Monday, August 21, 2017

Using Paper Color to Help Distinguish Various Files

I’m currently working on a complex manual regarding a marine electrical system. This particular manual has many similarities to three other manuals I have done in the past, but it’s not exactly like any one of them. When I’m working on a project like this, I find it helpful to keep several of the previous documents open for reference. But since all the documents look so much alike, there have been times when I’ve lost track of which one was my “working” document, and I ended up editing the wrong one. But today I came up with a way to distinguish between the working document and the reference documents.

Read the entire article at InDesign Secrets.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

My First Course!

For years, I have been watching Lynda courses to further my knowledge about Adobe software. They have helped me to pass numerous ACE exams, and have been a core part of my design and technology education.

After years of watching my friends and colleagues produce Lynda courses, I am finally able to join their ranks! Lynda has recently been producing more courses in the area of AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction), and my course is aimed at those folks.

My career is rather unique in that I sit squarely at the intersection of two industries: publishing and boatbuilding. I am just as comfortable discussing the intricacies of InDesign conditional text as I am with discussing air conditioning and plumbing on boats. This unusual crossover puts in in a great position to understand the unique needs of boat builders and boat owners, with regard to documentation.

The drafts of my manuals are always sent to my clients as PDFs, and I do my best to encourage my clients to adopt PDF commenting when they review the manuals that I send them. My goal is to help more people in the AEC filed to adopt PDF commenting. This course is my way of offering a vast number of people 1:1 training on how they can use PDF commenting in their engineering and construction workflows.

Even if you're not in the AEC industries, this course will still be great for you. The documents I show in the course are all technical manuals and engineering drawings, but the commenting methods will work on any type of PDF.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Show the InDesign Notes Tool Some Love

In my workflow, I use notes every day, at least a few dozen times per day. I fill my InDesign documents with notes for my clients, asking questions, for more information, photos, or to clarify things. I use Notes so frequently that I even created a custom keyboard shortcut for "Convert to Note."

My notes are my primary way of communicating with my clients, in context in the PDF drafts that I send them. But you may be wondering how InDesign Notes translate into PDF notes. There are two ways this can be accomplished:

Read the entire article at InDesign Secrets.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Easy Drag and Drop PDF Pages Extraction

Do you ever need to extract a single page from a PDF? If you're using Acrobat, it's a fairly quick process.

1. First open the pages panel. If your pages panel is not already open (in Acrobat DC), click on the little arrow on the left of your window.

Click on the arrow to open the Navigation Pane buttons in Acrobat DC

2. Then select the pages you'd like to extract. 

3. Then click the Options button (to the left of the trash can icon). Then choose "Extract Pages..." You can also access this same menu by right-clicking on any of the pages.

4. Verify which pages you want to extract. Then you'll be presented with this dialog box. The page range here will automatically be populated based on the pages that you have selected. But if your page range is too large to easily select them all, you can manually type in whatever page numbers you want to extract. You also have the option of deleting pages after extraction, as well as extracting them as separate files.

5. The extracted pages will open up in a new window, as a new PDF. 

But there is an easier way!

What if you don't need to delete the pages after extracting, and you want to extract them all as a single file? I discovered today that you can drag and drop PDF page thumbnails onto the desktop for 1-step page extraction! This work in Acrobat 9, X, and DC on a mac. (Sadly, this does not work in Acrobat XI.)

But wait! There's More!

Edit 3-27-17: I recently discovered that this also works with non-sequential pages! Have you ever had to extract a complete page range, only to then reopen it and delete the pages you don't need? Well, no more! You can simply Cmd/ Ctrl + click on any page thumbnail and then drag and drop them on to the desktop.

If you liked this post, you may also be interested in some more drag and drop functionality of the Acrobat pages panel: How to Replace Pages in a PDF using Acrobat's Pages Panel.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

How Remove Date and Time From PDF Comments

This was a forum post on the Acrobat forums. I think it's worthwhile to have this here on my blog as well.

I don't want others to see date or time for my comments in Acrobat. So, how do I (preferably permanently) remove those data?
Cheers from Stockholm

You can't do it inside Acrobat, but there is a way to do it outside of Acrobat. Export the comments as a data file. I wrote about there here.

Change the extension from FDF to XML and open it up in your text editor of choice. Then delete two bits of code. Look for the two sections that have the dates in them. If your have a bunch of comments, it might be easer to do a Search for the year in order to make sure you find them all.

Save the XML file. Change the extension back to FDF. Delete all your old comments (save a backup copy first!) Then reimport it back into your PDF. The dates should be gone. Here is the original comment with the date at the bottom.

And here is the comment after the code was edited in Text Wrangler. No date! 

Edit: 3-10-17: I recently found a related free script that anonymizes comments

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Fix for the Dreaded Quick Apply Crash

In my long document production workflow, I use Quick Apply throughout the day. I use it for paragraph styles, character styles, object styles, and inserting variables, among other things. It saves me hours of time from through style panels with hierarchical style groups. If you're not familiar with Quick Apply, I suggest you take a few moments and learn about how it can speed up your workflow.

But seven years after this bug was first being reported, Adobe finally released a fix! Read the entire article at InDesign Secrets.


Monday, January 9, 2017

How to Add Rotated Text to a PDF using Acrobat DC

In a previous article, I explained various methods of adding add rotated text to a PDF using Acrobat XI. This short video demonstrates how to add rotated text in Acrobat DC using the Add Text Tool (not to be confused with the Add Text Comment Tool).