Thursday, December 20, 2007


PDF is a great cross platform format for documents. Readers for Linux, OSX, Windows and other platforms exist. A couple of days ago I needed to send some formatted text with images and PDF was the one format I knew my recipient could almost be 100% assured to handle. In fact, it's probably the best format for sending formatted documents between Linux and the other OS's, since Linux users tend to be not overly fond of .doc, and Windows/OSX users probably aren't going to want to deal with .abw (Abiword) or OpenOffice formats. It's great for SL magazines too, though they should be optimized for screen use and not printing. It's very unlikely that a 70 page SL fashion PDF is going to get printed, and optimizing it for screen mode will make it smaller, faster to load, and work better overall in readers on other platforms, and even on that bloated monstrosity that is Adobe Reader.

OSX and Linux have PDF creation support right out of the box. On Linux, even if the application itself can't create PDF's directly, they do output Postscript, which can be ran through ps2pdf on the command line.

Windows doesn't have PDF creation support built in. You can install support in Word, and OpenOffice can create them, but the easiest thing is to install a virtual printer that creates PDF's when you print to it. I have one installed that came with a copy of Print Shop, but I've seen PDFCreator recommended.

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