Re: PDF to Word 97

Subject: Re: PDF to Word 97
From: Howard Kaikow <kaikow -at- STANDARDS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 1999 09:40:43 -0500

I thought that I had responded to the item below. Perhaps I did in the
newsgroup, but the gateway seems to be only 1-way, i.e., messages to the
list show up in the newsgroup, but not vice versa.

I do not recall stating that an RTF file might not have all the formatting
in a PDF file. Of course, converting between any two formats is always a

The RTF spec from MIcrosoft is not at all tightly specified. My years of
experience in standards would lead me to believe that there are a number of
incompatible RTF implementations. Indeed, Microsoft has had problems saving
a Word file as RTF and then re-importing back into Word. There have been KB
articles describing this problem. Dunno if Word 8 has this problem.

Unfortunately, companies typically do not put the necessary resources into
assuring product functional/design specifications are accurate. And even
less so for specs made available to the public.

You would not believe some of the "tight" specifications that have been
submitted to standards committees. Those specifications are alleged to
fully specify a particular thingee, all I can say is, ha ... ha!

Applications use their own idea of what RTF is because "the" RTF spec is
not tightly written and, unfortunately, most developers do not know how to
read a spec. Instead of reading the spec literally ("It says what it says,
no more, no less"), they ASSuME they know what it says, even if it doesn't
say that. The best writing in the world will not totally eliminate this
problem, but proper devotion of resources to writing/reviewing such specs
sure will help:

1. Writers would have more accurate specs on which to base documentation.

2. Implementors would more easily produce compatible products. JUst imagine
how much easier life would be if something as simple as converting from one
format to another and back again were done in the same way and, we can
hope, properly by all similar apps.

3. Users would have an easier time. For example, two daze ago, my services
were retained to review a proposed revision of an ISO standard. Alas,
Japan submitted the standard only in HTML format, so I tried saving the
document as a Word document. The resultant document included a Word field
with an undocumented switch. I searched the online documentation and the
KB, nowhere was this switch documented:

{ INCLUDE PICTURE \d \z "prettypicture.gif }

\z is not documented so it's either a serious Word bug, a serious
documentation omission, or Microsoft is playing silly games using
undocumented stuff. Now, Microsoft would not do that, would they?

Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 09:03:03 -0500
>From: Joe Miller <joemiller -at- CANBERRA -dot- COM>
Subject: Re: PDF to Word 97

Leona Magee-Dupree asked converting a PDF file to Word97:

Another tool for extracting text from a PDF file and saving it as RTF is

As Howard Kaikow mentioned, the RTF file may not include all of the
formatting you saw in the PDF file, but I think you'll at least get the

For what it's worth, it's not just different versions of Word that use
different flavors of RTF; as far as I know, _all_ applications use their
own idea of what RTF should be. Another one of those "standards" that

Joe Miller

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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