Experiments with PDFs

I like PDFs.

While a number of individuals will attack PDFs with blanket statements, PDFs are a great way to allow users to print documents from the Internet as intended.  So, instead of printing off a Web page and losing 10 to 20 characters from the right-side, you can print off a document formatted specifically for printers.

Of course, if you use them as the sole content delivery method, you may run into issues.

For StrivingLife.net, PDFs make sense, since I assume people will be printing these documents off for future reference.  Why?  Because I have scholarly and technical information, for the most part.

Additionally, in today's world, problems with PDFs are fairly uncommon, as long the PDF is created correctly.

To create the PDFs on my site, I first created the article in Microsoft Word.  Next, I converted the file to PDF using Adobe Acrobat Professional's PDF conversion plug-in.  From there, a quick 'Save as', to verify that the file size is as small as possible, and it's ready for publication.  I haven't placed security on my files before, and don't really feel that there's much need to for my public files.

Today I tried a couple of new methods to create PDFs.

First, OpenOffice - OpenOffice.org - allows you to create PDFs with their office suite, without the purchase or use of a third-party utility.

Second, Macromedia's FlashPaper 2 allows you to create PDFs from Microsoft Office programs.

Testing these two alternatives, I found that the PDFs they create are far too bulky for my purposes.

First, I created a PDF from Microsoft Word, using the Adobe Acrobat 6.0 PDFMaker.  This resulted in a 27 KB PDF.

Next, I created a PDF from OpenOffice Writer, using PDF conversion.  This resulted in a 82 KB PDF.  Printing to Distiller resulted in a 20 KB file.

Finally, I created a PDF using Microsoft Word and Macromedia FlashPaper 2, which resulted in a 88 KB file.

Needless to say, I'll be sticking with Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat.

I will be experimenting with Macromedia FlashPaper's ability to create Flash conversions of documents.  This allows the viewing and printing of a document via the Flash plug-in.

File sizes for both conversion from Microsoft Word, as well as from the PDF, are about 70 KB (converting from PDF is slightly larger).

I'll be doing my testing on http://DoNotDenyMyUnicorn.com/, so head over there if you'd like to test these methods out.