Friday, September 26, 2008

Office 2007 - PDF output

In April, DJ and I supported The Wallace Foundation Annual Arts Grantee Conference in San Francisco. Our primary role was to make sure all the presenters were able to get their presentations running on rented equipment. In the process we learned a lot about what Arts organizations are doing to attract and retain audiences - particularly families with young children.

As always happens when working with any other person that uses technology, I learned something from one of the presenters. They had submitted their slides as PDF which was unusual, but I didn't think anything of it - until it was time to prep the machines. They hadn't provided any PowerPoint files.

On the day that team of presenters was setting up we asked for their slides and they offered that they had already sent us a PDF. After some discussion, we learned two things: 1. The slides worked as a PDF just as in PowerPoint. 2. PowerPoint 2007 had a feature to export to PDF. This was very cool because they had used some cool fonts that were not installed on presentation machines, yet showed perfectly in the PDF slides. (We had earlier in the day had to work with a speaker whose slides were, uh, messed up, because the fonts they used were not on the presentation machines and therefore the slides looked really bad.)

I bring this up today, because I have just finally moved to Vista and Office 2007. I had been using Adobe Acrobat and PDF Complete over the years to generate PDFs and I wasn't really happy with either of them. Also, I just learned about the free FoxIt PDF Reader which loads lightning fast compared to Acrobat Reader. So I decided I wasn't going to load Acrobat Professional this time around. Instead, I loaded FoxIt as the reader and I found that Microsoft offers an optional tool to generate PDFs from within Office 2007 Applications. You can get it here.

I've only used it once so far, and it seems pretty fast. I'll play around with it more over the next few days and see if it is really a good option.

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