PDF In-Depth

'PDF for Graphic Arts: Who Benefits?'

January 11, 2001

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With Acrobat and its Portable Document Format (PDF), Adobe Systems has done a wonderful job creating a high potency communication environment for displaying and processing documents that are rich in graphic arts content. But Adobe has not been as good enunciating its benefits to the marketplace. There are wins here at every step in the document life cycle. And taken as a whole, they add up to an awesome advantage over other current workflows. These benefits contribute to shorter production cycles, reduced costs, better utilization of equipment and personnel, and better responsiveness to your customers.

Acrobat RGBFirst, let's look at the basic capabilities provided by Acrobat and PDF. Acrobat is a multi-platform approach. Acrobat runs on all the major computer platforms. Adobe's "free" Reader policy implies that almost everyone with a computer can review PDF documents. Based on download statistics, the number of installed Readers passed the 10-million mark last year. But for professional usage, fully licensed Acrobat (referred to as Acrobat Exchange for version 3.0 and earlier) is strongly recommended.

Acrobat PDF documents have many useful traits. They can be created from virtually any desktop application. Creators can use their favorite programs to make PDFs. Also, legacy documents, i. e., paper archives, can be converted to PDF format for on-line viewing and searching. And being a digital format, PDF documents can take advantage of the speed and cost advantages of electronic delivery as compared to surface mail or couriers.

The PDF page content can be as creative as you like, including very large and very small pages. It can contain the most sophisticated combinations of colored images, graphics, and text, even support for Far Eastern languages. These properties imply that any organization can use PDF documents to project and maintain its identity through visual formats. Also, the PDF document format allows for many different types of links, annotations, and actions. This allows PDF documents to range from all print formats to fill-in forms, to presentations, to entire interactive applications. As a result PDF is the only true format that transcends print, to include CD-ROM and Internet usage.

Additionally, Adobe has set up Acrobat and the PDF format in a way that encourages developer extensions. An example of this is Lantana's PDF Bellhop, which allows document creators to embed any type of source file within the PDF. Not only can recipients use the PDF for printing, but they can also review supporting materials or recreate sections that are problematic. But the main implication is that wherever Adobe's standard offering does not address a real need, there will be a third party plug-in to cover it.

Acrobat is a bargain. When you consider its power and versatility and compare it with what you have paid for proprietary systems in the past, you couldn't ask for a better deal.

So how does all this translate to benefits for the publishing and printing industries? PDF offers one integrated format for display, preflight, proofing, editing, archiving, transport, and printing. Unlike PostScript, it allows random access to pages and a simple, fast, and reliable method of describing page content.

With Acrobat and its Portable Document Format (PDF), Adobe Systems has done a wonderful job creating a high potency communication environment for displaying and processing documents that are rich in graphic arts content. But Adobe has not been as good enunciating its benefits to the marketplace. There are wins here at every step in the document life cycle. And taken as a whole, they add up to an awesome advantage over other current workflows. These benefits contribute to shorter production cycles, reduced costs, better utilization of equipment and personnel, and better responsiveness to your customers.

Acrobat RGBFirst, let's look at the basic capabilities provided by Acrobat and PDF. Acrobat is a multi-platform approach. Acrobat runs on all the major computer platforms. Adobe's "free" Reader policy implies that almost everyone with a computer can review PDF documents. Based on download statistics, the number of installed Readers passed the 10-million mark last year. But for professional usage, fully licensed Acrobat (referred to as Acrobat Exchange for version 3.0 and earlier) is strongly recommended.

Acrobat PDF documents have many useful traits. They can be created from virtually any desktop application. Creators can use their favorite programs to make PDFs. Also, legacy documents, i. e., paper archives, can be converted to PDF format for on-line viewing and searching. And being a digital format, PDF documents can take advantage of the speed and cost advantages of electronic delivery as compared to surface mail or couriers.

The PDF page content can be as creative as you like, including very large and very small pages. It can contain the most sophisticated combinations of colored images, graphics, and text, even support for Far Eastern languages. These properties imply that any organization can use PDF documents to project and maintain its identity through visual formats. Also, the PDF document format allows for many different types of links, annotations, and actions. This allows PDF documents to range from all print formats to fill-in forms, to presentations, to entire interactive applications. As a result PDF is the only true format that transcends print, to include CD-ROM and Internet usage.

Additionally, Adobe has set up Acrobat and the PDF format in a way that encourages developer extensions. An example of this is Lantana's PDF Bellhop, which allows document creators to embed any type of source file within the PDF. Not only can recipients use the PDF for printing, but they can also review supporting materials or recreate sections that are problematic. But the main implication is that wherever Adobe's standard offering does not address a real need, there will be a third party plug-in to cover it.

Acrobat is a bargain. When you consider its power and versatility and compare it with what you have paid for proprietary systems in the past, you couldn't ask for a better deal.

So how does all this translate to benefits for the publishing and printing industries? PDF offers one integrated format for display, preflight, proofing, editing, archiving, transport, and printing. Unlike PostScript, it allows random access to pages and a simple, fast, and reliable method of describing page content.

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