PDF Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools

Overview

PDF?to most of the world it stands for that rather tiresome format used for documents downloaded from the web. Slow to load and slower to print, hopelessly unsearchable, and all but impossible to cut and paste from, the Portable Document Format doesn't inspire much affection in the average user. But PDFs done right is another story. Those who know the ins and outs of this format know that it can be much more than electronic paper. Flexible, compact, interactive, and even searchable, PDF is the ideal way to ...

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PDF Hacks: 100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools

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Overview

PDF—to most of the world it stands for that rather tiresome format used for documents downloaded from the web. Slow to load and slower to print, hopelessly unsearchable, and all but impossible to cut and paste from, the Portable Document Format doesn't inspire much affection in the average user. But PDFs done right is another story. Those who know the ins and outs of this format know that it can be much more than electronic paper. Flexible, compact, interactive, and even searchable, PDF is the ideal way to present content across multiple platforms.

PDF Hacks unveils the true promise of Portable Document Format, going way beyond the usual PDF as paged output mechanism. PDF expert Sid Steward draws from his years of analyzing, extending, authoring, and embellishing PDF documents to present 100 clever hacks—tools, tips, quick-and-dirty or not-so-obvious solutions to common problems.

PDF Hacks will show you how to create PDF documents that are far more powerful than simple representations of paper pages. The hacks in the book cover the full range of PDF functionality, from the simple to the more complex, including generating, manipulating, annotating, and consuming PDF information. You'll learn how to manage content in PDF, navigate it, and reuse it as necessary. Far more than another guide to Adobe Acrobat, the book covers a variety of readily available tools for generating, deploying, and editing PDF.

The little-known tips and tricks in this book are ideal for anyone who works with PDF on a regular basis, including web developers, pre-press users, forms creators, and those who generate PDF for distribution. Whether you want to fine-tune and debug your existing PDF documents or explore the full potential the format offers, PDF Hacks will turn you into a PDF power user.

"PDF Hacks" unveils the true promise of Portable Document Format, going way beyond the usual PDF as paged output mechanism. PDF expert Sid Steward draws from his years of analyzing, extending, authoring, and embellishing PDF documents to present 100 clever hacks--tools, techniques, and quick-and-dirty or not-so-obvious solutions to common problems.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596006556
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/28/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 298
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Sid Steward is a programmer, writer and entrepreneur. He maintains the PDF Toolkit and wrote PDF Hacks. When he's not working on PDF, he's creating goodies like LookLeap (a better TinyURL), GoJot (social bookmarking meets site commenting), and The Punch Poll. He continually battles entropy and will gladly tell you about G del's incompleteness theorem. Bjarne Stroustrup is one of his heroes. Feel free to contact Sid.

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Table of Contents

Credits

Preface

Chapter 1: Consuming PDF

Chapter 2: Managing a Collection

Chapter 3: Authoring and Self-Publishing: Hacking Outside the PDF

Chapter 4: Creating PDF and Other Editions

Chapter 5: Manipulating PDF Files

Chapter 6: Dynamic PDF

Chapter 7: Scripting and Programming Acrobat

Colophon

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2004

    do more with PDFs

    Perhaps your experience with PDF is the same as mine. Mainly, to print files in this format. But Steward shows an entire neat little world of functionality hidden in PDF. While it may not have the obvious simplicity of HTML, the book shows many ways to make and edit such files. For example, Steward shows how to have URLs link to specific points inside a PDF document. So if you are maintaining a website that has PDFs, you can do far better than most, by having links not just to the entire documents, but to pertinant locations within. A competitive advantage. The great majority of PDFs accessible on the web require you to view the entire document, for find what you're looking for. You should do better. Steward also shows a logical inverse. How to embed standard URLs inside a PDF. Knowing both capabilities means a fuller integration of PDFs inside your website. It also turns out that much of what the book discusses can be done with free editing tools, at least on linux/unix machines. Good book for demystifying PDF.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2004

    If only I had this book 3 months ago!

    If only I had this book three months ago! I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to really understand the PDF format and know exactly what can be done with this format. Like the many other excellent O¿Reilly ¿hacks¿ series, this book provides 100 different tips and tricks that can be used in dealing with the PDF format. Some of these hacks involve creating your own PDFs through third-party tools, others include tips on modifying PDFs after they have been created. PDF Hacks are divided into four main sections: consuming, managing, authoring, and manipulating PDFs. Some of the hacks are quite interesting and cover things you might not otherwise think of. Once interesting hack is #25, ¿Convey Your Document¿s Value with Good Design¿. This hack actually discusses different issues with fonts including various typography tips and alignment issues. This is certainly an issue I think of rarely, but this hack shows some of the reasons to really think through this issue. There are many such hacks which are quite enlightening. My favorite part of the book was toward the end, where the author discusses the tool ¿pdftk¿, which can be used to freely modify PDF files. The author proceeds to show how this tool can be used to change text within exiting PDF files without significant work. While this hack might not be used by everyone, it illustrates the type of advanced tips this book provides. Like I said at the beginning of this review, I just wish I had read this book three months ago. After reading this book, the reader will have a much better understanding of the PDF format, as well as having a knowledge of the tools that can be used to extend the PDF format beyond what you might have initially thought possible. If you want to understand the PDF format and what information on how to ¿hack¿ your PDFs, then you need a copy of this book!

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