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Thread: What do you think about PDFs?

  1. #1

    What do you think about PDFs?

    I have recently been getting frustrated with just how many things are released as PDFs. I am okay with the format itself.But the content that is released as a PDF online is just so poorly suited for it. I have seen school newspapers release their online edition as a PDF document, news releases, government budgets, single IMAGES!... and each of these places does have a website which can serve this content directly. Instead they use the website as a platform to download the darn PDF.

    Beyond the obvious portability of PDF is there any redeeming quality to it?

  2. #2
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    Re: What do you think about PDFs?

    Why would a newspaper be unsuitable for PDF? Isn't that sort of document the whole point of PDF?

    A website is not the same thing as a newspaper. It is a website, it works differently. PDFs are great for multipage documents that used to have a better place in the physical world.
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  3. #3

    Re: What do you think about PDFs?

    Quote Originally Posted by vexorian View Post
    Why would a newspaper be unsuitable for PDF? Isn't that sort of document the whole point of PDF?

    A website is not the same thing as a newspaper. It is a website, it works differently. PDFs are great for multipage documents that used to have a better place in the physical world.
    The thing is you read on a screen differently than you do on physical paper. When someone gives you a PDF newspaper that is their printed newspaper: it doesn't work. Not only are images in black in white but content is too small to be comfortably viewed at 100% and must be zoomed and then panned around the screen. In addition publishing is done in drops. So even if some big event happens you can't publish anything about it until the next full edition of the paper is ready. A PDF newspaper can be published it just shouldn't be the primary method of distributing your content online.

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    Re: What do you think about PDFs?

    When someone gives you a PDF newspaper that is their printed newspaper: it doesn't work.
    It works great for me. And as opposed to a web site I can take it anywhere.
    Xye incredibly difficult puzzle game with minimal graphics. Also at playdeb
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    Re: What do you think about PDFs?

    I hate pdf because of work, we're always suck filling huge forms that are CAN'T BE SAVED. Man, it's such a hassle re-filling it everytime! It kills me! D:

    I also love pdf because of its cross-platformity. I save my resume in .pdf so noone can edit it (though I doubt anyone would) and a few other things like that.

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    Re: What do you think about PDFs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ellipsis View Post
    The thing is you read on a screen differently than you do on physical paper. When someone gives you a PDF newspaper that is their printed newspaper: it doesn't work. Not only are images in black in white but content is too small to be comfortably viewed at 100% and must be zoomed and then panned around the screen. In addition publishing is done in drops. So even if some big event happens you can't publish anything about it until the next full edition of the paper is ready. A PDF newspaper can be published it just shouldn't be the primary method of distributing your content online.
    There are things to complain about in PDFs, but the above is not among them. PDFs almost always start out as odt or docx files which are exported to the PDF format. They handle color and links just fine. If it can't be viewed comfortably at 100%, then that is a formatting issue (font size is too small). There are such things as PDF editors, but most folks find it easier to edit the odt or docx file and reexport.

    PDFs do had a disadvantage in that the file size is larger than the HTML counter part, and they load slower. But their main advantage is that document appears the same regardless of the equipment that is use to view or print.

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    Re: What do you think about PDFs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ellipsis View Post
    The thing is you read on a screen differently than you do on physical paper.
    That has made me wonder if they'll ever do away with the "page" paradigm in document editors like MS Word or LibreOffice. Since the screen scrolls smoothly, we don't need to partition documents into discreet pages. The only exception is when the document is printed, but that is becoming more the exception rather than the rule.

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    Re: What do you think about PDFs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Porcini M. View Post
    That has made me wonder if they'll ever do away with the "page" paradigm in document editors like MS Word or LibreOffice. Since the screen scrolls smoothly, we don't need to partition documents into discreet pages. The only exception is when the document is printed, but that is becoming more the exception rather than the rule.
    I wouldn't say that, paper is still quite commonly used, and often overused. Heck, even I use paper for personal use when it's more convenient. If you don't want a page, use HTML or something. I think it would be a cool idea to have some kind of editor (or build a feature into Word/LibreOffice if it doesn't already have it) to make creating documents not specified to a specific page size, without needing to know coding (HTML) for this purpose, but in a addition to, not instead of, doc/odt.
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    Re: What do you think about PDFs?

    You can use Xournal to scribble all over a PDF and then either save the markup as a separate file, or export it to a new PDF. Xournal together with PDFShuffler are indispensable in an office.

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    Re: What do you think about PDFs?

    I hate PDFs when:
    - it's only a bunch of horrible bitmaps of scanned pages
    - the document has been saved in a new PDF format and is unreadable for most open-source viewers (PDF 1.7+)
    - the document contains embedded files designed to install malware on proprietary operating systems
    - it's a file that contains "JavaScript actions" (PDF 1.3+)
    - it's used on public/government websites to add free advertising for dangerous proprietary software

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_Document_Format
    http://pdfreaders.org/
    http://www.fsf.org/bulletin/2010/fall/pdf-readers


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