July 02, 2008

Introducing ISO 32000-1, er PDF's

This is a welcome development on the standardization of the .pdf document format. PDFs have been the proprietary format of Adobe but a year ago Adobe finally released PDF's for international open access and standardization. The format has just been formalized as such. Let Adobe's process be a shining example over against the Mob-like manner in which Microsoft got its new OOXML format accepted into ISO.

I have previously touted the great capabilities Preview.app has for working with PDF's, and these tools will only improve with the PDF format becoming open.

One other PDF note is that Adobe has just released version 9 which I still can't imagine using in place of Preview.app. It does have the added feature of displaying embedded Flash which would be as useful to me as shoving bamboo shoots under my fingernails.


Dr. Rod Decker said...

Yes, this is good news. But even with Previews helpful tools (mostly, I think, unknown), there are some gaping holes--at least in my knowledge.

1. Is there any way to control embedding fonts in a pdf file created from the print dialog? At one time I was able to do this (though with no specific control over what got embedded) by using Print > pdfx, but after one of the last OS updates (10.5.3 or 10.5.4?) this stopped working for me. I now get an error "can't create pdfx." Is there any other utility that can help with this?

2. Security settings. The OS print to pdf does not present standard security settings. You can limit opening, printing, or copying, but that its. No setting to allow printing and copying but not changing anything, etc. And this dialog does not appear with the pdfx format, so if that did work and you embedded fonts, you have no option for security settings. There ought to be a utility for doing this after the file is created. Know of any?

I really hate to buy the full version of Adobe foe those 2 features...


J. P. said...

One limitation of Preview (both on Tiger and Leopard) is that its search does not match words that are hyphenated across a line break, which is one reason why I still use Acrobat for some searching/indexing tasks.

Joe Weaks said...

Does the "Show Preview" and then print workaround no longer work either? Try this:
Save the doc as a PDF.
Then open the PDF in Preview.
Then choose File/Print.
PDF/Open PDF in Preview.
Then Select File/Print in the new document.
Then Save as PDF.
In the past, this embedded fonts.

As for security settings, there were obviously changes made. Note the difference between the two apple knowledge database files for

With the new print system, you can roll your own printing workflows... I'm sure there's a way to do what you want... be you'll need a developer to do it.

Dr. Rod Decker said...

Hmmm. Still can't make pdf-x work from the Print dialog, but the info you linked indicates that pdf-x is a subset of regular pdf. I was told the reverse (i.e., pdf-x differs by embedding the fonts). But if I use Word 2008's Save as pdf, the regular pdf file it creates does embed the fonts. And so does Print > Save as pdf! There's no way to tell that (that I can see) in OS X, but if I create them there and move them to Windows, Acrobat Reader does list the fonts as embedded. So I guess that solves one problem. Still unresolved, however, is controlling the security settings. There has to be a more versatile way. The various security settings available depend on what version pdf is being created. Acrobat had different options in versions 5 & 6. (I don't know about 7, 8 & 9 since I don't own the newer full versions.)

Joe Weaks said...

Well, I'm glad the situation is improved.
Viewing embedded fonts and J.P.'s comment abut hyphenated words does illuminate the need for Adobe's tools.