PDF - Perfect Document Format

PDF - Perfect Document Format
  • Feb 14, 2019

PDF - Perfect Document Format

Actually PDF stands for Portable Document Format and was created by Adobe in the early 1990's and released in 1993.

On July 1, 2008, version 1.7 of the PDF Reference became ISO 32000, an International Standard that allows any company to create software that creates PDF documents.

In this article we look at the use of a technology (pdf) in the eyes of a commercial printer a potential customer and a company that supplies designs for print.

Like many standards in technology - open standards allow anyone to contribute to the improvement of the format.

"ISO 32000 is managed by industry representatives and others in open meetings under parliamentary rules. Anyone can observe and participate."

Using PDFs for your business

Adobe put the portable reader as a public free download. Their commercial version Adobe Acrobat DC is a great piece of software for creating PDF documents or converting files and images to PDF documents. Choosing to use a pdf can be dependent on your audience. Understanding what kind of learner (Visual, Auditory or Kinaesthetic) is reading the document can help dictate its structure.

Zero - Accounting Software uses PDFs

PDF is the only document accepted by Zero Accounting software - "it cuts bookkeeping processing-time in half"

When attaching a bill to your Zero accounting software the options are-:

  • pdf (portable document)
  • jpg (image)
  • png (image)
  • gif (image)

Printers use PDFs

Printers often use Adobe Acrobat Tools to manage documents for print.

Typically a printer will request: send us a high resolution PDF file, with bleeds and marks, that we will use to produce a proof and create printing plates to print your job. Using a PDF workflow removes the possibility for font errors (including rewrap and font substitution), missing support files, and the need to send output documents. Although a PDF has limited correction abilities, we can still adjust some aspects of the PDF using tools included in Adobe Acrobat.

Printers often prefer PDF documents with very specific formats.

Gold Coast Printers explain how to send your artwork-:

We need your files as PDF's. We can also receive jpegs, but there are some technical problems with jpegs, so if you can send the pdf, that is always better.
You should also try to ensure that your PDF's are flattened. If you can't do this, send the file to us, and we will help where we can.

Double sided artwork – No spreads please, but two separate pdfs, supplied in one file.

Sounds obvious, but we will consider the order that we receive the pdf's the order of the document, and page 1 will be considered to be the cover, and the last page to be the back cover of any multi-page document.

Printing Booklets Video

For saddle stitched (Stapled) booklets you must supply us with multiple of 4 pages e.g 4 pages, 8 pages, 12 pages, 16 pages etc.
Once again.. with booklets, NO SPREADS PLEASE, we want separate pdf's, saved in one file. If the file is less than 8Mb, just attach to an email and send, if over 8MB, please use www.mailbigfile.com, which is a free program, and works a treat.
If your file is over 100Mb, please call us before you send the file, as we will need to discuss this, and see why the file is so big. Big files are a big problem, but we can handle them!

Memorial Stationary

A case study Memorial Stationary

A grieving family has plenty to deal with when organising a funeral.

Even if you had graphic experience the location of your computer and printer may make the task too difficult. Organising a quality memorable experience easily is what you need.

A company specialising in memorial stationary could offer the following -:

  • Advice on photo selection
  • Suggested songs for service
  • Suggestions to help with printing
  • A bunch of sympathy design options

Memorial Stationary products -:

  • Tribute Cards
  • Order of Service
  • Lyric/Poem Inserts
  • Bookmarks
  • Thank You Cards
  • Holding screen

Jackie PencilDustDesigns.com:

The beauty of my service is that we take the complexity out of it for our customers and set up print ready pdf files so yes that means they wont have additional artwork charges at the printer. This sometimes happens when inexperienced people attempt design and print ready pdf files aren't supplied.... why using a professional graphic designer with a sound understanding of print design is essential for a professional end result. Professionals also know how small some text can go before it's eligible, how to outline or embed fonts, they have layout knowledge, they know how to use a transparency and consider contracts of colours, cropping, background removal, image quality to designing according to printing and production restrictions. We take families personal content and create a unique artwork that reflects personality, a keepsake for your guests and tribute to you loved one. We will send you a print ready pdf file to email to your local printer and simply collect when ready.

We will supply the printer with a standard print ready pdf file with 5mm bleed and crop marks so no additional artwork costs will be charged. We also advise if the images supplied are of high enough quality to print we or we design accordingly if they want to proceed and use the image. We bring less focus to the image by reducing it's size and adding design elements for attention grabbing details. This is a great tip to create the best print ready file possible when low quality images are supplied.

SEO benefits of a PDF

As a leading Gold Coast SEO any techniques to make searchable content for websites is useful. PDFs offer this option if created with search engines in mind. An example of a good PDF web/print brochure is at Couples Workshop.

Links in your PDF document

January 2020 Google's John Mueller indicated links within a PDF document are regarded as a No Follow Link essentially because there is less opportunity for Google to establish the value the author intended with the link.

User Interface Design Principles

User Interface Design
User Interface Design Principles - Responsive Website Design
One subject I taught at Griffith University was User Interface Design. One of my favourite topics was the concept of chunking and George Millers theory of +- 7 items of short-term memory.
In essence we want to reduce cognitive overload. A point in case you should be able to read this article or skim it easily without noticable effort.

I am not a graphic designer and will use the best designers for my business cards, logos etc but it is important to arrange information well - or no one will read it.
These User Interface Design principles are great for people with related fields like website design or anyone creating an email for a business and many business tasks.

Chunking - George Miller

Like newspapers that are broken up into readable chunks a PDF design is no different.
It's the skill of grouping information to make it easy to remember.

Being able to absorb a limited amount of information (short-term memory) necessarily requires the development of documents that are easy to read (if not few will actually read them).

Various Remote Controls

Hick's Law

It is also worth considering issues when offering too much information. For example when faced with too many options (Hick's law) decision paralysis can occur.

In User Interface Design, Hick's Law is used to organize how to present the navigation and functions for the user in order to reduce the time required to jump to specific page, fill a specific form, or click a specific button.

Hick's Law states that increasing the number of choices will increase the decision time logarithmically.

Web Forms

Another User Interface Design principle is users recognise faster than they read. Don't make me read. As an example we try to make web forms less of a burdon on the user by adding icons. You will know that one section is an email, another a phone and the explanation (error message) is specific and not a general error. This particular form below is for a Gold Coast Marriage Counsellor and is very successful, partly because it makes handing over contact details easy. We use SEO to get the client to the site and User Interface Design to help allow the user to make contact.

Web Forms

Dynamic PDF Creation

As a Java programmer using the write once run anywhere (WORA) philosophy, new libraries like Apache PDFBox® - an open source Java tool for working with PDF documents allow the programatic creation of PDF documents-:

  • Shopping Cart Invoices
  • Custom documents for browsers interested in products (tangible reminders)
  • Essentially generate any information derived from data on your site

Another useful library is Apache FOP which combines XML and XSL formating with Java to produce PDF documents on the fly.

XSL Transformation
Transforming XML documents into a PDF: In this example number is a field in an XML document - the logic is creating a subtotal using simple logic

For a good explanation of XML Transformation refer to W3C (https://www.w3.org/standards/xml/transformation)

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