The tech helper: Troubleshooting Acrobat and PDFs (Feature)
By Jay Dougherty Jun 4, 2010, 3:06 GMT
Washington - Adobe Acrobat's portable document file (PDF) format has never been more critical. Whether you're browsing the internet, preparing sensitive documents for the outside world, or readying material for consumption on the iPad or other mobile devices, you're likely to need to work with Acrobat or PDFs at some point, and when you do, you might just encounter some of the concerns that generated our questions this week. Read on for more.
Q: I'm a student and need to create PDFs occasionally. The full Acrobat product is too expensive for me. Are there reliable alternatives?
A: There are many alternatives to purchasing Acrobat. Many have reported satisfaction with PrimoPDF (http://bit.ly/1VWSlS), which bills itself as the world's number one PDF creator. Bullzip (http://www.bullzip.com), however, also gets favorable reviews, as does CutePDF (http://www.cutepdf.com). Many alternative PDF writers lack the bells and whistles of Adobe's Acrobat product - such as add-on toolbars and menus - but some prefer doing without these. Many of them also will not allow you to manipulate your PDF creations in ways that Adobe's product will. For instance, deleting or re-ordering pages of a created PDF document is often not possible. However, if what you want to do is simply save a document as a PDF file, one of these alternatives will likely suffice.
If you want the genuine Adobe product, keep in mind that Adobe offers more student-friendly pricing for many of its products. Check Adobe's Education Pricing (http://bit.ly/2KRxPT) page for details.
Q: I can copy text and graphics from some PDFs but not others. Why would this be?
A: The most likely reason that you cannot highlight and then copy material from some PDFs is that they've been 'locked' by the creators of the PDFs. When you create a PDF, you should have several security options, and one of them will be to prevent users from selecting and copying content.
The only way to get around this is if you know the password used to create the file. If you do know the password, open the PDF, and from the File menu, click Properties. If you're using the full Adobe Acrobat product, the Document Properties dialog box will appear, with the Security tab selected. Select the Security Method drop-down and select No Security. You will be prompted for a password. Supply it, save the file, and you should then be able to copy text.
Q: I installed a PDF creation program, but I can't figure out how to create a PDF. There's no menu. How do I get started?
A: Creating a PDF - whether with Adobe's Acrobat or an alternative creation program, is really a matter of printing a file to the PDF format. That means that if you have the PDF creator installed correctly, you should be able to initiate the PDF creation process by opening the standard Print dialog box and selecting PDF as your 'printer.'
Once you've done that, clicking OK will typically open a Save As dialog box - or a Save As PDF dialog box - allowing you to select a drive and folder on which to store the PDF file. If your PDF is destined to be sent to someone by e-mail, also see if your source application has a 'Send To' option in the File menu. Chances are the Send To submenu will include an option such as 'Send to Mail Recipient as PDF.' Selecting this will still require you first to save the file to your drive as a PDF, but afterwards the file should appear automatically as an attachment in your standard e-mail program.
Q: I installed Acrobat, and now I have Acrobat toolbars and menus in my Word application. How can I get rid of these?
A: To remove the Acrobat menus, right-click a blank spot in the menu area, and from the pop-up menu, select Customise (at the bottom). A customise dialog box appears. From there, make sure you're on the Toolbars tab. Locate and highlight the Menu Bar entry, and then click the Reset button. Perform the same procedure in all of your other Office applications from which you wish to remove the Acrobat menu bar.
Removing the toolbar buttons takes a bit more time. Go to the Control Panel's Programs and Feature option (or Add/Remove Programs in Windows XP), highlight the Acrobat entry, and select Uninstall/Change (or Change/Remove). The Acrobat installation program will launch. From there, select Modify, and follow the prompts until you're able to select which components are installed. Locate the Create Adobe PDF menu, expand it, and then click the Acrobat PDFMaker option. A drop-down menu will appear. Select 'this feature will not be available,' and then click Next and Finish. The toolbars will then be uninstalled, yet your PDF creation functionality will be preserved.
Q: Is there somewhere on the internet where I can go to get answers to questions about Acrobat?
A: Adobe hosts forums for most of its applications, including Acrobat. Try the Acrobat Support Forum at http://forums.adobe.com/community/acrobat. .
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