Re: Can you figure out what tools produced a PDF?

Subject: Re: Can you figure out what tools produced a PDF?
From: Tony Chung <tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca>
To: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- polycom -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2011 12:33:17 -0800

On Thu, Dec 8, 2011 at 8:08 AM, Tony Chung <tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca> wrote {
A BLANK MESSAGE!!! With quoted conversation
}


Sorry all. Itchy iPhone Send finger. I took some time to collect my
thoughts, partake in a couple of meetings, and get a coffee.

I was just going to add that PDF creators are not created equal, and may be
completely separate from the authoring and design applications. For
instance, all Adobe products export to PDF. Microsoft added PDF export.
DITA and DocBook publish to PDF. However, the way products export from
their systems to PDF vary distinctly in features, even the same vendor
application across multiple platforms.

My personal pet peeve: When I worked entirely in Windows, Office 20XX
exported to PDF and gave options to create bookmarks from headings. Also,
it maintained any hyperlinks to external sites, and internal references.
This all changed when I moved to a Mac-based company, where even the latest
Office 2011 does not create bookmarks from headings. Apparently it's
because of a backroom licensing snag between Microsoft and Adobe, or more
rather, Adobe and Apple. After all, Apple has its own proprietary PDF
generator and reader, which does not provide this feature either.

The other pet peeve is that when exporting to PDF, I can't set the initial
view (even through VBA code), and the properties don't often transfer, at
least not on my work machine.

At another company we exported through Nitro PDF, which solved most of
these problems (properties, headings mapped to different levels), but the
initial view problem still remained.

So... while you can dissect a PDF file to extract the creator information,
there are chances that conscientious creators may have scrubbed or edited
the properties to better suit their needs. Maybe the best approach is XML
documentation output through a processing script.

-Tony
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Can you figure out what tools produced a PDF?: From: Nancy Allison
RE: Can you figure out what tools produced a PDF?: From: Combs, Richard
Re: Can you figure out what tools produced a PDF?: From: Tony Chung

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