PDFs...Worth the Trouble
Let's face it: PDFs are great. I used to hate them because they gave me no end of trouble and I didn'thave a workflow capable of handling them properly. But they've come a long way since the old days,and so have I.
Here are some of their advantages:
They're Universal. This means pretty much anyone can read and print them with Adobe Reader,
Acrobat, or a host of other (usually free) applications.
PDFs are self-contained. Unlike files made in InDesign, QuarkXPress or other desktop publishing
programs, no supporting documents are required. If you sent a print provider a QuarkXPress file
without the graphics, he'd hit the ceiling.
For that matter, no supporting fonts are required. Ditto on that Hitting of the Ceiling Thing in #2.
PDFs are versatile. They have tons of uses, and can be pulled apart (with the right technique!) and
repurposed to other ends.
And here's the downside:
They're exceedingly hard to edit in most cases. Even if the fonts are embedded properly, if you need to
get in there and make a change, there's a great likelihood that you WON'T have the fonts loaded and end
up with some headaches fixing the file. Changing the size of the page is not an easy process if all you
have to work with is a PDF.
On that matter of fonts, some fonts are proprietary or corrupt and can't be embedded, which is pretty
sneaky if you think of it. You're doing everything you can to make a good file and WHAM! a propiertary
font leaps out at you...
A PDF is only as good as the operator creating it. You can make a good InDesign file into a BAD PDF, but
you can't make a BAD InDesign file into a GOOD PDF. That means that the graphics going into that PDF
have to be the highest-quality, and those fonts better be good and embedded properly. We'll talk soon
on the subject of graphics.