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This Isn’t Working

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I hear “This isn’t working” from frustrated customers on a fairly regular basis. Most of the time it’s because a particular PDF file isn’t behaving the way that they expect it to. So, with the recent release of the “Compatibility Advisory Regarding Adobe Reader plug-in and Acrobat plug-in with Safari 5.1“, I thought I’d address a few broader compatibility issues that may arise when working with PDF files.


But first… Yes – I’m biased – I work for Adobe. So I’ll try to stick to just the facts in this article and let everyone come to their own conclusions. I’m also not going to cover the obvious compatibility issues that are inherent with PDF Portfolios, Multimedia and other Flash dependent objects in PDF files, but will, instead, limit my discussion to the core of PDF that is in use my most people out there and not the cutting edge stuff that I talk about in my developer blog.

There are three scenarios that are the root cause of most issues around use of PDF files and I’ll address each separately but they can… and do… occur in combination with each other.

This Isn’t Working

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I recently asked Ali Hanyaloglu, Acrobat Product Evangelist and Leonard Rosenthol, PDF Standards Architect to help me out with an article on PDF standards and the various viewer technologies out there. Here’s what they’ve got to say…

By now many of you would have heard about the standards called ISO 19005-1 and ISO 15930-3 – that’s PDF/A-1 and PDF/X-3 to most of us. These standards take the published PDF specifications as originally developed by Adobe, and then define what parts from those specifications are both required and restricted for specific workflows. That is, the long-term archiving of electronic documents, and the blind exchange of materials intended for press and high-quality printing, respectively. These standards ensure that there are no surprises when the documents are viewed and printed, such as incorrectly encoded or non-embedded fonts, or colors shifting when printed.

Details Matter: Conforming with International Standards for Viewing PDF Files