Trends ”such as management philosophies and cool vacation destinations ”can come and go, but one trend that has stood the test of time and will most likely endure is the PDF file format. Why? Quite simply, because it works, and more importantly because it helps you work.
When you use PDF files, you don t have to worry about the silly techno mumbo jumbo stuff under the hood of your computer. What is this silly stuff? It s all the things you re asked when you send someone a file that is not a PDF file: What program was used (PageMaker vs. QuarkXPress)? Which version was used (Word 98, Word 2001)? Which fonts were used (Arial vs. Helvetica)? What file formats are the pictures (BMP vs. TIFF)? What is the font technology (TrueType vs. Type 1)? Which computer and operating system was used (Windows vs. Mac OS 9 or OS X)?
Instead of getting bogged down with all that, PDF files allow people to say just send me a PDF, or in the new digital vernacular, PDF it to me. One day those phrases will be as ubiquitous and popular as Scotch tape and Xerox.
However, like most wonderful things in life, there is a catch. The catch is that the creation of PDF files is not as simple and elegant as their usefulness . As a result, inexperienced people (not bad people) create bad PDFs.
What are bad PDFs? Bad PDFs may not open , can look bad on the screen, or may not print correctly. Bad PDF files can be created with the wrong tools, or with the right tools but incorrect settings. The solution to bad PDFs is simply to learn the basics of good file preparation. That s what this book is all about.
Like your author Taz Tally, I spend a great deal of time training people to create and work with PDF files. And the results are amazing. With a few rounds of No, no, no ”don t do that and Watch and do this, the creation of PDF files can shift from a company-wide problem to a company-wide solution.
This book has something for everyone. Depending on your experience and your use for PDF files, you may find some sections more useful than others. For anyone having problems sending PDFs, I recommend reading the sections on creating good PostScript files and creating PDF files. For anyone who has to mark up pages, I suggest the section on collaboration. For those interested in PDF for presentations, see the chapter on creating presentations (but remember that the PowerPoint file may be smaller and easier to print than the PDF). For anyone doing printing, I recommend reading the chapter on preflighting and outputting PDF files.
Just as trends can come and go, so can the so-called experts ”but Taz is not one of those. I have known Taz for a long time and have edited many of his books. Although I make fun of the Tazman because he sometimes makes up his own words, I can say without hesitation that his knowledge and ability to train can only be found in a short list of trainers in the world. (And after reading the edited drafts I am pretty sure the editors have replaced the made-up words.)
However, the greatest advantage of Taz s training is his unabashed style. It does not matter whether you are watching him as he blazes through a hands-on demo from behind his computer or reading one of his books. Taz will communicate what works best, explain why it works best, and in a step-by-step fashion show you how to do it. And the best advantage of reading his books is that you don t have to go to Starbucks and drink the garbage-can- sized venti coffee to keep up with him.
Enjoy the book, and may all your PDFs be good PDFs!
Senior Technical Consultant
National Association of Printing Leadership (NAPL)