Archive for July, 2013

Adobe Captivate 7 and Presenter 9 Can Now Be Packaged for IT Deployment

Education IT administrators now have the ability to create deployment packages (MSI / PKG) for both Adobe Captivate 7 and Adobe Presenter 9 using the new Creative Cloud Packager (CCP). Currently, CCP is used to build deployment packages for the Creative Cloud applications. With the appropriate Captivate / Presenter licensing keys, CCP can access the “installer bits” for these applications directly from Adobe servers, cache, and then build the package.

Your Adobe licensing manager will need to log into the Adobe Licensing Website (LWS), select Captivate / Presenter to access CCP (for Mac and/or Win) and the accompanying licensing key. Once CCP is installed:

1. Launch CCP
2. Select “I am an Enterprise, Government or Education customer”
3. Sign in with your administrative Adobe ID
4. Enter the Captivate / Presenter licensing key from LWS
5. You will then see the relevant product on the “Applications and Updates” screen
6. Click Build

For more details on the Creative Cloud Packager, please visit:

http://helpx.adobe.com/creative-cloud/packager.html

Adobe EchoSign Can Save Your Organization Huge Time and Money

EchoSign Testimonial

Early in the year I received an unsolicited email from a customer that works for a large Texas independent school district touting the benefits of their EchoSign purchase.

 “Today I did a MegaSign of about 1,000 Letters of Reasonable Assurance to our at-will, non-contract employees who don’t work during the summer (we send about 3,000 total).  A process that used to take a team of people months to complete (printing letters, stuffing envelopes, mailing, tracking, receiving, logging, scanning…)

with EchoSign, I was able to do this myself.  I had about 40% back before I left work (with an average processing time of 21 minutes).  Incredible!”

Mike

Mike went on to explain that receiving signed Letters of Reasonable Assurance is extremely important in that it protects schools from paying unemployment during the summer break.  Without the letter, he explained,  districts would “pay enormous sums in unemployment.”

 So…what is EchoSign?

Adobe EchoSign provides an extremely easy-to-use electronic signature solution.

EchoSign can work with all kinds of documents.  The most common document formats used with EchoSign are:

  • PDFs
  • Word Documents
  • PowerPoint
  • Excel
  • Common image formats

With EchoSign there is no need for your customers (or students, faculty, and parents) to download or signup for anything. They can use their mouse, stylus, or finger to sign the document (heck, they can even type their name into a field and have EchoSign create a signature for them), and you don’t have to worry about what device or browser is supported.  EchoSign works on all browsers, across all devices.

How can teachers use EchoSign?

As a parent, I would love for my child’s school to offer a digital signature option.  For example, say my daughter’s teacher is charged with collecting fieldtrip permission slips from the entire 7th grade.  The teacher can use EchoSign to easily complete and manage this task. The teacher would simply upload the form into EchoSign, add a signature field (drag and drop simple), and send the digital permission slip out to the parents.

I would receive an email on my mobile device, open the email, click a link and sign my daughter’s permission slip (with my finger – touch devices are amazing)!   For those parents that do not have a touch device they can use their mouse or a stylus.  I submit the permission slip and receive a signed copy within seconds.  The teacher also receives a signed copy (everyone is happy).

For those that don’t immediately sign, the teacher can setup reminder emails that reoccur on a set schedule.  The teacher no longer has to deal with last minute phone calls with parents scrambling to find and return important school documents.

What about security?

“But how do I know that it truly was the parent that signed the permission slip?”

That is a great question!  If you think about it, e-signatures provide more security than the paper-based permission slips that the students are returning. The teacher has no idea that the paper-based document truly reflects the parent’s signature or a forgery.  However, with an e-signed document, the parent must log into their email account (presumably using a password) to view the document. An email-based delivery mechanism provides a layer of security that the student’s backpack does not.

More on EchoSign security…

How about complex signature routing?

No worries! EchoSign has you covered.

I’ve also viewed more than a few documents that require complex signature routing.  For example, a change-of-course form may require a signature from the student, professor, student advisor, and the dean of the college.  If each person takes a day it can easily take a document almost a week to process.  EchoSign can handle that kind of complex routing as well, and greatly reduce the time it take to process multi-signature documents.

Below are examples of common documents that require a signature.

  • Contracts
  • HR Documents
  • Permission Slips
  • Parent/Teacher/Administrator documents
  • Progress Reports
  • University change-of-course forms
  • Student Parking Forms
  • Student Housing Forms

…and the list goes on!

Fantastic!  How can I get it?

Hold your horses pardner!  You may want to speak with your Adobe Account Manager.

Ways to purchase EchoSign…

  • Signup for EchoSign electronic signature software online (great for individuals or small teams)
  • Speak to your Adobe Account manager (best for larger departmental and institutional purchases).  For larger purchases, I highly recommend speaking to your Adobe account manager, as they can make recommendations based on your organization’s needs and also provide you with the best pricing options.  

When you think of your organization’s document workflow think of the headaches you experience when trying to get paperwork signed and returned on a TIMELY basis.

Bottom-line… EchoSign has huge potential to save your institution time and money (while saving you from a huge document-induced migraine)!

 

Scott Trudeau
Senior Solutions Consultant, Adobe Inc.
Education

For more Adobe Tips, Tricks, and Information Follow me on Twitter @scott_trudeau 

www.scotttrudeau.com

It’s all about structure!

I was trying to think of a better title-One that would grab you and draw you in. But, it’s late on a Saturday evening here in Pemaquid, ME so I took the simple approach. But, if you got this far, this link should keep your attention:

http://blogs.reuters.com/mediafile/2012/01/12/16-year-old-makes-6200-in-dec-from-her-e-books-on-amazon/

Yeah, maybe I’m in the wrong business too.

So, if you have something to say, you can say it. Working for Adobe as I do, I am blessed with the opportunity to show people in K-12 and Higher Education how to create eBooks. One the topics I often questioned into to covering is about the best way to create an eBook—what format is best?

The answer is, and should be, all of them. PDF, ePub, HTML, JPG (yup, sometimes JPG), xml, Bobs-house-of-ebooks-and-emporium (it’s a proprietary format) ((no, it’s actually made up, but there are proprietary formats and you should consider them.)) The more access to the work you give the world, the more people will be able to access it. Seems simple, no?

But, to return to the question at hand, the best format cannot be predicted. In the next 5 years, I am certain that there will be new options and one of them might guarantee you a paying audience like no other. So, what I like to do is to better prepare people to move their content around and use whatever distribution format makes sense to them. To accomplish that, you need structure—and lots of it.

Use styles like they are going out of style
Because they are not. Styles help you to format text by tagging a paragraph with a name. Then, by describing what the style should look like, you can apply that formatting to entire paragraphs at a time. As a bonus, when you need to adjust formatting, you simply change the style’s definition and the application you are using (in my case Adobe InDesign) will update all of the text that has been tagged with that style. They have been around since before the desktop publishing revolution started. There was such a time. I was there, and it was terrible.

An image showing the style panel in Adobe InDesign

The Paragraph Styles panel (Window: Styles: Paragraph Styles) allows you to apply styles to your text.

However, a new reason to take the time to set up style sheets has emerged for the common user. By tagging a paragraph, you are also determining what the content is. Not what it says, but what it is. For example, Heading 1, as a tag tells me that the content is a Heading 1 paragraph. Visually, that information is conveyed by the font choice you have made (usually BIG and/or BOLD typefaces). Since machines cannot (yet) see, when you need to use a machine to convert the project from one format to another, a human has to sit there and do it by hand. I have done this work for a living. It’s tedious, boring work.

If you have content that is structured with styles, it will be many times faster for you to convert it from one format to another—opening up the opportunity to use someone’s new distribution service. There are more reasons:

  • Automatic table-of-content generation requires it (InDesign will create a TOC automatically if you just ask it)
  • Bookmarking tools often ask you identify the style you want to have become bookmarks (make everything tagged with the Heading 2 style a bookmark. (If you create a PDF with the PDF Maker Acrobat installs into Word, a simple checkbox will create bookmarks—even nested bookmarks—for you.)
  • Find and replace features often allow you to select a style sheet as a way to grab specific content. (Both Word and InDesign do this along with just about any text or page layout program you might find)

There are almost certainly others.

Once you have the styles created, you get two huge operational benefits. On the front end, you can more quickly move the content from a standard text editing tool, such as Microsoft Word (although, I use InCopy for a variety of reasons that are beyond the scope of this post) and then drop it into your layout document. If your InDesign and Word content both use styles with the exact same names, InDesign accepts the text and applies the formatting you set in InDesign. Why the split? First off, layout has overhead and copywriting is fast. Writing without the overhead of formatting, page layout objects, etc. is faster. Plus, as an older gentleman (stop laughing) It’s hard for me to stare at a screen all day as it is. Having to read 13-point body copy is no fun. So, I write—using styles—with BIG SANS SERIF typefaces. Headings are BIGGER and bolder but the overall effect is that it is easier for me to see what I am writing. So, if you use style sheets in a consistent fashion, you can pour the text into your InDesign document and let the style sheets in the InDesign file format the text for you.

Map style sheets in Adobe InDesign
The next thing to do is to map the style sheets in InDesign to standard HTML tags.

The Paragraph Style Options dialog box with the Export Tagging Options selected.

Among the options (double-click on a style in the Paragraph Styles panel) for a style are the Export Tagging settings.


Doing this makes it easier to convert your content later if you need to. Heading 1, for example, likely maps to H1 in HTML and ePub. Because InDesign also allows you to add class names to the mix, the tags for the content you create get specific enough to allow you the flexibility of converting the text to a variety of formats and readies for whatever formatting that converted copy can provide. If it’s a web page or an ePub, Cascading Style Sheets control the look and layout of the piece.
This is what the text looks like as exported HTML. Note the tags (bolded for emphasis) around the three paragraphs. With this structure it is easier to use the text in a variety of ways because the text is tagged to describe what it is.

This is what the text looks like as exported HTML. Note the tags (bolded for emphasis) around the three paragraphs. With this structure it is easier to use the text in a variety of ways because the text is tagged to describe what it is.

Once you have done this, your text is much more portable—even if you decide to export it from InDesign and, for example, add it to a blog post. All you need to do is to come up with that 6,000 per-month topic and start raking in the dough.