The new PDFMaker
for Acrobat 4.0

The world's Acrobat users are about to be rewarded with an all new version. One of the significant features of Adobe® Acrobat® 4.0 is the new PDFMaker. We are lucky enough to be speaking with Anna Kjos, manager of the PDFMaker project at Adobe Systems Incorporated.

Q.1 Anna, can you give us a little more background about your role with Adobe Systems.

I am a Senior Product Manager for the Adobe Acrobat team. I'm excited for the opportunity to tell you about the excellent new advancements in PDFMaker for Acrobat 4.0.

Q.2 Well, thanks for giving us your time! PDFMaker really makes life easy for users making PDFs from Word. In fact, I remember the pre-PDFMaker days where bookmarks were done by hand as part of post processing, or battling with Visual Basic and Words pdfmark commands. Either way, PDFMaker wins hands down. I guess you can see I'm pretty keen on the automatic bookmarks and hyperlinks, what's your favourite feature in this much used tool.

I really appreciate how PDFMaker gives you a clear, one step method for creating rich PDF documents from Word. The "Create Adobe PDF" menu item under File just couldn't be easier.

Q.3 You probably get feature requests sent to you all the time. What's the craziest feature that anyone has ever asked for?

One type of feature request that I find a bit amusing is when customers ask us to make PDFMaker, annotations, and other highly useful features in Acrobat, available with the free Acrobat Reader.

Q.4 What's new in PDFMaker for Acrobat 4.0?

Acrobat 4.0 includes PDFMaker, a macro for Microsoft Word 97 and PowerPoint 97 which lets you easily convert documents and presentations into Adobe PDF. PDFMaker includes powerful features which optimize the PDF creation process from these applications, like the ability to convert headings and styles from a Word document into bookmarks in a PDF, links in a Word document into links in a PDF, and Summary information in a Word document to Document Information in a PDF.

During the development of PDFMaker for Acrobat 4.0, we focused on three key areas:

Improving the user interface
Supporting new features in Acrobat 4.0
Taking advantage of the new structure elements of Adobe PDF 1.3

A number of key changes were made to PDFMaker which make it easier to use. PDFMaker now gives you more feedback when Acrobat Distiller is processing a document, like percentage complete, because it takes advantage of Distiller's new COM interface. This lets you keep track of exactly where your document is in the conversion process. PDFMaker now uses the joboption settings in Acrobat Distiller, which means the user can control PDFMaker and Distiller at the same time using one user interface. This eliminated from PDFMaker three entire tabs of settings which duplicated settings in Distiller, but only affected the behavior of PDFMaker. And finally, the Bookmarks tab in PDFMaker, where you configure how headings in Word documents get converted to PDF bookmarks and the magnification of destination PDF links, has been streamlined making it much easier to use.

One key new feature of Acrobat 4.0 is support for custom page numbers. PDFMaker now maps page numbering styles in Word, such as Roman numerals for an introductory section or combination numbers, like 1.1.2, for an outline section, to corresponding numbers in the PDF document. In step with Adobe's focus on increasing Acrobat's functionality worldwide, PDFMaker is now localized for shipping with French and German languages of Acrobat.

With Acrobat 4.0, the Adobe PDF language has been updated to version 1.3. This new version of PDF has been enhanced to support structure elements. In the past, a PDF file has only contained information about the appearance of a PDF page. With Adobe PDF 1.3, a PDF file can contain not only information about how a PDF file should look, but also information about invisible structure elements, such as which items on a page PDF are headers, footers, paragraphs or tabs. By taking the information about these structure elements from Word and maintaining them in the PDF file, PDFMaker lets you create rich PDF files which may in the future, find numerous new uses. For example, making use of the new structure information in a PDF file, you can now develop an Acrobat plug-in which exports XML or other formats. Now that document markup is encoded in PDF files, a search plug-in could be written that would allow you to search only on content that is in headings or particular document sections.

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