A PDF Internet Community Speeds Progress
By Rose Blessing
Industry implementation of PDF workflows may progress rapidly because it requires minimal investment: a $295 software package and maybe some associated tools can get you started, noted some speakers at Seybold San Francisco in September. The Internet is also a factor, where PDF pioneers are generously sharing what they learn as they go.
Stephan Jaeggi, a prepress consultant based in Switzerland, has involved himself in cooperative industry efforts to explore the potential and the limitations of PDF for high-end prepress. His white paper, "PDF for Prepress," originally intended for a developer audience, and slides from a presentation, "Working with PDF Today," presented at Seybold San Francisco, concisely outline many of the limitations of PDF for prepress in a step-by-step fashion. Find these (in PDF form) at www.prepress.ch.
Jaeggi has also created a software program, DistillerTools, that provides reports on PDF file content and stores Distiller settings. He has made this program available as shareware on the Web.
Thad McIlroy, President, Arcadia House, and Seybold Program Director, managed "PDF Day" at Seybold in September with Andy Tribute, International Editor, Seybold Reports. Handouts from the sessions, including an extensive list of PDF-related software tools, are on the Web at www.seyboldseminars.com/News/Front/PDFday.html.
You can also join a PDF user forum by sending an e-mail to major firstname.lastname@example.org and in body of text say "subscribe pdf.press-l".
Elements of Acrobat
Acrobat is a software suite with several modules, not all of them intended for commercial printing applications.
Note the following
To create PDF files for your printer, use Distiller, not PDF Writer.
To view or perform limited editing of your PDF files, you or your printer will use the Exchange module.
Other modules allow creative use of Acrobat. For example, Acrobat Catalog allows the creation of full text indexes searchable with Acrobat Search.
You may have programs that include a "Save to PDF" function. These programs either incorporate Acrobat software or direct the file to an Acrobat program installed on your computer or network.
Don't confuse the full suite of Acrobat products, which retails for $295, with the Acrobat Reader module, which is available free on the Internet and allows file viewing only.