By now, you've surely checked out Mark Soper's excellent guide for creating PDFs by using a multitude of applications, editing steps, and detail settings. If not, you owe it to yourself to give the article a scan so you're as well-versed as he when it comes to transforming ordinary files into these kinds of feature-packed super-documents.
As he correctly puts it, Adobe ain't the only game in town when you're trying to turn the contents of something you're looking at into this trusty, cross-platform format. Let's go one step further. Installed programs aren't the only way to create a PDF, period.
If you're on a new computer (or, for that matter, your boss's computer), you might not want to fire up the ol' Adobe installer just to be able to gain the right to transform your screen into a PDF. And sure, there are plenty of freeware opportunities out there that will allow you to print to a PDF. But that's still too many steps in the process. It's 4:59 on a Friday: You want to make a PDF, hit the power button on your PC, and be able to drink one-third of your "it's the weekend" celebratory iced tea before your monitor goes black. What are you going to do?
If the answer is "cry," then you have failed this exercise. But let it not be said that my heart is two sizes too small. For a little Web app exists--conveniently called PDFmyURL--that does exactly that. Provided the subject of your affection is a Web page of any size, shape, or extension... you will be able to transform it into a downloadable PDF as fast as you'll be able to finish reading the rest of this sentence.
You know Adobe's portable document format: PDF. It's everywhere, from downloadable documentation for a motherboard you need to tweak to press releases from the assemblyman from Lower Someplace, PDFs rule. Why? It's not hard to understand:
PDF files are supported by computers and mobile devices, including smartphones; comparable formats such as Microsoft's XPS don't enjoy nearly as wide a level of support
PDF files are cross-platform, enabling you to create a PDF on a PC and read it on any other device with PDF support
PDF documents can be optimized for web display, eBook readers, PC printing, and high-resolution professional printing
Add up these reasons, and it's easy to see why PDF make sense if you need to distribute a document that can be read everywhere.
Although Adobe sets the standards for PDF files with its Acrobat PDF creation and Reader PDF display software, Adobe isn't the only game in town when it comes to PDF creation. In this article, you'll discover if your system is already ready to spit out a PDF on demand, how to add PDF output to your system, and how to track down free tools that enable you to perform some PDF editing.
Let’s face it, for hackers digital rights management (DRM) protections are a challenge that can’t be passed up. Not just because of the notoriety hacking a DRM brings, but because DRMs are so darned easy to crack--sort of the cybercrime version of wolves culling the weak from the heard. Case-in-point, the Israeli hacker “Labba”, with a little help from his friends, has cracked the DRM that protects ebooks on the Kindle.
The DRM for Kindle content is intended to keep what’s sold for the Kindle on the Kindle. Labba and his cohorts weren’t too keen on the restriction, and have hacked the DRM so that Kindle ebooks are converted into an open format, allowing PDF versions to be produced. Once in PDF format, the ebook can be moved to any number of electronic devices.
It’s a good bet that Amazon isn’t too pleased by this, and will move to ‘repair’ the DRM for Kindle ebooks. Which, of course, starts but another round of fox-and-hare with hackers. Given the rising popularity of the Kindle, it’s a game that might go on for some time to come.
Google is taking steps to make viewing PDF files that appear in search results a whole lot easier. With “Quick View” PDF files can be viewed directly from the search results page, rather than having to visit the originating site, load the page as HTML, or use a third-party plug-in.
PDF has the advantage of displaying material as originally formatted. This is invaluable for forms or other complexly formatted documents which HTML is a poor substitute. This feature, which Google has been testing since July, is now available.
For search results that are PDF files Google will include a “Quick View” link. Clicking this opens up the original PDF file in Google Docs, where it can be reviewed or downloaded. (A plain HTML display option is also available, for those who can’t live without.) The only downside, so far, is that Google has connected Quick View to about half of the PDF files in their index. Unindexed PDFs will still have to be handled old-school.
Have you always wished you could merge, encrypt or just manipulate a PDF file? Editing PDFs has always been possible with Adobe’s software, but not everyone can afford the steep price of Adobe’s professional suite. But there are actually several pieces of software that will let you deftly manipulate Adobe’s proprietary Portable Document Format. In this guide, we will show you a few ways you can manipulate a PDF file without investing in Acrobat Professional. To start, here’s an overview of the free software that you’ll need.
PDF Split and Merge
As the name implies, this program allows you to split and merge a PDF. However, it has a few limitations. This program will not split or merge protected PDF files (which are password-protected). If you want to split and merge PDFs that you have created, the program should work fine.
Google has announced that over 1 million out-of-copyright books in its online book depositary, Goggle Books, can now be downloaded in the open EPUB format. The move is aimed at making these public domain books more accessible. The EPUB format is supported by an increasing number of devices, including e-readers, netbooks and phones.
“By adding support for EPUB downloads, we're hoping to make these books more accessible by helping people around the world to find and read them in more places,” Brandon Badger, product manager, Google Books, wrote on the Inside Google Books blog.
The announcement follows on the heels of the unveiling of Sony’s new Reader devices. Recently, Sony announced that the EPUB format will be supported by its upcoming Reader devices: the Pocked Edition, the Touch Edition and the Daily Edition. Google Book users can now choose between the PDF and EPUB formats.
Google had announced last week that it was going to overhaul the Google Docs interface over the next few weeks. Some of those changes have already taken place. One notable change is that the filter for “PDFs” has been supplanted by “Files” in the "items by type" slide-down menu.
This week, Adobe converted its Acrobat.com online service, introduced last year, from beta to production status, and rolled out two extra-cost upgrades while continuing to offer a free version. All versions of Acrobat.com include Adobe's Buzzword online word processing, but other features differ:
The free version can create up to five PDF files, allows up to 100 downloads per file, supports web conferences for up to three users, and provides tech support through moderated forums.
For $14.99/month or $149/year, you can upgrade to Premium Basic, which enables users to create up to 10 PDF files per month with unlimited downloads, web conferences for up to five users, and premium one-on-one phone chat tech support. Upgrade by July 16 to a one-year subscription, and save $15.
Upgrade to Premium Plus, the high-end service, for $39/month or $390/year, and get unlimited PDF creation and downloads, web conferences for up to 20 users, and premium one-on-one phone chat tech support. Upgrade by July 16 to a one-year subscription, and save $50.
There are also a couple of new goodies at Acrobat.com Labs for all Acrobat.com users. To learn more, join us after the jump.
A few weeks after Jesse Vincent, an inveterate hacker, yielded to his strong urge to hack another popular gadget, Savory was born. Savory is a Kindle 2 app that converts .pdf and .epub files into the .mobi format supported by the ebook reader. Though similar solutions have been available on the internet for quite sometime, Savory is unique as it executes the conversion on Amazon’s ebook reader itself. But like all great things, Savory has its limitations. It doesn’t support Kindle 1 and won’t convert ebooks protected by DRM. Please note that running unsigned code may void your manufacturer’s warranty.
If you haven’t done so already, make sure your Adobe reader has checked for, and downloaded the latest updates. Adobe has finally released a patch for the zero day scripting vulnerability in its PDF software. The patch for version 9 hit the net a bit earlier than expected, but not a moment too soon to combat this now critically exploited weakness which has been in the wild now since December 2008. The patches for Version 7 & 8 are still planned for March 18th and users of this version would be advised to either upgrade to 9.1 or consider Foxit Reader.
The news was posted by Adobe blogger David Lenoe. "Today, we posted the Adobe Reader 9.1 and Acrobat 9.1 update, which resolves the recent JBIG2 security issue (CVE-2009-0658), including the 'no-click' variant of the vulnerability." "We encourage all Adobe Reader users to download and install the free Adobe Reader 9.1."
For those that haven’t been following the details of the exploit, the vulnerability is a result of an array indexing error in the processing of JBIG2 streams. Hackers have found a way to corrupt arbitrary memory using the PDF format and take control of compromised systems. The lesson learned here if we didn’t know it already, don’t take candy, or PDF’s from strangers.