Yipeee :)-


It appears that the next version of Office will let you save documents in PDF format.  I really hate PDF documents.  They're so damned inflexible.  The documents are usually two columns, or more, wide and if you zoom out to where you can see a full page the text it's too small to read.  This means you have to scroll down the first column, up the top of the second then down again.  Sometimes you even have to scroll left to right because the document is too wide to read.  Why doesn't PDF have an option like Microsoft Reader where the document is re-paginated to fit your screen?

Comments (7)

  1. Lionel says:

    AcroRead can repaginate PDF documents, if the contain structure information (what is called "tagged PDF"). Unfortunately, very few tools can produce tagged PDF.

  2. tyler says:

    Lots of people really love PDFs for the same reason you hate em; their "inflexibility" means they’ll look the same anywhere.

    I hate having to scroll all around on PDFs too, though.

    IIRC, repagination couldn’t be done without lots of hassle because the content on a PDF page is sortof "anchored" to x/y coordinates on the page.

  3. craigrow says:

    Good point Tyler. However, while that may benefit the publisher, as a user of these docs PDF has NEVER enhanced my experience and it almost always make the experience WORSE. If you’re publishing in PDF are you doing it for your benefit or your customer’s benefit. I don’t see how it could be for the customer’s benefit and that is backwards.

  4. Norman Diamond says:

    I’ve mostly seen PDF documents that were designed for display on a screen, i.e. single column and reasonable size font.

    A few exceptions were reprints of magazine articles which might have been scanned in or might have been produced by capturing screenshots from older kinds of publishing utilities. In those cases I hated the documents as much as you do, but I blame the producer not the tools and not the format. It’s like some companies putting up web pages which require horizontal scrolling, or worse, some who divide the page into sections so that one section needs scrolling but there’s no way for the user to scroll the section. I blame the producer, and somehow I figure out that this is one thing that Internet Explorer shouldn’t be blamed for.

    A few other exceptions are when I want to print a document that I’m viewing, but no printer is attached, so I do a pseudo-print to a PDF file. Later I print the PDF.

  5. craigrow says:

    Good point Diamond. The publisher is probably to blame, not the format. However, I don’t recall ever seeing a PDF without this problem.

  6. Vivek says:

    Quoting you

    If you’re publishing in PDF are you doing it for your benefit or your customer’s benefit. I don’t see how it could be for the customer’s benefit and that is backwards.

    I disagree with this statement. I find it painful that Word documents display differently on Microsoft Word on Windows and on Mac OS X. Imagine spending a lot of time formatting your document using Microsoft Word for it to look just right on Windows, just to realize that it looks like trash on the same software from the same company on Mac OS X. I ran into issue while working on my thesis, and decided to shift to Latex for the above mentioned reason. A pdf might not be editable but at least looks the same (the way I formatted it) everywhere. Just my two cents

  7. craigrow says:

    I see your point Vivek. However, maybe instead of focusing on a format which looks the "same" on every platform we would do better for the readers if we focused on a format which looks "great" on every platform but possibly "different" on some platforms. Perhaps the native Word format isn’t that platform. I know PDF isn’t that platform.

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