Cameron Laird's personal notes on PDF

"PDF" is Adobe's acronym for "Portable Document Format", a proprietary specification for a device- and platform-independent display format. It's realized as a sort of wrapped and compressed PostScript. Lauren Leurs lucidly describes both "An Introduction to PDF" and "The history of PDF" from a "prepress" perspective. The two big commercial sites for PDF information, aside from Adobe, are PlanetPDF and PDFZone. "Understanding the PDF File Format" is useful.

This page used to include information now found in more specific pages on PDF toolkits, PDF "converters", PDF generation, and ... Also, information about ReportLab, ..., has moved to more specific pages.

Addison-Wesley published the PDF Reference on dead trees. It's also available online, as are the draft specification for PDF 1.5 and ... a different specification.

[Describe other tools.]

[Editorialize on PDF role.]

"PDF: Unfit for Human Consumption" is Jakob Nielsen's hysterical--that is, effectively publicized--mid-July 2003 attack on the "usability" of the format. [explain errors, obscurity of correct observations]


[Move these next ones to subpages.]

Freeware GhostWord plugs into Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, and automates production of .ps, and, from there, .pdf. Thanks to Dr. Gregory Guthrie for tipping me off to GhostWord.

Acquaintances tell me good things about Xpdf's ability to extract (plain)text content from PDF sources. Xpdf is an X-oriented PDF viewer. Bruno Lowagie, as is his wont, writes accurately on PDF and its viewers.


Cameron Laird's personal notes on PDF/claird@phaseit.net