The key to using PDF in Office is correct classification
- From: nrdgrl <nrdgrl@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2008 07:07:01 -0700
Once you draw the distinction between the two types of PDF files – vector and
raster – your work becomes a whole lot easier.
If you know what kind of PDF file you have, you’ll be able to regenerate it
in the format that is ideal for your project. Sometimes you’ll need to edit
the objects and text; other times, you’ll simply need to re-image the PDF
file at a higher resolution. The key is to have the tools that let you
convert your PDF file into vector formats as easily as a raster. That way,
you can make the most of the information you have in your PDF file.”
To classify a PDF file, open it in Acrobat Reader and magnify it to more
than 800%. If the details in the drawing look sharp and smooth, it is a
vector PDF. If zooming results in jagged or grainy details, it is a raster,
or bitmap PDF. The differences are outlined below for readers who want to
understand the details. For the moment, just knowing the type of PDF will
help you determine how much you can do with it.
Vector PDF files are the most versatile. They can be enlarged or reduced
without quality loss and they contain a rich file definition which allows
objects and text to be extracted in formats easily digested by Microsoft
Office. This means that vector PDF files can be converted into editable Visio
drawings, PowerPoint slides or Publisher and Word pictures using an
inexpensive utility such as pdf2picture from Visual Integrity
(www.pdf2picture.com). The editable format generated is either WMF or EMF –
both fully supported in all Microsoft applications. All elements of the PDF
file can be modified including lines, curves and text. If they do not need to
be edited, they can be output as efficient, high-quality bitmap images in
appropriate formats for Web or print publishing.
Raster PDF files, usually produced by scanners, are fixed images. Raster
files are simply collections of dots or pixels. They no longer contain any
intelligence about what the dots represent. When a raster PDF is displayed on
screen, it is reduced to standard screen resolution (usually 96 dpi), very
low compared to print standards. Any attempt to copy and paste the PDF info
from the screen into your Microsoft application will yield blurry results.
You can use a tool such as pdf2image (www.pdf2image.com) to convert it at 150
dpi, an ideal resolution for laser printing. If you need to regenerate the
file as objects, you can use “raster to vector” software such as Scan2CAD
(www.softcover.com) or trace it manually in a program such as Visio.
Tip sheets on using converted PDF files in MS Office can be found on the
Visual Integrity web site in the FAQ -
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