Sunday, September 23, 2007

Adobe Acrobat hates me!

Does Adobe have a voodoo doll hidden in their Executive offices labeled "Kirok's computa"?

There are an increasing number of ways of ePublishing these days, but by far the most universal is pdf or Adobe Acrobat. Everybody has a copy of adobe acrobat reader on their computer, although you might not have all the language packs and updates, so putting your content online as a pdf file is by far the safest option of making your content available for the world wide web, especially if you use fancy fonts, formatting and graphics.

My problem is hyperlinks.

For me, the value of the internet is the absolutely vast repository of content that it holds for us, ranging from the pertinent to the arcane, from the kitsch to the kinky! When I write an article of non-fiction, even commentaries such as this, I like to pepper it with links to further reading, examples, references and the occasional in-joke. My problem has been that i have found it increasingly hard to find a pdf creator application that will reliably preserve those links in a pdf copy of my work.

For a couple of years now, I've been using free pdf creation software ranging from the proprietary Adobe product, the commercial Jaws PDF Creator (a magazine freebie) to the freeware PDFCreator (be careful how you spell that, there are a lot of clones out there!). Don't get me wrong: fine software. However they only seem to preserve hyperlinks on a random basis.

If you have the URL written in your text, like, not a problem, but try hyperlinking a word or phrase with a URL, such as this list of pdf software, and you are in trouble.

... or at least I am! Is it just me? Well, I have found a way out which has its good and bad points. OpenOffice!

It's no secret that OpenOffice, the open source freeware office suite with word processor, spreadsheet, database, drawing and presentation modules, has had an export to pdf function for quite a while. What I didn't know until I tested it, was that it preserved the hyperlinks! OK then, thinks I, I'll use OO for the problem pages and then frankenstein them together with PDFCreator - you can make one pdf document from many individual ones with PDFCreator.

To make my life easier, I got myself one of the now ridiculously cheap, one gig thumb drives and installed OO as an "Office-on-a-stick": slower but I can carry my fan work from home to office and back. Imagine my consternation when it wouldn't work! Same thing - lost the hyperlinks on words or phrases! But that's not right, Igor said to Penelope, it worked last month! And sure enough, when I checked on my home instalation (Vs 1.1 as against 2.1 on the stick), it worked.

So, is it me? Or does the newer version of OO perform worse than the older version? I'll keep you posted.

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