pdf iconEvery now and then, someone tries to edit a PDF file and the old Acrobat and Distiller question pops back. What are the roles of those two and why still use Word to edit? Why is Acrobat still important in e-book creation?

First the basics. Adobe Acrobat only reads PDF files. It does not create PDF files, nor can it be used to create content of any kind. It allows setting of certain attributes and anchors, such as creating hyperlinks and setting document security settings.

Distiller is a print driver that outputs PDF files. It is not a reader, nor an application used to create any content.

Adobe Acrobat (not Acrobat Reader) does not edit files, you create your content in a applications like Word, Photoshop.. then print to Distiller (some applications have a “Save as PDF” functionality like Word does in an optional add-on) and save the resulting file as PDF. All word, spreadsheet or image editing or viewing applications should be able to print.

You may open the PDF in Acrobat for fine tuning:

1) create hyperlinks (see Tools/Locate Web Addresses)
2) create title and author (see File/Document Properties)
3) set your desired security level (see File/Document Security)
4) File SAVE AS whatever.pdf. It is important not to just SAVE but to use SAVE AS because this eliminates unused fonts and makes a smaller PDF.

An important decision is to embed fonts in your PDF, or use system fonts. This impacts the size of your PDF but embedding your fonts guarantees that your reader will see the exact page layout you designed. The better system fonts seem to be the small common ones such as Times Roman or Arial. You should know that embedding fonts is a Distiller option (Printer/Preferences/Adobe PDF Settings/General Conversion Settings).

Currently, High speed internet access is becoming the norm and PDF files are generally small. As I was saying in a previous post, content is King.

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