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Old 10-08-2009, 10:28 PM   #1
Eric Ladner
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Default Editing text in pdf or eps

A few weeks back, the Forum provided some excellent help on pdf forms to be filled out online. Now I'm back, ha in hand, hoping for more suggestions.

It turned out that the job was not just creating online pdfs from formerly printed forms; it included reformatting them from 8.5 x 14 to 8.5 x 11, AND increasing the type size by a couple of points, going from two to six pages as part of the process.

For the first batch I had QXP files to work with, and, much as I prefer InDesign, it wasn't too bad.

But now, I've encountered a group of forms for which my predecessor inexplicably left only pdf and eps files - no QuarkXPress or InDesign. I do have Acrobat Pro 8 and Illustrator CS3, but the prospect of resizing and reformatting whole pages of forms, and legal-size pages of contract language is daunting.

Is my only option to copy the text into a layout program - or "Save as Text" and place it - and reformat it from scratch? Trying to edit in Acrobat or Illustrator seldom lets me select more than a couple of lines of text at a time - and sometimes only parts of words.

Or am I missing something important about how to use the software?

Would any of the third-party editors Google turns up help (preferably on the Mac platform)? Or could there possibly be "revcon" software to take a pdf back to page layout format?

As always, many thanks for any suggestions!
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Old 10-09-2009, 01:33 AM   #2
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I have had good results with SolidConverterPDF from SolidDocuments - it recovers text well into MS Word, though if the original PDF was badly constructed, the Word document can sometimes be a maze of text boxes that take a while to reposition. (I am talking reports from an Oracle database here, so probably more demanding than the average bear?) I don't know offhand if it works in Mac Office versions.
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Old 10-09-2009, 07:30 AM   #3
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Lois:
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I have had good results with SolidConverterPDF from SolidDocuments
So have I. When it is used to reproduce the exact layout of the PDF in Word (including illustrations) though, it increases the spacing between pargraphs by repeated paragraph marks, not by increasing the 'space after' command; but all connverters do that. I recommend it, having used it for years.

   
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Old 10-09-2009, 07:56 AM   #4
Eric Ladner
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Has anyone tried PDF2ID, from Recosoft? It sounds ideal, except for the price: $300 for an InDesign plugin!
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Old 10-09-2009, 09:53 AM   #5
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Eric:
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Has anyone tried PDF2ID, from Recosoft? It sounds ideal, except for the price: $300 for an InDesign plugin
Rounding off a number as large as 399 seems a little drastic: I see $399, $300 more than from PDF to Word. Since InDesign will import from Word, that seems a lot for cutting out one step, even though ID doesn't interpret Word all that well—especially from Word 2007.

   
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Old 10-09-2009, 01:00 PM   #6
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$399 is the "Pro" version, whose extra features I don't think I would really need. I know why you got that number though: the Recosoft web site really pushes you to the more expensive version, and you have to really dig to find the "Standard" one.

I've discovered that there is also a trial version, that works for 14 days, for 10 conversions of the first page only of the pdf. However, if I submit each page separately, I can get a couple of forms converted to InDesign, and have a better basis to decide whether the full version is a worthwhile investment.

In my particular corporate environment I also have to look at what we bill for typesetting time, and what the client might balk at paying, versus the cost of the software.

I have a hard time believing anyone sitting in this chair would have deleted the native page layout files - that's just crazy! - and I'd like to ask the client if perhaps they created these forms, and just sent us pdf's and eps's, but that would require admitting that we don't have the native files, and then politics gets involved . . .
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:23 PM   #7
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Eric:
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I know why you got that number though: the Recosoft web site really pushes you to the more expensive version, and you have to really dig to find the "Standard" one
Yes, I have seen that now: it is revealed only if you look at the 'Products' tab that there are two different versions of the PDF to ID program. But even $300 is too much.

Your client probably does not have the native page layout files himself; he may have well got someone else to deliver the final PDF.

   
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Old 10-09-2009, 09:50 AM   #8
Howard Allen
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Eric--

I don't think you're missing anything with respect to Acrobat: trying to edit any text other than a couple transposed characters or very minor spelling mistakes is hopeless.

Illustrator does one better: it will place PDF text into fully editable form, but each line or tab-separated area of text will become a separate text object, so any changes to leading, etc. will be tedious at best. I think this breakup of the text into objects is what happens when a PDF is created in the first place, and Illustrator has no way of reversing the process. This is probably going to be the biggest stumbling block for any conversion software.

Being unfamiliar, as I am, with any of the conversion plugins for InDesign, and if I was doing this myself on a lot of material, I think I would consider the OCR option. It would of course require reformatting (InDesign's paragraph styles would minimize the pain), but at least you'd be working with all the text at once, rather than umpteen separate text boxes.

Good luck!

   
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Last edited by Howard Allen; 10-09-2009 at 09:53 AM. Reason: Fixed some boo-boos
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Old 10-10-2009, 01:38 AM   #9
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I have to modify large pdfs fairly frequently and do so by placing them into inDesign and then resizing and/or overtyping amendments in text boxes with a white fill.

To import the pdfs I use pdfplacer which provide quite a high degree of flexibility and provides a 'fit to page' option that will resize the pdf to a new page size.

I've found that, which large pdfs, it's best to experiment by importing just a few pages till I'm sure I've got the settings right.

   
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Old 10-09-2009, 11:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
eric: But now, I've encountered a group of forms for which my predecessor inexplicably left only pdf and eps files
What happens if you try a basic copy/paste--from the pdf to ID?

Have you tried placing the pdf in ID?

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