Has anyone reviewed or edited using PDF marked up by Acrobat tool s?

Subject: Has anyone reviewed or edited using PDF marked up by Acrobat tool s?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 2 Jul 2003 09:10:23 -0400

Jean Hollis Weber wondered: <<Has anyone reviewed or edited documents using
PDF marked up in Adobe Acrobat, as an electronic equivalent of marking
printouts by hand?>>

I don't much like marking up PDF because in my job, I edit heavily
(substantive rather than light copyediting), and Acrobat simply isn't
designed to support such activities. You can do it, but it's painful. Worst
of all, the author can't easily incorporate heavy changes into the document;
they have to go back to the original application that created the PDF, make
the changes there, then recreate the PDF.

Given that this is what they'll have to do, ask them to send you the
original file for editing. You can then use standard revision tracking tools
to do the edits, and they can most easily incorporate the changes. If that's
not possible, and you have the full version of Acrobat, you can always save
the file as .rtf and open it in Word, then use Word's revision tracking
tools. Authors will still have to copy the changes manually into the
original document then redistill it, but at least you have access to Word's
powerful set of editing tools (macros, autotext, search and replace, custom
dictionaries, etc.).

<<Typical scenarios might be (1) the client is on the other side of the
world, so sending piles of paper by mail (or even faxing them) isn't
practical; (2) the reviewer or editor doesn't have the same software the
client is using, especially if many engineering diagrams or other graphics
are involved, so the reviewer is looking at more than text; >>

Saving in a mutually comprehensible format such as RTF often works well; for
example, that's how many commercial publishers exchange manuscripts when
authors use different software from editors. Even when neither program fully
supports the RTF format, you can still come up with a simple editing
conventions (e.g., underlining for insertions, strikethrough for deletions,
[ ] for comments) that will be preserved when the file is saved back to RTF.

Diagrams pose more of a problem, since it's difficult to annotate diagrams
properly even in the original graphics program. (Revision tracking is
largely nonexistent in typical graphics packages such as PhotoShop, though
you can fake it using layers and editable text.) But PDF is perfect for
annotating graphics: you won't be doing heavy modification of text, but
rather adding notes to point out things the graphics person should correct.
Acrobat excels at such notes.

<<(3) the editor is doing final copy proofreading of material to be

If they truly mean "proofing", the editing is likely to be light and PDF is
a good solution. But if you're not the person who did the original editing,
and they didn't bother hiring a good editor, you're likely to find yourself
in a situation where simple proofing won't be enough. In my experience,
"proofreading" is often client slang for "we didn't hire an editor, and we
just want you to correct the typos", which is an unpleasant situation in
which to find yourself. See above for how to handle this from the software

--Geoff Hart, geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada
580 boul. St-Jean
Pointe-Claire, Que., H9R 3J9 Canada

"I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my
telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my
telephone."--Bjarne Stronstrup (originator of C++ programming language)


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