Chapter 3. Authoring and Self-Publishing: Hacking Outside the PDF

Introduction: Hacks #24-31

Publishing documents involves a lot more than creating PDF files. The next few chapters will take a look at the details involved in publishing with PDF, but the hacks here will make that work easier and perhaps even more profitable for you.

Hack #24. Keep Your Source Smart

Cherish and maintain your source document; dumb PDF is no substitute.

PDF has grown to be a very capable file format. Starting out as dumb "electronic paper," PDF is now also used as a smart authoring file format by many Adobe products. By smart, I mean that it perfectly preserves a document's structure. For example, you can create artwork in Adobe Illustrator and then save it as a PDF without any loss of information (File Save As... Save as Type: PDF). Open this smart PDF in Illustrator and continue editing; it functions just like Illustrator's native AI file format. Smart PDFs have beauty and brains.


Smart PDFs aren't suited for general, online distribution. They are packed with application data and are much larger than their optimized, dumb derivatives. Some authoring programs give you the option to create dumb PDF. In Illustrator, for example, you can disable Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities when you choose to create a PDF (File Save a Copy... Save as Type: PDF). Or, dumb down a smart PDF with refrying [Hack #60] before releasing it for wide distribution.

Between smart and dumb, you have clever ...

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