RE: .pdf vs. .html

Subject: RE: .pdf vs. .html
From: "Anne Woolson" <anne -dot- woolson -at- rimage -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 2009 08:37:48 -0500

Thanks everyone for their responses. Just to clarify a couple things:

We currently use InDesign for 90% of our documentation. Word 07 for the
remaining 10%. I did try the automatic .html converter in InDesign, but
the result was a formatting nightmare.

We would still have to also create .pdfs for print. Though all of our
documents are now distributed online or on a disc.

I have been able to open a .pdf from a URL using the #page= tag, but
haven't had any success using the #nameddest= tag. Is the named
destination the same as the bookmark title?

FYI to quills -at- airmail -dot- net - I am the web developer too, so communicating
tag names won't be a problem.

Anne Woolson Quinlan
Supervisor, Technical Publications


Message: 22
Date: Mon, 28 Sep 2009 15:09:31 -0500
From: quills -at- airmail -dot- net
Subject: Re: .pdf vs. .html
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com >> TECHWR-L"
<techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Message-ID: <4AC117FB -dot- 6070502 -at- airmail -dot- net>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

Further, what type of graphics do you need to have accompany the
document? Does the user want to print sections? Is there a compelling
reason to switch other than someone in management wants to?

Searching is going to be a problem. Even if you reconfigure to an HTML
help format you still can have search issues.

How are the documents distributed?

How much time to you have to analyze your document structure and design
a CSS for HTML? Are they willing to eat the time and money to do so? Are

they willing to accept a lesser level of design and layout?

As to linking to a specific point in a PDF document, yes you can do that

if the link is to a named destination in the PDF. Which means you need a

better understanding of PDF and a procedure to do this as well as to
communicate those named destinations to your web developers.


Robert Lauriston wrote:
> Acrobat Reader can handle URLs to bookmarks:
> What's your source format?
> Generally, HTML makes more sense for online use, but PDF is better for
> downloading for offline use. Some places do only PDF, some only HTML,
> some both.
> I always produce a PDF, even if it's not distributed to customers, as
> it's more convenient for printing and some kinds of searches.
> On Mon, Sep 28, 2009 at 6:22 AM, Anne Woolson
<anne -dot- woolson -at- rimage -dot- com> wrote:
>> Hello,
>> My company is wanting to move away from posting our documentation as
>> .PDFs on our support site, and move to presenting them in .HTML. I'm
>> at all thrilled with this idea, especially since our user manuals are
>> long (300+ pages) and heavily formatted. I think this will be a
>> nightmare to do initially and equally bad (or worse) to maintain.
>> Can anyone tell me what the industry standard really is? And any
>> as to what formats are going to be useful in the future? Is there a
>> consensus on what is the right format to be using for online
>> presentation?
>> One point I can't answer is - is there a way to have an html link on
>> web page jump to a specific bookmark in a .pdf? If so, that may solve
>> problem outright.


Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers developing Table of
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2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.

Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
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