimate in
format. PDF files retain font and formatting information even on
where the original fonts aren’t present, making them an increasingly
way to distribute all sorts of documents.
are a number of good
reasons to prefer PDF format to, say, Microsoft
Word documents. Once created from virtually any document that you could
PDF files are difficult to change, handy in an estimate and for many
business documents. Moreover, Word documents include a lot of junk:
about the creator, text of past revisions, and more. While not
screen, a savvy user can take a peek, sometimes with embarrassing
And Word documents can be infected with any of a number of macro
your file includes
graphics the PDF version of the file is usually quite a bit smaller
original Word version. For all these reasons, PDF files have become a
way to distribute manuals and forms online and to send ads or other
of the box, though, your
computer won’t let you create these handy PDF documents. (Unless you
recent Mac; any program running under Mac OS X can create a basic PDF
right from the Print dialogue box). You’ll need PDF-savvy software.
recently, that meant
Adobe Acrobat: the full version, not the free Reader. But now,
Adobe, over 1800 companies make products that can work with the format.
include my painter’s estimating software, the latest version of Corel’s Word Perfect, and even the open
source Open Office free office
there are now lots of
options for creating bare-bones PDF files, Adobe’s Acrobat software
beyond creating an on-screen version of your document. With its latest
generation, Acrobat 6.0, Adobe is offering three versions of the
Acrobat Elements is cheapest (about $40) and most basic, but is only
to organizations buying 1,000 or more licenses.
Acrobat Standard ($455) or Professional ($683). Interface improvements
new versions easier to use than their predecessors. Like the Elements
each adds itself as a virtual printer, for simple PDF creation from any
program. As well, toolbar icons are added to Microsoft Office programs
Explorer for even easier PDF’ing. Within the main Acrobat program, you
to create files of varying qualities or optimize for smallest file
can combine multiple files into a single PDF document.
be used to simplify sending your work out for comments (assuming your
all have full versions of Acrobat). When you get back their feedback,
it can be
imported into the original PDF file.
Paper Capture feature
can be used to control your scanner, scanning paper documents and
them into searchable PDF-formatted digital files. Both versions allow
encrypt or password-protect documents, or to control whether they can
printed or whether text or graphics can be copied to the Clipboard.
Professional version adds tools aimed at graphics and printing
including a PDF Optimizer tool to optimize files for press or Web
version can also produce colour separations, registration and bleed
colour bars, useful for professional printing. As well, this version
options for creating electronic forms and adds one-button PDF creation
Autocad, Microsoft Project, and Visio software.
all advanced features,
such as the document assembly tools, are included in the Mac versions;
this is revenge by Adobe for Apple building basic PDF creation into its
if you’re creating PDF
files for online viewing, remember that documents designed to be viewed
lengthwise on paper really don’t work very well viewed on-screen.
includes options to optimize for screen vs print. Learn to use them