In collaboration with Wiley Publishing, we have hosted a promotional contest to give away eight copies of the "Adobe Acrobat 7 PDF Bible" book by Ted Padova during the past month. Our judges have put their thinking caps on and come up with what they think were the 8 most innovative uses of PDF. This contest is now closed.
Shawn S. Altorio
Lease Consultants Corporation
A: In the equipment finance industry, the contract is at the center of the transaction. For a long time we created our contract in Word at our location, then just used PDF as the container to send it, until recently.
Kilbaha Multimedia Publishing
A: I developed a PDF document based on a printed catalog or price list in which prices and informations (texts, values, etc.) can be edited and updated by the document administrator (this function is limited by password) and data can be sent by email so that each customer, reseller, point of sale can have the same document but with different information (prices for example).
The same document can be distributed with some information hidden or some functions disabled and this can be "activated" with password. The document can be used to compile order forms directly with a click on the product image and can drive the user during "configuration" of complex products. Everything using Acrobat Reader, and the internet connection only to send data and orders.
SMART Management Inc.
A: Our company is in the project management training and mentoring business. We use interactive PDF's to distribute our knowledge capital to our customers. Our customers then place these PDF's in their internal environment and allow access to this knowledge capital via their intranet. So what's so interesting about this?
The copying and printing of our knowledge capital can be managed throughthe security fuctionality of Adobe but we want our customers to be able to print but not necessarily all of the context of the documents. Our documents include a variety of diagrams/graphics and so we have made them as rollovers. You read the document on the screen, there is a button indicating a diagram, it rollsover the text, but if they print they don't get the diagrams - not full proof but reasonable protection for our intellectual property.
IT Project Development
SS&G Financial Services, Inc.
A: Our Tax Department is using the Enable Commenting in Reader feature. As part of the old workflow from Preparer to Final Reviewer, the employees would use different color highlighters, paperclips, and post-it notes to indicate changes to be made, corrected changes, who made the changes, etc. Now, using the Commenting feature found in Acrobat Pro 7, the Preparers produce a tax return for a client and convert it to PDF. As the return goes through the approval process, Managers and Reviewers can mark up areas to correct on the return using the tools in Reader, including being able to attach an audio file with instructions! There is also a place to update the status of the correction, and each comment is hyperlinked, so there is no delay in getting to a particular area.
D'Oily Boid Enterprises
A: In 2004, I was enrolled in a post-graduate secondary education credential program at Cal State Northridge. One of the program requirements is to compile a professional development portfolio with samples from one's classroom teaching experiences. Traditionally, students have been compiling these monstrous, paper-based works in binders with plastic page protectors and the like. A few students would include CDs with PowerPoint presentations of classroom visuals or lessons, and once in a while, a bulky VHS tape of their teaching in the classroom.
On the other hand, I chose to enlighten students and faculty alike with the wonders of a "paperless" portfolio. All of my written work was converted into PDF format from WordPerfect or other programs using Acrobat 6.0 Pro. Additionally, with the aid of Acrobat's built-in linking features, I was also able to incorporate PowerPoint projects, high-resolution graphics, and audio and video clips edited within my laptop environment. And then to deliver the entire project on a single CD in a slim jewel case weighing just a few grams, compared with some students who brought in multiple binders weighing ten pounds or more.
But, the piece d' resistance was my portfolio for a "Computers in Instruction" course during the summer of 2004. CSUN has a top-notch Instructional Technology program. But apparently no student to come through that program had ever demonstrated the power of Acrobat. At least not before I took this class. The professor was simply amazed at how simple it was to view my portfolio (136 pages total, and a good 20% larger than most other students' projects) by simply following either the bookmarks embedded in the document or the cursor links on the Table of Contents page. Once again, I incorporated high-res graphics, PowerPoint presentations, audio clips, and more. And all this was delivered for final grading on a Lexar Jump Drive! I even included a grading page with form fields to record the grades and compute the total score (which the instructor could not fully utilize because he only had the use of Adobe Reader). Naturally, the instructor rushed out and bought a copy of Acrobat 6.0 Pro for himself after he witnessed, first hand, the power and convenience of Acrobat PDF!
Eduardo F. Cidade, Sr.
Director, Internal Evaluation and Safety Audit Programs
US Airways Safety Department
A: For several years now, US Airways through it's Flight Operations Department and MidAtlantic Airways, a wholly-owned Division, has incorporated operating manuals into an Electronic Library solely based on Adobe's FrameMaker, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat product lines.
Documentation is produced in FrameMaker, rendered to Acrobat, and printed through the US Airways print shop for quick printing and distribution to pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, etc. The process to get the information to the print shop is also electronic with file transfer accommodated through the use of Acrobat.
In turn, this paper-based documentation is mimmicked electronically with navigation buttons, searchable index (indices), cross-references to other manuals, tables of contents, all through the use of FrameMaker-to-Acrobat.
The end result: Paper is still required per FAA regulation but the audience for paper is limited only to those requiring same (flight deck, cabin, etc.). All others? They can use the electronic version through several venues:
- It is housed on a company-wide server (search capability works)....
- It is launched through a web browser (search capability fails)....
- It can be launched through CD-ROM offering portability on any MS Windows-based platform.
Bonus: By limiting the paper-based audience to those only on a Need-to-Know-Basis and requiring all others to view documentation electronically, US Airways has saved millions of dollars and has cut the use of paper dramatically.
Expert Judging Panel
Developer Evangelist, Intelligent Documents Business Unit
Adobe Systems Incorporated
As Developer Evangelist in the Intelligent Documents Business Unit, Lori DeFurio is responsible for evangelizing Adobe to the company's vast developer community, with a specific focus on advancing Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) and its use in conjunction with XML to streamline data exchange in the enterprise document workflow. Over her more than 20-year career, DeFurio has focused on the technical document publishing industry, specifically working with document-based workflows and data exchange or conversion.
DeFurio is an Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) on Acrobat, Adobe's eForms solutions and FrameMaker, and she speaks frequently at PDF Conferences throughout the world.
Claudia McCue has channeled more than 20 years of traditional and digital prepress production experience into her current incarnation as a consultant and trainer for the graphic arts industry. She provides custom onsite training for a national U.S. client base of design firms, printing companies and marketing professionals, and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, concentrating on Adobe Acrobat and InDesign.