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In This Chapter
About Adobe Acrobat
The Acrobat workplace
If, after perusing your local bookstore, you decided to lay down your money at the counter, carry away this ten-pound volume, and take it to bed with you tonight, you probably already know something about Adobe Acrobat. Why else would you buy this book? If you're at the bookstore shelf and you haven't bought it yet, then you're probably wondering how in the world anyone could write so many pages for such a simple application.
What Is Adobe Acrobat?
Assuming you know little about Adobe Acrobat, I start with a brief description of what Acrobat is and what it is not. As I explain to people who ask about the product, I usually define it as the most misunderstood application available today. Most of us are familiar with the Adobe Reader software, which is a product from Adobe Systems Incorporated that you can download free from the Adobe Web site (adobe.com/acrobat). You can also acquire the Adobe Reader from all the installation CD-ROMs for other Adobe software. You can even acquire Adobe Reader from other users, as long as the Adobe licensing requirements are distributed with the installer program. The Adobe Reader, however, is not Adobe Acrobat. Adobe Reader is a component of a much larger productthat has evolved through several iterations over more than a decade.
You're probably a little more sophisticated and realize there is a major difference between the applications noted previously and you may wonder why I even spend any time discussing the difference between Acrobat and Adobe Reader. Interestingly enough, I attended a PDF conference not too long ago. The conference coincided with a worldwide technology conference and one of the speakers at the PDF conference took a video camera and microphone to the other conference and interviewed random attendees, asking questions like, "What is Adobe Acrobat?" and "What is PDF?" Surprisingly, most of the computer-savvy interviewees could not provide a correct answer. Inasmuch as Acrobat has come a long way, many people still confuse what you purchase from Adobe Systems and what you can download free.
To add a little more confusion, this iteration of Acrobat includes the three different kinds of viewer applications found in the last release and many new features added to the Adobe Reader software. Adobe Reader software remains a free download from Adobe's Web site.
The other two Acrobat viewers are software products you need to purchase from Adobe Systems or from software vendors. They include Adobe Acrobat Standard and Adobe Acrobat Professional. As I talk about Adobe Acrobat in this chapter, I'm referring to both Acrobat Standard and Acrobat Professional.
There are distinctions between the Acrobat Standard product and the Acrobat Professional product in terms of tools and commands. Most editing tasks can be handled in either viewer; however, Acrobat Professional does provide more editing features than Acrobat Standard. Throughout this book I delineate the differences and point out when an Acrobat Professional feature cannot be accomplished in Acrobat Standard.
Adobe Acrobat (either Standard or Professional) in version 7 is the upgrade from Adobe Acrobat 6 (Standard or Professional) and both viewers are the subject of the remaining chapters of this book. Acrobat is the authoring application that provides you tools and commands for a host of features outlined in the following chapters. If you haven't yet purchased a copy of Acrobat, either the Standard version or the Professional version, you might want to look over Chapter 2 and observe some of the comparisons between the viewers. If fewer tools and features suit your purpose, you might find the Standard version satisfactory. Although some of the features differ between the viewers, they both provide many features for editing, enhancing, printing, and working with PDF documents.
Acrobat is an authoring application but it has one little feature that distinguishes it from almost any other authoring program. Rather than starting from scratch and creating a new document in Acrobat, your workflow usually involves converting a document, created in just about any program, to a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. Once converted to PDF you use Acrobat to edit and refine the document, add bells and whistles and interactivity, or prepare it for professional printing. In addition to the Acrobat program, Acrobat Professional ships with companion programs such as Adobe Acrobat Distiller and Adobe Acrobat Catalog, and Adobe Designer (Windows only). Acrobat Standard ships only with Acrobat Distiller. These companion products are used to convert PostScript files to PDF, create search indexes, and author XML-based forms.
For information related to Acrobat Distiller see Chapter 8. For more information on Acrobat Catalog, see Chapter 5. For more information related to Designer, see Chapter 26.
Acrobat solutions are greatly extended with other supporting programs from Adobe Systems and many different third-party vendors. If Acrobat can't do the job, chances are you can find a plug-in or companion program to handle all you want to do with a PDF file.
For information related to Acrobat plug-ins and companion products see Chapter 2.
What Is PDF?
PDF, short for Portable Document Format, was developed by Adobe Systems as a unique format to be viewed through Acrobat viewers. As the name implies, it is portable, which means the file you create on one computer can be viewed with an Acrobat viewer on other computers, handheld devices and on other platforms. For example, you can create a page layout on a Macintosh computer and convert it to a PDF file. After the conversion, this PDF document can be viewed on a UNIX or Windows machine.
Multiplatform compliance (to enable the exchange of files across different computers, for example) is one of the great values of PDF documents.
So what's special about PDF and its multiplatform compliance? It's not so much an issue of viewing a page on one computer created from another computer that is impressive about PDF. After all, such popular programs as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe FrameMaker, and Adobe Illustrator all have counterparts for multiplatform usage. You can create a layout on one computer system and view the file on another system with the same software installed. For example, if you have Adobe InDesign installed on a Macintosh computer and you create an InDesign document, that same file can be viewed on a PC with InDesign running under Windows.
In a perfect world, you may think the capability to view documents across platforms is not so special. Document viewing, however, is secondary to document integrity. The preservation of the contents of a page is what makes the PDF so extraordinary. To illustrate, suppose you have an InDesign document created in Windows using fonts generic to Windows applications. After it's converted to PDF, the document, complete with graphics and fonts intact, can be displayed and printed on other computer platforms. And the other computer platforms don't need the fonts or graphics to print the file with complete integrity.
This level of document integrity can come in handy in business environments, where software purchases often reach quantum costs. PDF documents eliminate the need to install all applications used within a particular company on all the computers in that company. For example, art department employees can use a layout application to create display ads and then convert them to PDF so that other departments can use the free Adobe Reader software to view and print those ads for approval.
The benefits of PDF viewing were initially recognized by workgroups in local office environments for electronic paper exchanges. Today users have much more opportunity for global exchange of documents in many different ways. As you look at Acrobat and discover some of the features available for document comment and markup, comparing documents, support for layered files (which adds much more functionality to Adobe Reader), and preparing PDFs for screen readers, you'll see how Acrobat and the PDF have evolved with new technologies.
The term screen reader is used extensively throughout this book. When you see a reference to "screen reader," I'm referring to either a hardware device or special software (JAWS, Kurzweil, and so on) used to convert visual information to audio format. For more information on screen readers and making documents accessible to the readers, see Chapter 20.
The evolution of the computer world has left extraordinary volumes of data that were originally designed to be printed on paper on computer systems. Going all the way back to UNIVAC, the number crunching was handled by the computer and the expression was the printed piece. Today, forms of expression have evolved to many different media. No longer do people want to confine themselves to printed material. Now, in addition to publishing information on paper, we use CD-ROMs, the Internet, and file exchanges between computers. Sometimes we use motion video, television, and satellite broadcasts. As high-speed access evolves, we'll see much larger bandwidths, so real-time communication will eventually become commonplace. And the world of tomorrow will introduce more communication media. Think of outputting to plasma, crystal, and holograms, and then think about having a font display or link problem with one of those systems!
Technology will advance, bringing many improvements to bandwidth, performance, and speed. To enable the public to access the mountains of digital data held on computer systems in a true information superhighway world, files will need to be converted to a common format. A common file format would also enable new documents to be more easily repurposed, to exploit the many forms of communication that we use today and expect to use tomorrow.
Acrobat Professional has added more tools for helping users repurpose documents. Tools for repairing problem files, downsizing file sizes, porting files to a range of different devices, and eliminating unnecessary data are part of the many features found in Acrobat Professional. In addition, the new PDF/A format available in Acrobat 7 is designed specifically for archiving documents. A standards committee has developed this format so documents viewed on computer systems 100 years from now will be compatible with future operating systems.
PDF and Adobe PostScript
The de facto standard of almost all printing in the graphics industry is Adobe PostScript. Ninety-nine percent of North America and about seventy-five percent of the rest of the world uses PostScript for all high-end output. Adobe developed this page description language to accurately display the design created on your computer screen to the printed page. If graphics and fonts are included in your files and you want to print the pages to high-end professional devices, then PostScript is the only show in town. The Adobe PostScript language was responsible for the rise of so many software and hardware manufacturers. If you stop and think about it, PostScript ranks up there with MS-DOS and Windows in terms of its installed user base.
Okay, so how does PostScript relate to PDF? In the initial release of Acrobat, all PDF conversion began with a file that was created as a PostScript file. Users selected the Print command in an authoring program and printed the file to disk-thus creating a PostScript file. This file was then opened in the Acrobat Distiller program and Distiller converted the PostScript to a PDF.
Distiller is still a part of Acrobat. In some cases, creating a PDF from a PostScript file rather than through any of the many other means available may be preferable. It could be that you have a problem with exporting to PDF from a program, such as fonts not appearing embedded, or you may need to create a PDF for a special purpose like printing and prepress. In such circumstances using Acrobat Distiller may be your best solution for generating a PDF document to properly suit the purpose.
For information related to printing PostScript files and using Acrobat Distiller see Chapter 8.
Printing to PostScript and opening PostScript files in Distiller is used much less today because now so many programs support PDF creation through one-button clicks or using the Save As command. However, many of these one-button clicks still use the Distiller application in the background to create the PDF file. You may not see Distiller launched when PDFs are created in the background, but the program is working away to convert your authoring application document to a PDF file.
PostScript can be a problem solver for you, and you may have an occasional need to use it even if your workflow does not require its use all the time. The more you know about PostScript and Acrobat Distiller, the more often you might be able to rescue problem files that don't seem to properly convert to PDF.
Acrobat is now in version 7. The version number indicates the number of releases of the product. PDF is a file format and with it you'll also find a version number. The PDF version relates to the specifications of the file format; for the end user it's usually not so important to understand all the specifications as much as it is to know what it does for you or what you can expect from it. If you create PDF documents for users of older Acrobat viewers and use the newer PDF format, your users may not be able to view your PDF files. Conversely, creating PDF files with the older version might prohibit you from using some newer features in the recent release.
With PDF file conversion you have choices for creating and saving PDF documents with your choice of version number. Depending on which version you select you'll have different specifications assigned to the file. To give you an idea for how PDF format has changed, look over Table 1-1.
One of the nice new features of Acrobat Professional with the current PDF version is support for PDF/A files. If you want to be certain your files are saved in an archive format that can be opened several years in the future, you'll want to know more about the new PDF/A archiving format.
For information related to PDF/A, see Chapter 8.
Experienced Acrobat users will immediately notice the user interface (UI) in Acrobat 7 appears very similar to the UI introduced in version 6. If you're updating from Acrobat 4 or 5 then the UI is probably overwhelming to you. There's a lot to absorb when looking at the Acrobat window and you'll need some initial help to understand all the changes. Fortunately you bought this book and, together with Adobe Systems and the new help features in all Acrobat viewers, I'll walk you through the many different items located in the Acrobat workplace.
Acrobat provides you with features such as menu commands, toolbars, and palettes to accomplish work for whatever goal you hope to achieve with PDF documents. When you launch the program you see many of these features in the Acrobat window. Just so you know what is being referred to when I discuss accessing a feature in Acrobat, take a look at Figure 1-1 to understand the names used to describe the various areas of the new Acrobat workplace.
A Title bar: By default, the name of the file you open appears within parentheses in the Title bar. The title appearing in the Title bar can change according to an option for displaying the Document Title in the Open Options dialog box.
For information related to Open options and displaying Document Titles, see Chapter 5.
B Menu bar: The menu bar contains all the top-level menu commands. These menu choices are also available from various actions associated with links and form fields when you choose the Execute a menu item command in the Actions Properties dialog box for links, form fields, and other features that permit associating an action with a command.
For information related to link actions and the Execute a menu item command action type, see Chapter 17. For more information on actions with form fields, see Part VI.
C Toolbar: A number of individual toolbars are nested below the menu bar. Individual toolbars are marked with a vertical separator bar at the left side of the toolbar. This bar can be selected and dragged to move it out of the Toolbar Well.
Excerpted from Adobe Acrobat 7 PDF Bible by Ted Padova Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
|Pt. I||Welcome to Adobe Acrobat||1|
|Ch. 1||Getting to know Adobe Acrobat||3|
|Ch. 2||Using Acrobat viewers||53|
|Ch. 3||Getting familiar with the new and improved Adobe Reader||65|
|Ch. 4||Viewing and navigation in Adobe Acrobat professional||81|
|Ch. 5||Searching PDF files||129|
|Pt. II||Converting documents to PDF||173|
|Ch. 6||Converting to PDF from Adobe Acrobat professional||175|
|Ch. 7||Exporting to PDF from authoring applications||215|
|Ch. 8||Using Acrobat distiller||261|
|Pt. III||Editing PDFs||305|
|Ch. 9||Saving and versioning files||307|
|Ch. 10||Editing text||331|
|Ch. 11||Editing images and objects||351|
|Ch. 12||Editing pages||367|
|Ch. 13||Scanning and OCR conversion||405|
|Ch. 14||Repurposing PDF documents||421|
|Pt. IV||PDF interactivity||439|
|Ch. 15||Review and markup||441|
|Ch. 16||Working with review sessions||507|
|Ch. 17||Links and actions||525|
|Ch. 18||Multimedia and PDFs||565|
|Ch. 19||Working with layers||599|
|Ch. 20||Accessibility and tagged PDF files||615|
|Pt. V||PDF publishing||631|
|Ch. 21||Authentication and security||633|
|Ch. 22||PDFs and the Web||663|
|Ch. 23||PDFs and presentations||679|
|Ch. 24||PDFs and eBooks||701|
|Ch. 25||Printing and prepress||715|
|Pt. VI||Acrobat PDF forms||753|
|Ch. 26||Designing PDF forms (Windows only)||755|
|Ch. 27||Understanding the form tools||779|
|Ch. 28||Working with form data||815|