14 Replies Latest reply: Sep 22, 2011 5:06 AM by pandoratim
pandoratim Level 1 (0 points)

hello everyone,

 

I want to send a newspaper article which I've saved in .pdf format to a friend who's out of town. I've done this before and it works fine. I simply email the file as an attachment from my phone to hers. (She, by the way, has not yet seen the light, and still uses a Blackberry. That may not make a difference, I don't know.) The problem though, is that the .pdf file is optimized for desktop viewing and not smartphone viewing. It got me thinking that there must be a better way to do this. Any suggestions you have will be appreciated, and thanks for reading my problem...

 

Tim

  • Gino Cerullo Level 4 (1,450 points)

    You don't mention what software you are using for 'creating' or 'converting to PDF' but the principle is the same. The act of 'optimizing' is merely the act of applying an appropriate amount of compression to the file so as to making it small enough for proper use without compromising the quality of the file. For example, optimizing a PDF for pre-press would result in a file much larger than optimizing one for viewing on the web.

     

    If you are merely using the Print to PDF command built-in to Mac OS X then you only really have two choices 'Save as PDF' and 'Save as PDF-X' both resulting in files that are about the same size even though they are set up differently. If you want many more choices for optimization then you will have to purchase Adobe Acrobat, the free Reader will not do. There may be other third-party apps that also create PDFs but you'll have to do your own search for them but the principle remains the same regardless.

  • pandoratim Level 1 (0 points)

    hello Gino,

     

    thanks for writing. Yes, I've been using print to pdf for this purpose, and I understand your suggestion. I hoped not to have to purchase Acrobat, but will give this some further thought before deciding.

     

    Thanks again,

    Tim

  • ChrisJ4203 Level 8 (47,816 points)

    You don't mention what the problem is that your friend is having regarding reading the pdf files. Are they just too large to receive. I've been able to read regular pdf files that I have created as well as using the Word 2010 ability to save a file as a pdf. I've not made any modificaitons for reading on a smartphone.

     

    Also, if you are scanning this file yourself, instead of saving as a pdf, you might think of scanning as a picture file, and maybe saving as a jpg. It could create a smaller file if that seems to be the issue, you can also enlarge the photo by tapping on it.

  • Gino Cerullo Level 4 (1,450 points)

    Adobe Acrobat is an expensive purchase just to solve this problem. You might want to give Smile Software's PDFpen or PDFpenPro a try. You can download trial versions of those apps from their site. I've noticed that you are running fairly old versions of Mac OS X, v10.5.8 and v10.4.11 respectively, so make sure you get the appropriate version of either of those apps if you do go that route. Look at the bottom of the page for links to the older versions of those apps.

  • pandoratim Level 1 (0 points)

    hi again,

     

    Perhaps I should restate the issue. The primary problem is that .pdf files created using the print to .pdf command create a file that's optimized for desktop or laptop viewing. When I send such a file to a phone the file is difficult to view. Text size is small, margins are large, etc. What I hope to achieve is a way to convert the file into a file that will be easier to view on my iPhone, or my friend's Blackberry. Just like you take a movie file in .avi format and convert it using Handbrake to a format that's suitable for viewing on a phone.

     

    Hope that helps, and thanks Gino and Chrisj4203 for your replies.

     

      Tim

  • Gino Cerullo Level 4 (1,450 points)

    Well the whole point of the PDF format is that when you create a file it retains the fidelity of the original. In other words it should look the same as the original file no matter where you view it. It sounds like you either want to change what it looks like so that it is more suitable for viewing on the small screen of a smartphone or that it is changing from the original look when viewed on the smartphone to the point that it is difficult to view. Please clarify.

     

    Using your analogy of a movie file note that the movie is not changed in any way from the original it is merely scaled down in size and therefore the resulting file is able to be viewed in the smaller memory footprint allowed by smartphones. It also doesn't take up as much space within the limited storage space of a smartphone. For example, running a movie through Handbrake doesn't turn a 16:9 movie into a 4:3 movie that's been pan-and-scanned. Yes there are fewer pixels making up the image and looking at it at its original size is different, the resulting fewer pixels are magnified, but the movie is essentially the same.

     

    Going back to my original post about optimization of PDF files. Using optimization to create a PDF file better suited for the confines of the smartphone means using higher compression to make the file smaller at the expense of image quality. The formatting itself should remain the same.

     

    Viewing PDF files on the small screen of a smartphone usually means having to zoom in to the point that the text is readable but it also means that you have to scroll side-to-side to read wide passages of text in addition to scrolling down.

     

    If your goal is to change the formatting/look of the PDF to make it more suitable for viewing on the small screen of a smartphone, to avoid the zoom and scrolling, you need to do that before turning it into a PDF. The process of converting to a PDF will not do that for you no matter which conversion software you use.

     

    My experience with viewing PDF files on my iPhone 4 is that the fidelity of the original files is maintained as it should be. It looks exactly like it does on my laptop and desktop. That being said I do have to zoom in and scroll around to read the text and view any images.

  • pandoratim Level 1 (0 points)

    hi Gino,

     

    thanks for that very good explanation. You're absolutely right, and said it much better than I did. And, yes, what I hoped to do is avoid the zom and scrolling so I think, if I read your last post correctly, that I need to print or save to a format other than .pdf so that it is optimized for smartphone use. Thank you very much.

     

    Now, anyone know what that format is?

     

    Tim

  • Gino Cerullo Level 4 (1,450 points)

    No, actually what I said was that if you want to avoid the zooming and scrolling then you have to change what the document looks like before you turn it into a PDF. The PDF format is otherwise fine for what you are doing. The drawback to doing this is that you essentially have to do some work to prepare the file ahead of time so that the resulting PDF is suitable for reading on a smaller screen.

     

    For example, you might want to copy and paste the text from those newspaper articles into a TextEdit document so that when it is changed into a PDF and opened on the small screen of a smartphone the text is sufficiently large enough to be read without the need to zoom in and scroll around.

  • pandoratim Level 1 (0 points)

    hello again Gino,

     

    thanks for writing. Sorry to be late with my reply. I've been away for a couple of days. I think I'm starting to understand this problem a little better now. I might try the copy and paste to textedit for text only items. Thanks for that tip.

     

    The problem of an article such as a newspaper article, perhaps with images, remains though. Perhaps the question to ask is, is there a better file format than .pdf for viewing on smartphones and their inherently smaller screens?

  • Julian Wright Level 7 (34,860 points)

    The PDF file format is not the issue. It is the article's original layout and design.

     

    For smartphone reading, ideally you want a single text column, with large-ish text, and images that span the whole width of the column, for it to be most readable.

     

    Unless you are prepared to re-layout every article you want to send, you're going to be stuck with the problem you have.

     

    On the iPhone, there are some PDF viewers that will attempt to "re-flow" the layout of an article to make it more readable on the small screen. Perhaps there are similar apps for the Blackberry.

  • pandoratim Level 1 (0 points)

    hello Julian,

     

    thanks for that very helpful reply. Sorry to be so obtuse. I think I've got it now, and I appreciate the time you took to write about this issue.

     

    Tim

  • pandoratim Level 1 (0 points)

    hello again everyone.

     

    I had a huge brainwave this morning; my head almost hurts it's so good. It came to me when I was reading an article on my iPhone. Most news organizations already have mobile apps for the various platforms so the layout and design change has already been done for me. And, in today's world we can share almost anything immediately by email, Facebook or Twitter. All I need now is one additional option in the Share menu, and that's "print to file" with format choices. With that option I could print the article to a .pdf file and then send it to my friend without her having to click the share link and go get the article herself.

     

    Please, Apple, this would be a beautiful enhancement to IOS.

     

    many thanks to all who read and contribute...

     

    Tim

  • Julian Wright Level 7 (34,860 points)

    Printopia allows you to Print to PDF direct from iOS devices, as long as you are on the same network as your Mac. You can also save the resulting PDF direct to Dropbox.

     

    http://ecamm.com/mac/printopia/

     

    It might do what you want...

  • pandoratim Level 1 (0 points)

    hi Julian, 

     

    thanks very much for your tip. I'll give it a try...

    Tim