Archive for January, 2010

Using all the Tools in the Toolkit

Sometimes we forget just how useful Acrobat can be. I was recently asked about a problem somebody was having pulling data out of PDF’s. They were copying and pasting text from a PDF and getting some “interesting” results. My suggestion was to export the data rather than copy and paste. There are many options for text export from Acrobat including Word, RTF, plain text, amongst many.


This problem brought to mind an issue I was asked to sort out many years ago. An organisation wanted a text version of their annual report. It had been laid out in a (non Adobe) page layout application. At the time this application did not have efficient table creation and the layout artist had painstakingly generated 160+ pages of tables in this report by matching columns of type. The end result looked ok but was a complete nightmare to pull back together as a Word document. Again the answer was exporting from Acrobat. Acrobat did a tremendous job of taking a PDF of the layout and generating tables which required only a little reworking in Word.

Another useful function of Acrobat is the ability to export all images from a PDF, in combination with the text retrieval very handy for those times when major changes need to be applied to a PDF where the original artwork is not available.