RE: Capabilities of PDF

Subject: RE: Capabilities of PDF
From: "Brad" <kiwi -at- best -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>, "Chaim Chatan [ENG]" <chaimc -at- elal -dot- co -dot- il>
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 1999 06:42:32 -0800


> explain to him that some of these requests are not possible to
> accomplish in PDF; they are more appropriate for HTML.

The very nature of both PDF and HMTL being online documentation suggests
some similar styles are appropriate and possible for both.

> 1) He requested that the hyperlinks be done in color (similar to Internet
> pages).

That's what I do with PDF and HTML so that the reader will know that a given
color is a hyperlink. I have also "done away" with quotes in cross reference
formats. I use FrameMaker and define the cross reference, contents, and
index paragraph formats with a color. When I generate PDF, the hypertext
links are in color.

> 2) He requested a word search capability for the manuals. How do
> I do that?

Acrobat Reader has word search built into it. Look at the toolbar.

> 3) The pagination in the manual is different from the pagination in the
> Adobe Acrobat program. He wants the page number on the bottom of the Adobe
> Acrobat screen to be identical to the page number in the manual. Is this
> possible to accomplish in PDF?

That's exactly what I do. Start the page numbering with the first page of
the manual. It doesn't make sense to me to want to deliver PDF files with
page numbering that is not in sync with the Reader. We do not deliver hard
copy (printed) manuals, so the time honored format for page number
sequencing starting on the first page of the first chapter does not apply to
electronic documentation.

> In the light of these requested changes, would it be advisable to convert
> the manuals to HTML rather than PDF?

Not at all! Both PDF and HTML are electronic documentation and you need to
consider the usability of documentation as such. Those are entirely
reasonable, practical, and logical requests that the customer made. There's
no doubt that those who established book format style eons ago--ala Chicago
Manual of Style, for example--would not have had a clue about appropriate
styles and usability for electronic documentation, let alone computers.

Perhaps you need to study the style differences between electronic and
printed documentation. Be sure to become better acquainted with Acrobat

Brad Barnes

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