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Re: PDFs

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I'm mostly concerned with hardcopy output of stuff I receive, so screen scale is irrelevant. Oddly enough, the way Adobe prints from Autocad produces zillions of vectors, not a bitmap, which is what takes forever to render. If I convert that to a bitmap (TIFF) and envelope it back into a PDF it actually loads faster. Sometimes we use the fact that it's postscript to extract pieces from the files.

I'm a big PDF fan, too, as it consolidates all of my varying file types into one format which can be digitally signed if necessary. That it has good readers under all OSes and that there are open source readers for the format are both huge pluses in my book. I'm actually considering the big Kindle for taking all of my code books and drawings into the field. Of course, I'd have to crack most of the code files to do so (since the kindle doesn't read encrypted PDF) but that looks like fair use to me.

Jordan



Christopher Wright wrote:

On May 15, 2009, at 6:56 AM, Jordan Truesdell, PE wrote:

Oh....I think I see the disconnect. I can print _to_ PDF anyway I like, at any scale, using CAD and the Adobe printer driver, but if I receive a PDF from someone else, I can't turn that into a reduced size hard copy in Acrobat.
Not my experience, but I'll defer to yours. Whether or not the PDF is actually reduced or simply appears reduced on the screen isn't all that relevant for me because I'm always zooming in and out anyway. In fact the only way I can tell is by the size note at the lower left of the window. PDFs are related to PostScript in a way I don't understand. (Probably because it's proprietary--my son works for Adobe but we never talk shop or at least he never does.) It's not like a bit map--I think it's simply a series of statements in some form like a vector graphic representation. You can scale indefinitely without loss of resolution or jaggies, unlike a screen shot. That's why I can't figure out why your pdfs won't scale. The whole reason for pdfs is so you can display any way you like without loss of accuracy.

Just a hunch, but I wonder if AutoCad or what-have you works like a scan and turns the vector representation of the drawing into a huge bit-map-type deal. That's what you get when you scan a typewritten page into a pdf. In order to make editable text, you need to run the page through an OCR program (or use Paper Capture) in Acrobat. The only reason I mention this is that the problem with scaling may not be at your end but with whoever is supplying you with pdfs. You can check this out by trying to select drawing text or cutting out a piece of the drawing and pasting it into a vector graphics program. If the snippet doesn't come in as vector objects, my guess is that your drawing is basically a bit map. That might also explain why your printer has issues with scaled pages, and it would also explain why it takes so long to read in the drawing PDF's. It basically has to do all those bitmaps one pixel at a time.

I'm probably beating this to death, but I've gone from anti-pdf to avidly partisan. Kind of like an ex-smoker who can smell lilacs in May. The first pdfs I ever used were scanned print, and I thought they were a big pain in the ass. Since that time Acrobat has made almost all of my document issues go away. It's been at least 8 years since I sent or received a fax, so I don't have to deal with crappy resolution and slow transmission, fax machinery, junk faxes or separate phone lines. Mac to PC software compatibility is a complete non-issue. I get client submittals including P.O.s in clear archival text and I send out e-signed reports and invoices the same way. Sending color is no longer an issue and replying to some rotten faxed sketch of a bad detail (and retaining a copy on disk) makes things much faster. The measuring tool makes scaling a drawing very easy, if not less distasteful (It's an ME thing). Communicating is my biggest task not involving math or actual design, and probably the most important task of all. Acrobat has made it simpler and more reliable by orders of magnitude. No wonder I'm thrilled.

Christopher Wright P.E. |"They couldn't hit an elephant at
chrisw(--nospam--at)skypoint.com   | this distance" (last words of Gen.
.......................................| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)
http://www.skypoint.com/members/chrisw/



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