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Create Universally Readable PDFs

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  • Ray Shapp
    Hi Notetabbers, I want to create PDF files from Word documents that are universally readable. My Google searches bring up lots of references to making PDFs
    Message 1 of 12 , Jan 31, 2012
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      Hi Notetabbers,

      I want to create PDF files from Word documents that are universally
      readable. My Google searches bring up lots of references to making PDFs
      that are accessible to visually handicapped users, but I didn't see any
      advice on software that will create PDFs that are readable by a wide
      variety of Acrobat Reader versions.

      The problem came up because one member of our club had trouble opening a
      one-page flyer at:

      www.asterism.org/events/Mars
      2012-03-10.pdf<http://www.asterism.org/events/Mars%202012-03-10.pdf>

      Checking "Properties" of that file, the "Size on disk" is 880 KB (901,120
      bytes).

      The member claims his software/hardware PC setup is very old, and that I
      have used a PDF creator that is incompatible with his equipment. He is
      unwilling to upgrade the free Adobe Reader or any other part of his setup.
      Prior to this instance, it was my belief that PDF files were universally
      readable by all versions of Adobe Reader.

      My question: do you have experience with an application that will create
      PDF files from DOC files that can be read on PCs by older versions of Adobe
      Reader as well as more current versions?

      Thanks for the help.

      Ray Shapp


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Don
      I use PDF reDirect. It is essentially a printer to pdf format. Like it a lot. Nobody has ever claimed that they can t open my stuff. In his case copy and
      Message 2 of 12 , Jan 31, 2012
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        I use PDF reDirect. It is essentially a printer to pdf format. Like it
        a lot. Nobody has ever claimed that they can't open my stuff.

        In his case copy and paste plain text.

        On 1/31/2012 3:20 PM, Ray Shapp wrote:
        > My question: do you have experience with an application that will create
        > PDF files from DOC files that can be read on PCs by older versions of Adobe
        > Reader as well as more current versions?
      • Ray Shapp
        Hi Don, Thanks for the reply. I ve been using PDFCrerator for years with no complaint. Like reDirect, it also acts
        Message 3 of 12 , Jan 31, 2012
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          Hi Don,

          Thanks for the reply.

          I've been using PDFCrerator
          <http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/>for years with no
          complaint. Like reDirect, it also acts as a selectable
          printer from within Word.

          I did read that the standard for PDF files has changed several times over
          the years. So my question is directed to Notetabbers who may have
          experienced comparability issues with PDF files and who have solved the
          problem. Prior to the current instance, I always thought the PDF standard
          was always backwards compatible.

          Plain text won't work because the file is a color flyer with graphics.

          Thanks again.

          Ray Shapp


          On Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 3:35 PM, Don <don@...> wrote:

          > **
          >
          >
          > I use PDF reDirect. It is essentially a printer to pdf format. Like it
          > a lot. Nobody has ever claimed that they can't open my stuff.
          >
          > In his case copy and paste plain text.
          >
          >
          > On 1/31/2012 3:20 PM, Ray Shapp wrote:
          > > My question: do you have experience with an application that will create
          > > PDF files from DOC files that can be read on PCs by older versions of
          > Adobe
          > > Reader as well as more current versions?
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Axel Berger
          ... This one I can empathise with. I too object to permanent updating and new for being new s sake when my existing setup does all I want and the new version
          Message 4 of 12 , Jan 31, 2012
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            Ray Shapp wrote:
            > He is unwilling to upgrade the free Adobe Reader or
            > any other part of his setup.

            This one I can empathise with. I too object to permanent updating and
            new for being new's sake when my existing setup does all I want and the
            new version has no conceivable benfit for my needs. This is why I
            customarily write PDF 1.2 and occasionally test with the Adobe reader
            version 3 under Windows 3.11.

            Your example is not bad though, it is version 1.4 for Reader 5.0. You
            might have made the huge image a bit smaller at no perceivable loss, but
            that's not the issue here. You might try your member on
            <http://berger-odenthal.de/upload/V12.pdf>. I ran my batch "mk2" over
            it:

            ----------------------------------------------
            @ echo off
            iff "%1" == "" then
            echo Parameters: Source [Destination without EXT] /or/ ALL
            GOTO finish
            endiff
            set path=F:\Winutil\ghost\gs8.71\lib;F:\Winutil\ghost\gs8.71\bin;%path%
            iff "%1" = "all" then
            REM echo %path%
            echo process all
            mkdir V12
            FOR %d IN (*.pdf) DO CALL ps2pdf12.bat %d V12\%d
            else
            REM echo on
            REM echo %path%
            call ps2pdf12.bat %1 %@IF["%2 " GT " ",%temp%\%2.pdf,%temp%\12-%1]
            endiff
            :finish
            pause Fertig - press a key
            ----------------------------------------------

            The batch is written for 4DOS and uses ghostscript.

            > Prior to this instance, it was my belief that PDF files were
            > universally readable by all versions of Adobe Reader.
            > My question: do you have experience with an application that
            > will create PDF files from DOC files

            New versions introduced new features, some of them useful. I convert
            Microsoft to PDF with openOffice, but that too only writes version 1.4,
            so the tool of choice is ghostscript. You can get a graphic interface
            through Ghostview, but it is not particularly easy to use and I find the
            command line much easier.

            By the way: spaces in filenames are evil, especially when using command
            line tools. Don't do it.

            Axel

            --
            Dipl.-Ing. F. Axel Berger Tel: +49/ 2174/ 7439 07
            Johann-Häck-Str. 14 Fax: +49/ 2174/ 7439 68
            D-51519 Odenthal-Heide eMail: Axel-Berger@...
            Deutschland (Germany) http://berger-odenthal.de
          • Ray Shapp
            Thanks for the reply, Axel. Ray Shapp ... [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            Message 5 of 12 , Jan 31, 2012
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              Thanks for the reply, Axel.

              Ray Shapp


              On Tue, Jan 31, 2012 at 8:17 PM, Axel Berger <Axel-Berger@...> wrote:

              > **
              >
              >
              > Ray Shapp wrote:
              > > He is unwilling to upgrade the free Adobe Reader or
              > > any other part of his setup.
              >
              > This one I can empathise with. I too object to permanent updating and
              > new for being new's sake when my existing setup does all I want and the
              > new version has no conceivable benfit for my needs. This is why I
              > customarily write PDF 1.2 and occasionally test with the Adobe reader
              > version 3 under Windows 3.11.
              >
              > Your example is not bad though, it is version 1.4 for Reader 5.0. You
              > might have made the huge image a bit smaller at no perceivable loss, but
              > that's not the issue here. You might try your member on
              > <http://berger-odenthal.de/upload/V12.pdf>. I ran my batch "mk2" over
              > it:
              >
              > ----------------------------------------------
              > @ echo off
              > iff "%1" == "" then
              > echo Parameters: Source [Destination without EXT] /or/ ALL
              > GOTO finish
              > endiff
              > set path=F:\Winutil\ghost\gs8.71\lib;F:\Winutil\ghost\gs8.71\bin;%path%
              > iff "%1" = "all" then
              > REM echo %path%
              > echo process all
              > mkdir V12
              > FOR %d IN (*.pdf) DO CALL ps2pdf12.bat %d V12\%d
              > else
              > REM echo on
              > REM echo %path%
              > call ps2pdf12.bat %1 %@IF["%2 " GT " ",%temp%\%2.pdf,%temp%\12-%1]
              > endiff
              > :finish
              > pause Fertig - press a key
              > ----------------------------------------------
              >
              > The batch is written for 4DOS and uses ghostscript.
              >
              >
              > > Prior to this instance, it was my belief that PDF files were
              > > universally readable by all versions of Adobe Reader.
              > > My question: do you have experience with an application that
              > > will create PDF files from DOC files
              >
              > New versions introduced new features, some of them useful. I convert
              > Microsoft to PDF with openOffice, but that too only writes version 1.4,
              > so the tool of choice is ghostscript. You can get a graphic interface
              > through Ghostview, but it is not particularly easy to use and I find the
              > command line much easier.
              >
              > By the way: spaces in filenames are evil, especially when using command
              > line tools. Don't do it.
              >
              > Axel
              >
              > --
              > Dipl.-Ing. F. Axel Berger Tel: +49/ 2174/ 7439 07
              > Johann-H�ck-Str. 14 Fax: +49/ 2174/ 7439 68
              > D-51519 Odenthal-Heide eMail: Axel-Berger@...
              > Deutschland (Germany) http://berger-odenthal.de
              >
              >
              >


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Axel Berger
              ... I m curious: Can your member read my version 1.2 file? If so, do you need any help in setting up ghostscript? N.B: The newer is always better brigade
              Message 6 of 12 , Feb 6, 2012
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                Ray Shapp wrote:
                > Thanks for the reply, Axel.

                I'm curious: Can your member read my version 1.2 file? If so, do you
                need any help in setting up ghostscript?

                N.B: The "newer is always better" brigade chide me for writing that old
                format, noting that the newer ones can result in smaller files. They're
                right, I've seen differences up to 30 %. On the other hand, although my
                conversion to a lower version sometimes makes files bigger, in other
                cases filesizes may be halved. Far more bloat is due to sloppy
                programming than to outdated procedures and going for the newest and
                brightest files size tends to be the one thing losing its importance
                fastest.

                Axel

                --
                Dipl.-Ing. F. Axel Berger Tel: +49/ 2174/ 7439 07
                Johann-Häck-Str. 14 Fax: +49/ 2174/ 7439 68
                D-51519 Odenthal-Heide eMail: Axel-Berger@...
                Deutschland (Germany) http://berger-odenthal.de
              • Ray Shapp
                Hi Axel and others, I discovered that the club member who was unable to read the PDF file wasn t allowing sufficient time for the file to download. Actual size
                Message 7 of 12 , Feb 7, 2012
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                  Hi Axel and others,

                  I discovered that the club member who was unable to read the PDF file
                  wasn't allowing sufficient time for the file to download. Actual size is
                  878KB. In one attempt, he downloaded about 600KB. In another try, he
                  downloaded a little more. No version of the Adobe Reader will render either
                  of the partially downloaded files.

                  <<do you need any help in setting up ghostscript?>>
                  >

                  In view of the fact that the problem has evaporated (I hand-delivered to
                  him a complete file), I will decline your generous offer.

                  Thanks again.

                  Ray Shapp


                  On Mon, Feb 6, 2012 at 12:49 PM, Axel Berger <Axel-Berger@...> wrote:

                  > **
                  >
                  >
                  > Ray Shapp wrote:
                  > > Thanks for the reply, Axel.
                  >
                  > I'm curious: Can your member read my version 1.2 file? If so, do you
                  > need any help in setting up ghostscript?
                  >
                  > N.B: The "newer is always better" brigade chide me for writing that old
                  > format, noting that the newer ones can result in smaller files. They're
                  > right, I've seen differences up to 30 %. On the other hand, although my
                  > conversion to a lower version sometimes makes files bigger, in other
                  > cases filesizes may be halved. Far more bloat is due to sloppy
                  > programming than to outdated procedures and going for the newest and
                  > brightest files size tends to be the one thing losing its importance
                  > fastest.
                  >
                  >
                  > Axel
                  >
                  > --
                  > Dipl.-Ing. F. Axel Berger Tel: +49/ 2174/ 7439 07
                  > Johann-H�ck-Str. 14 Fax: +49/ 2174/ 7439 68
                  > D-51519 Odenthal-Heide eMail: Axel-Berger@...
                  > Deutschland (Germany) http://berger-odenthal.de
                  >
                  >
                  >


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Axel Berger
                  ... Ah well, that leads me back to my other side remark. Try another PDF writer, OpenOffice is not bad and reads Word.doc. Looking closely your Mars image
                  Message 8 of 12 , Feb 7, 2012
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                    Ray Shapp wrote:
                    > he downloaded about 600KB.

                    Ah well, that leads me back to my other side remark. Try another PDF
                    writer, OpenOffice is not bad and reads Word.doc.

                    Looking closely your Mars image originally was rather small and low
                    resolution to begin with, I'd guess something less than 40 kB. It ought
                    not to add more than its original size to the resulting PDF. Could you
                    make the original DOC available?

                    Axel

                    --
                    Dipl.-Ing. F. Axel Berger Tel: +49/ 2174/ 7439 07
                    Johann-Häck-Str. 14 Fax: +49/ 2174/ 7439 68
                    D-51519 Odenthal-Heide eMail: Axel-Berger@...
                    Deutschland (Germany) http://berger-odenthal.de
                  • Ray Shapp
                    Hi Axel, ... The original DOC file is now available at: www.asterism.org/events/Mars
                    Message 9 of 12 , Feb 7, 2012
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                      Hi Axel,

                      <<Could you make the original DOC available?>>
                      >

                      The original DOC file is now available at:

                      www.asterism.org/events/Mars
                      2012-03-10.doc<http://www.asterism.org/events/Mars%202012-03-10.doc>

                      File size is 1.1MB. Please LMK when you have downloaded it because I want
                      to remove it from the website.

                      Please note that this document was produced by one of the club members who
                      will be presenting a lecture at the event. It is not my original work. I
                      avoided making any except the most necessary changes before posting. Some
                      authors have* less than full appreciation* for my help!

                      Ray Shapp


                      On Tue, Feb 7, 2012 at 8:14 AM, Axel Berger <Axel-Berger@...> wrote:

                      > **
                      >
                      >
                      > Ray Shapp wrote:
                      > > he downloaded about 600KB.
                      >
                      > Ah well, that leads me back to my other side remark. Try another PDF
                      > writer, OpenOffice is not bad and reads Word.doc.
                      >
                      > Looking closely your Mars image originally was rather small and low
                      > resolution to begin with, I'd guess something less than 40 kB. It ought
                      > not to add more than its original size to the resulting PDF. Could you
                      > make the original DOC available?
                      >
                      >
                      > Axel
                      >
                      > --
                      > Dipl.-Ing. F. Axel Berger Tel: +49/ 2174/ 7439 07
                      > Johann-H�ck-Str. 14 Fax: +49/ 2174/ 7439 68
                      > D-51519 Odenthal-Heide eMail: Axel-Berger@...
                      > Deutschland (Germany) http://berger-odenthal.de
                      >
                      >
                      >


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Axel Berger
                      ... This is one more example that Docs don t travel, it looks much different from your original here, mostly due to a lack of fonts. Copying the image I find
                      Message 10 of 12 , Feb 7, 2012
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                        Ray Shapp wrote:
                        > File size is 1.1MB.

                        This is one more example that Docs don't travel, it looks much different
                        from your original here, mostly due to a lack of fonts. Copying the
                        image I find it is clearly blown up from a much smaller one (seemingly
                        by a factor of five). That author is obviously (searching for an
                        acceptable euphemism) less than an expert in document creation. He may
                        have picked up that graphics ought to be 300 dpi or more and has not
                        grasped that just blowing up a raster image does not raise the true
                        resolution one bit.

                        Even so, opening the Doc in OpenOffice and saving as PDF, changing
                        nothing except specifying embedding images as 90 % quality Jpeg (at 90 %
                        artefacts stay invisible to me) I come up with a PDF version 1.4 of file
                        size 165 kB.

                        I recommend ditching PDF creator and going for Open Office.

                        Axel

                        --
                        Dipl.-Ing. F. Axel Berger Tel: +49/ 2174/ 7439 07
                        Johann-Häck-Str. 14 Fax: +49/ 2174/ 7439 68
                        D-51519 Odenthal-Heide eMail: Axel-Berger@...
                        Deutschland (Germany) http://berger-odenthal.de
                      • Ray Shapp
                        Hi Axel and others, On your advice, I have installed Open Office 3. Wow! The document renders very differently in Writer. Text boxes overlap. The graphic is
                        Message 11 of 12 , Feb 7, 2012
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                          Hi Axel and others,

                          On your advice, I have installed Open Office 3.

                          Wow! The document renders very differently in Writer. Text boxes overlap.
                          The graphic is not centered. Other details that I don't see yet may have
                          changed. Such distortions will be a big problem for me because I receive
                          Word documents from many sources for posting on the website. Also, the
                          style for showing "tracked changes" differs greatly from the Microsoft
                          convention. Most of my authors use various versions of Word.

                          I am impressed, however, by the huge saving of file space in the exported
                          PDF. It is a ten to one reduction from the original Word document and a
                          five to one savings compared to the PDF I had produced using PDF creator. I
                          wonder whether this new PDF file is readable by the most current Adobe
                          Reader and earlier versions of it going back at least as far as version 6.


                          <<That author is obviously (searching for an acceptable euphemism) less
                          > than an expert in document creation>>
                          >

                          To be charitable, I'll say he is well versed in planetary science.


                          I hope no one objects to this extended conversation on this Y! group.

                          Again, thank you for your help.

                          Ray Shapp


                          On Tue, Feb 7, 2012 at 1:26 PM, Axel Berger <Axel-Berger@...> wrote:

                          > **
                          >
                          >
                          > Ray Shapp wrote:
                          > > File size is 1.1MB.
                          >
                          > This is one more example that Docs don't travel, it looks much different
                          > from your original here, mostly due to a lack of fonts. Copying the
                          > image I find it is clearly blown up from a much smaller one (seemingly
                          > by a factor of five). That author is obviously (searching for an
                          > acceptable euphemism) less than an expert in document creation. He may
                          > have picked up that graphics ought to be 300 dpi or more and has not
                          > grasped that just blowing up a raster image does not raise the true
                          > resolution one bit.
                          >
                          > Even so, opening the Doc in OpenOffice and saving as PDF, changing
                          > nothing except specifying embedding images as 90 % quality Jpeg (at 90 %
                          > artefacts stay invisible to me) I come up with a PDF version 1.4 of file
                          > size 165 kB.
                          >
                          > I recommend ditching PDF creator and going for Open Office.
                          >
                          >
                          > Axel
                          >
                          > --
                          > Dipl.-Ing. F. Axel Berger Tel: +49/ 2174/ 7439 07
                          > Johann-H�ck-Str. 14 Fax: +49/ 2174/ 7439 68
                          > D-51519 Odenthal-Heide eMail: Axel-Berger@...
                          > Deutschland (Germany) http://berger-odenthal.de
                          >
                          >
                          >


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Axel Berger
                          ... Yes, it s an exceptionally bad case. Mostly documents can be read without flaws, but Word is known for that problem even between different Word
                          Message 12 of 12 , Feb 7, 2012
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                            Ray Shapp wrote:
                            > Wow! The document renders very differently in Writer.
                            > Text boxes overlap. The graphic is not centered.

                            Yes, it's an exceptionally bad case. Mostly documents can be read
                            without flaws, but Word is known for that problem even between different
                            Word installations, sometimes a different installed printer suffices. I
                            tried Microsoft Office 2003 just now, and while better it does not
                            render like your PDF.

                            Doc is a raw format for work in progress, no exchange format for
                            finished documents, but Microsoft users will never get that.

                            > I wonder whether this new PDF file is readable by the most
                            > current Adobe Reader and earlier versions of it going back at
                            > least as far as version 6.

                            An unqualified yes. It's version 1.4 for Readers 5 and up and I've never
                            found OO-written pdfs to give any trouble in any reader. The same is not
                            true for one generated by Adobe programs, like Microsoft they don't feel
                            much bound by their own documented standards.

                            Axel

                            --
                            Dipl.-Ing. F. Axel Berger Tel: +49/ 2174/ 7439 07
                            Johann-Häck-Str. 14 Fax: +49/ 2174/ 7439 68
                            D-51519 Odenthal-Heide eMail: Axel-Berger@...
                            Deutschland (Germany) http://berger-odenthal.de
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