For a number
of reasons, the pdf format has become a popular way of
providing documentation and other information in the last
few years. Authors can be sure that the viewers are
seeing exactly what was intended, no matter whether the
file is being viewed on a Macintosh- , Linux-, or
Windows-based computer. This can be important, also, when
planning to have something printed elsewhere, as I have
learned through some bad experiences what appears
and prints nicely formatted on one computer will not
necessarily appear the same way on another computer or
with a different printer! Also, as will be seen below,
the resulting file size can be much smaller than the
original document, an important consideration when
downloading from or exchanging files via the Internet.
firm, Adobe, developed Acrobat to produce pdf files. It
is a great tool and is very versatile but, at a cost of
$299(U.S.) for the standard version and $449(U.S.) for
the Pro version, is much too expensive for the casual
user who just wants to produce the occasional pdf file.
Fortunately, Adobe wanted the format to become a de-facto
standard and published the specifications for the format
so that other developers would be able to create
compatible, if less versatile, applications.
like other similar programs, works by pretending to be an
additional printer attached to your computer. When
installed, pdfFactory, like other similar programs, sets
up a new printer driver. It is easy to use. To produce a
pdf file of a document as it appears on the screen, start
to print it, but select pdfFactory as the printer. Almost
immediately a preview screen appears showing
approximately what the final product will look like. If
the original document is lengthy, the percentage
completion of the final pdf file is shown as the
conversion progresses. (Note that only part of the top of
the screen is shown here for legibility).
There are a
number of options.
[Fonts] shows the fonts used in the document. If there
are unusual fonts which intended viewers may not have,
these can easily be embedded in the final product.
Otherwise the intended user's machine may substitute
another font, which may not give the intended effect or
appearance. However embedding will increase the size of
the resulting pdf file.
[Doc Info] allows the setting of attributes, such as
keywords, to be written into the final product.
[Links] If there are URLs and email addresses in the
document, this option allows a choice of how these will
[Settings] allows for a number of global options, such as
the number of "Autosaves" in which results of
previous sessions are saved automatically.
bottom of the screen the following tabs appear:
loads Adobe Acrobat and shows the final product.
[Save] saves the final product.
[Send] allows you to send the pdf file by email.
[Help] provides ... help!
[Close] aborts the whole process.
[Print] allows you to print the pdf file on your printer.
One of the
documents pdfFactory was tested on was a fold-out
brochure produced using Adobe Pagemaker. (There were six
pages on each side of the foldout, and each side was
prepared as a separate document). Camera ready input was
to be emailed to a commercial printer. The documents used
two type fonts, one of which was a calligraphic one and
is not commonly available, plus various special
characters and numerous jpegs. While the documents could
have been sent in PageMaker format, the file sizes
totalled almost 29 MB; in pdf format, they came to less
than 600KB! The latter format had the additional
advantage that the documents could emailed to other
people for proofreading not too many people have
access to PageMaker!
features are the ability to add or delete pages in the
pdf file, and also to combine documents, even from
different programs, into one file. In one test a Word
Perfect document, a Quattro Pro spreadsheet, and one of
the above PageMaker documents were easily combined into
one pdf document.
is shareware. A trial version can be downloaded from
www.pdffactory.com. Until it is registered it, the
following note appears at the foot of each page:
"PDF created with pdfFactory trial version
www.pdffactory.com" Registration costs $49.95(U.S.)
The program is recommended. It is easy to use and is
The Pro version has some additional features,
the principal ones dealing with security, bookmarks, and
the ability to rearrange jobs. The security tab, as shown
in the partial screen print to the right, allows various
options, including that of to requiring a password to
view the document. The documentation points out, though,
that password breaking programs are available and
recommends lengthy and unusual passwords). It is also
possible to to prevent changes to or copying parts of the
document or printing it out.
files have two windows. The left one bookmarks (indexes)
the text on the right. If a bookmark is clicked in the
left window, the appropriate part of the document is
displayed in the right window.
Pro allows the making of such bookmarks. It can be done
in two ways -- manually, or automatically by detecting
headings, etc. In the manual method, each page to be
bookmarked is looked at in the preview screen, and either
right clicked and select "bookmark this page,"
or hit Ctrl-B.
automatic method, a consistent style has to have been
used, e.g. headings and subheadings have to be either in
a different size or font from that of the main text, and
from each other. Part of a pdf file produced using this
method appears below. As can be seen, the automatic
bookmarking feature works very well.
is also shareware. A trial version can be downloaded from
www.pdffactory.com. Until it is registered, the following
note appears at the foot of each page: "PDF created
with pdfFactory Pro trial version
www.pdffactory.com" Registration costs $99.95(U.S.)
Like pdfFactory, it is easy to use. Also recommended.
$49.95 US, Shareware
$99.95 US, Shareware
Originally published: September, 2004
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