Visual Development Lab

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PDF files

PDF stands for Portable Document Format. It is a generic format that can be read on any computer. Use it whenever you send somebody a document to read rather than change.

PDF files are not Acrobat files. On a Macintosh many applications can read them, many applicatons can modify them, and every application can create them.

  • Read PDF files in Preview or Adobe Reader. An occasional bizarre file will require Adobe Reader but it would be sensible to make Preview your default PDF viewer. Preview is simpler, it is generally more useful—it displays many other kinds of file as well—and it works better with other applications. Preview will let you copy sections of a PDF file as text or graphics, and it will permit you to annotate them.

  • Create simple PDF files in any application. Just select Print then, when the dialog box appears, choose an item on the PDF pop-up menu.

  • Fill in forms & edit PDF files in PDFpenPro. To use this you will need to enter the lab's username and registration number. (This link requires the first 8 characters of the lab password.)

  • Unlock password-protected PDF files with PDFLab. Use the "decrypt" command and no password.

  • Combine, split up & reorder PDF files with PDFLab.

  • Watermark pages with "DRAFT" (or whatever) using with PDFLab.

  • Extract graphics from PDF (or PowerPoint) files with File Juicer.

Shrink PDF files that are not intended to be printed out in high quality. You can do this in two ways. If you are looking at it in Preview, choose Save As then, when the dialog box appears, select Reduce File Size from the Quartz popup menu. In any other application select Print then, when the dialog box appears, select Reduce File Size from the PDF pop-up menu. This will reduce the quality of images but not enough to be noticed on a computer screen or in a presentation. (Be sure to keep the original, though, in case you ever want the higher quality.)

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