Category Archives: Acrobat
For awhile now I’ve been meaning to start using YouTube to post the odd movie tutorial, produced in Adobe Captivate of course. It has taken awhile for me to get my act together, but finally I hae done it.
Until fairly recently we and our customers have been comfortable with the production of plain old PDFs from our application. Now we have won business with a large client that requires the option of generating PDF/A compliant PDFs. No problem as our developers were on the case in a flash. With a test PDF generated the real problem was how to check its compatibility. The major issue for the developers is that compatibility cannot be checked using Acrobat Reader. Likewise the print driver inside the application. It was time to bring in the big gun, Adobe Acrobat Professional. Now guess who had a license?
We have started creating PDFs from a FrameMaker book for our Trainers to issue as a Reference Guide for delegates attending their courses. All was going so well, we even had an element of security attached to each file to prevent unwarrented misuse, but the Trainers had to go and ruin things. After several passes of test version PDFs they wanted the TOC of the PDF to be displayed collapsed when the file was first opened.
You can see why they would want this. Their Reference Guides can be 300+ pages. With the potential number of bookmarks in such a big document, the TOC could easily run over many pages making finding content difficult. It sounds like a simple requirement but despite my better efforts, each time I reopened the PDF all the bookmarks were expanded again. It was driving me nuts.
Just as I was about to give up, Bernd Alheit over on the Acrobat forums came to my rescue with a neat but simple solution. If you collapse the bookmarks in the TOC and then do a File > Save As command the TOC is saved in its collapsed state and ready to be expanded by the user as the need arises.
Note: Adobe Acrobat Pro has an option to collapse / expand the top level bookmarks which goes someway to addressing the issue. However all other non-top level bookmarks remain expanded. If this method is used to collapse the TOC, on expanding the top level bookmark all other bookmarks appear expanded returning you to the same issue as before. I personally found it better to manually collapse all the bookmarks before saving the PDF. It may be a slightly slower solution but one that 100% meets the exacting statndards of our Training Department.
Last week Adobe’s Senior Product Evangelist, RJ Jacquez, released his sneak peek video of what was coming up in the new release of Adobe FrameMaker 10. Shortly after, Adode’s Product Manager for RoboHelp, Ankur Jain, announced support for Microsoft Word 2010 in the forthcoming Adobe RoboHelp 9. Now RJ Jacquez has released the first of a series of sneak peek videos highlighting one of the new work flows possible in Adobe RoboHelp 9.
Focusing on reviewing content, this is one of the areas in the new version of RoboHelp that I am most excited about. Getting content reviewed has always been one of the most troublesome experiences of my technical writing career. If my conversations with fellow professionals are anything to go by, this is true for most of us. Quite apart from getting the content reviewed, getting it into a deliverable that can be sent for review was quite another. Even when a deliverable was produced, what would you do with it? Email just doesn’t quite cut the mustard, especially where a shared review was concerned. Oh and what about trying to apply all those comments from multiple versions of a single file?
In this sneak peek RJ highlights how Adobe RoboHelp 9 had additional integration with Adobe Acrobat X Professional that allows you to:
- Create PDFs of your content.
- Save PDFs for review to either Acrobat.com, a Microsoft SharePoint workspace or a WebServer.
- Automatically generate emails to reviewers informing them of a review process.
The reviewers add their comments and suggested changes directly to the PDF using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader X application that can be downloaded from the Adobe site. They do not need access to the professional version of Acrobat as the functionality that allows them to, in effect, edit the PDF is inside the generated PDF. Any review comments are stored inside the PDF ready to be imported into your Adobe RoboHelp project. Once imported, you can see all the comments and decide whether to accept or reject them.
RJ’s video focuses mainly on his use of the Acrobat.com cloud to perform the review. You can forgive him focusing on this as it is a very useful portal for all sorts of stuff, but as a Microsoft SharePoint user it is the ability to lock our review into one of its workflows that really interests me. We currently have a workflow that works pretty well inside Microsoft SharePoint, but which requires a fair bit of manual work to identify to the reviewers what to review. It is Adobe RoboHelp’s ability to flag the actual content to be reviewed with a couple of mouse clicks that really makes a difference. In fact I would say that the usefulness of the Topic Status has finally come of age. Take a look and let me know what you think.
Update: For a review of Adobe RoboHelp 10′s review workflow click here.