Review: Acrobat 6 and PDF Solutions

Acrobat 6 and PDF Solutions by Taz Tally, Ph.D., was published by Sybex. The book is aimed at people who want to use documents in a variety of ways, to convert print documents to multimedia presentations or interactive forms, or to convert Web pages to PDF pages.

Author Taz Tally runs a training company, Taz Tally Seminars, that specializes in electronic publishing. Tally is known for his instructional work on Photoshop, scanning, prepress, and the DeskTop to Print series.

The book is organized in three general sections. Naturally, Part One starts with the basics related to creating proper PDF files. Details about fonts, graphics, master pages, preflighting tools, PostScript files, PostScript printers and using Distiller are covered in these chapters.

Part Two deals with PDF management tools for access, security, cropping, linking sound and movie clips to PDFs, and converting Web sites into PDF documents. This part of the book offers up helpful information about accessibility, search functions in PDF documents, e-mail functions, and eBook creation and management.

Functions available only in Acrobat Pro are covered in Part Three of the book. This information includes preflighting PDFs, editing text and graphics, outputting capabilities and printing setups, and Acrobat’s batch functions for automating certain tasks.

The book comes with a companion CD that contains starter and demonstration files for exercises included in some of the chapters of the book, plus the usual mix of demo software useful to PDF work.

I was particularly interested in the section on Converting Web Pages to PDF Documents, as I have long advocated this as a better way to comp pages to clients than with graphic representations of Web pages because the links are active and it looks and feels just like a Web page to the client. While saving a Web page as a PDF is quite simple, Tally provides a lengthy list of tips for fine-tuning the Web to PDF converstion. He provides information about issues such as creating PDF tags, scaling pages, multimedia links and references, background elements and settings, fonts and language encodings. These few pages of Web to PDF conversion information make this book worth taking a look at by Web designers and a good reference to have on hand for the Web design teacher. However, it doesn’t seem necessary to me to ask Web design students to purchase this book–simply having one copy around would be enough for the Web design teacher’s needs.

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