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Pdf and Web Design

You probably have a bunch of documents that are paper or electronic that need to be presented individually and may need to allow the user to download them.

 

As well, many of your documents may contain formatting and type styles that cannot be reproduced on the Web. In order to keep the document visually compelling, true to its original nature, and printable on any computer, use the Adobe Systems Portable Document Format (PDF).

 

A PDF is a universal file format that is created using Adobe Acrobat software or any number of applications that print to PDF.

 

PDF files are viewed, navigated through, and printed from the Acrobat Reader, a free software application that is directly installed on every computer during operating system installation.

 

Acrobat reader also runs through Web browser.

 

This allows a guaranteed universal platform for external document exchange on the Web. Here are a few things you should know about the Acrobat reader. First, the Acrobat Reader (also called the Adobe Reader) can be downloaded for free from http: www.adobe.com.

 

The Reader does not allow you to make PDF files.

 

To do this, you need Adobe Acrobat, which uses the Distiller to output PDF files. As I mentioned before, many popular software applications provide a feature that allows you to print directly to PDF file format.

 

The Microsoft Office applications allow PDF output from Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. By using this feature, you can use existing applications to generate a library of portfolio pieces in PDF format. The nice thing about this workflow is that it allows you to stay within your native applications and not have to venture off into graphic applications to prepare the bulk of your work.

 

If you like, you can output elements from your Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel documents to bitmap file formats and then manipulate the graphs, charts, spreadsheets, and diagrams within Adobe Photoshop or Macromedia fireworks. Getting graphi- cal elements from your Microsoft office applications is easy. You can do it several ways.

 

First, you can select any graphical element such as a chart and right-click to copy it.

 

Then, open up a new document in Macromedia fireworks or Adobe Photoshop and the document space will automatically be the correct size to accommodate a copied image. Paste the image into the image-editing applic ation and now you have the ability to scale, crop, and correct the graphic if needed. You now have the ability to incorporate freely the graphic into other Web page layouts using a powerful image-editing environment.

 

As well, you have the graphic in a new space where you can add a caption and perform visual layout, something that you can’t do in the Microsoft office applications very effectively.

 

Another method for outputting Microsoft office documents for Web publishing is to right-click on individual charts and graphs and save them as bitmap graphics in GIF, JPEG, or BMP formats. BMP formats need to be opened image-editing program and saved as JPEG or GIF files.

 

BMP (short for bitmap) file formats are not acceptable for Web publishing. Finally, it is important to note that Microsoft office applications also allow files to be saved as HTML Web pages. Be careful if you decide to use this feature. It may cause technical problems or a lack of continuity with other Web of pages that are developed using other methods.

 

If you’re going to output Web pages from Microsoft Office applications you should use those pages in pop-up windows or blank target browser windows that load on top of your existing Web portfolio and are contained in their own browser window. By separating the documents you will minimize a lack of consistency if it exists.

 

As well, you will isolate the documents so that the user can focus on reviewing them without distractions of other content.

 

Another alternate route to PDF and Microsoft office Web output is to perform screen captures of your documents from your desktop and open them in Adobe Photoshop.

 

After taking the screenshot, you will open a new document Adobe Photoshop or Macromedia fireworks and paste the screenshot from the clipboard onto the canvas (this technique is explained in more detail next).

 

From there, you can crop out the desired area using the crop tool. The external area will be gone and now you can use the power of the image-editing program to manipulate the graphic image. After manipulation in Adobe Photoshop you have the option to save the file as a PDF.

 

Photoshop handles the PDF creation task quite easily. As described with the Microsoft products, many graphical and page layout software packages now have direct menu items or a menu bar button for you to output directly to PDF file format.

 

The page layout applica- tions QuarkXpress and Adobe InDesign have such capabilities. You should convert any formatted documents that you want your user see in original form to PDF format.

 

You can link directly to PDF files from your Web portfolio pages using a standard link. You can also link to native documents in your Web portfolio such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel, and Word documents.

 

This is where you actually upload the Microsoft Office documents directly to the Web server. Internet Explorer will allow Microsoft office users to view native documents in a browser. If the individual is a Netscape user, the process isn’t as easy. The Netscape download scenario may present a few obstacles to the user.

 

First, the documents must be downloaded to the user’s computer. Another problem may exist with fonts. If the user does not have the same fonts and same version of the application, there could be problems viewing the document.

 

With PDF format documents you don’t have to worry about color. PDF documents are converted to be viewed on the Web regardless original colors used. This is not true for other Web graphics and Web pages in general. The visual and technical aspects of color must be looked at as you begin to create content that needs to be browser friendly.

 

 

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