RE: Editing .pdfs - to do or not to do is the question

Subject: RE: Editing .pdfs - to do or not to do is the question
From: Mailing List <mlist -at- ca -dot- rainbow -dot- com>
To: 'Johan Hiemstra' <webmaster -at- techexams -dot- net>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2004 10:04:16 -0500

Johan Hiemstra [mailto:webmaster -at- techexams -dot- net] suggested:
> I would say: don't. Keeping two version of the same doc in different
> format, edited by different people, itself is not a sound idea. Apart
> from the fact that editing a PDF is usually not very easy without
> messing up the doc. I provide free e-books in PDF format, and
> was hoping
> that editing PDFs would have become easier in Acrobat 6.0 Pro... it
> didn't. Perhaps I lack the skills to work with Acrobat
> properly, but for
> me it is ten times quicker to edit the word doc and generate a new PDF
> than to edit the PDF 'and' the source doc.

Same here. I never took Shlomo's courses, so I never learned
the magic of PDF-massage.

My know-nuthing experience (which would match that of anybody
around our company who would likely touch my PDFs) is that
if you change more than a few words in a line, here and there,
the PDF turns to mush. Pagination and related stuff suffers.
Many changes that are suggested for my docs involve whole
paragraphs (add/remove/move-20-pages-over) -- they're not all
one-word adjustments.

My experience with comparing PDFs has never been satisfactory,
since there's usually a pagination-altering change in the first
few pages, so the compared documents never line up. I routinely
have 27 pages of blankness (well it's not blank, but it has
all those mysterious pink-line frames that imply a difference
was detected, but nothing but empty space within the outlines)
as Acrobat attempts to make the old and new files line up,
somehow. But after the first major difference or two, it
never lines up again, thus spoiling any hope of doing a side-by-side
visual comparison.

SO THEN... if somebody wanted to edit PDFs in my workflow, I'd
say "More power to 'em", but they'll have to do it in a way
that basically duplicates Frame changebars or Word track changes.
That is, write your new text in red, modify any text that is
deleted or replaced by making it red strike-through.

And I'll go back to my Frame or Word (etc.) source and put
in changes to comply with your edits. Never should a modified
PDF exist that:

a) did not come from me
b) looks "natural" (i.e., without blatant "this has changed"


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