Re: links in PDF docs

Subject: Re: links in PDF docs
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- SIMPLYWRITTEN -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 06:20:24 -0500

Uh, hold on there, Bobalooee.

>Think of Adobe Acrobat as a software scanning program, because that is
>essentially what it does. It doesn't care what kinds of links or embedded
>things you have hidden underneath the text, it takes a snapshot of whatever
>is on the page, and that is your PDF file. This is why it is so difficult
>convert a PDF to something else, because it is simply an image file. So,
>there is not a way, currently to keep links from the original text in the
>PDF file, except by manually putting them in. There may be some program out
>there that will insert the links after the fact, but none that I know of,
>and it still won't be Acrobat putting the links in by itself.

It's, like, real misleading to call Acrobat an image format. It ain't. No
way, hu-uh. It's true that PDF is essentially a one-way road, and no backing
up, but that isn't what the deal is here. It doesn't "take a snapshot" of
anything, least of all what's on the page, unless you're only dealing with
PDFWriter, which is just a standard printer driver. If you doubt me, insert
an EPS with a crummy header into a document and print with PDFWriter and
with a good, clean PostScript driver to a file that you'll distill with
Distiller. In the PDFWriter PDF, the header is all you see, and it's still
crummy. The distilled PDF will be clear and sharp, because it's the
PostScript part of the EPS you're seeing, not the header. No snapshots, but
PostScript interpretation.

In standard FrameMaker, Adobe has used its own "PDFMark", an embedded
PostScript command that comes out of Acrobat Distiller as a link. It's slick
as grease on glass; we use it all the time. Essentially, you just apply
Frame's own familiar commands, which are then interpreted as PDFMark on
their way out of Frame during printing to PostScript, which are THEN
distilled as links. Presto, automatic links. Change your Frame doc, push it
out to Distiller again, and the links are still there. It's not something
special in Frame's PostScript, but in Distiller's ability to interpret some
additional PDFMark/PostScript commands.

That's the good news. The bad news is that very few other applications can
do PDFMark just yet. To my knowledge Corel isn't one of them. PageMaker,
even though it's from Adobe also, doesn't do PDFMark either, sad to say. But
to do what Pia talks about, that's what it will take. I don't know why so
few other app makers have responded to PDFMark, but it's public (you can buy
books on how to hand-code it) and readily available. You CAN insert PDFMarks
by hand, but it's not fun to do; Exchange's interface is much easier. But
without PDFMark, you're stuck linking by hand. Sorry.

Tim Altom
Adobe Certified Expert, Acrobat
Simply Written, Inc.
The FrameMaker support people
Ask about Clustar Method training and consulting

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