Creating and editing PDF files

There is some great information available on the web! Do you to save it for future reference and further study?

I do! I often use that information to learn a new technique. I also use it to prepare presentations for my user group, teach a class, ore even write a blog post.

Most of the information that I save will never be printed out. I will read it on my computer screen. I will want to be able to search the information. I will want the option to add comments or highlighting and I want to preserve the links in the article. I might also want to be able to combine several articles into a single document.
There is some great information available on the web! Do you to save it for future reference and further study?

I do! I often use that information to learn a new technique. I also use it to prepare presentations for my user group, teach a class, ore even write a blog post.

Most of the information that I save will never be printed out. I will read it on my computer screen. I will want to be able to search the information. I will want the option to add comments or highlighting and I want to preserve the links in the article. I might also want to be able to combine several articles into a single document.

Let’s take a look at an article I might want to save. I am very impressed with a series of articles that Derrick Story is writing for Macworld. I have had the privledge of attending Derrick’s classes on two MacMania cruises and at Macworld Expo. I listen to his podcast and have taken several of his classes on Lynda.com. I also have several of his books, so I know that the information and techniques that he presents are worth saving for re-reading later. His article, Tame your flash looks like this on the Macworld site:




Let’s take a look at how that information would look if I used the File > Print > PDF > Save as PDF… command:




This is not bad! The links in the article are clickable and there is at least one that will lead me back to the article on the Macworld site so that I can pass the link on to other people.

Let’s check another of Derrick’s articles, Get great photos in low light. There is a link to it in the first article. This one is a longer. It includes a chart that is full of important information. When I print it to a .pdf file the page breaks are not so good. In fact, one of them cuts into a table and makes that information difficult to read:




We need to find a way to make the page break in a better place. Did you know that you can make text appear larger or smaller on a web page by using commands that appear in the View Menu?

This is the View menu in Safari 3 and in the Safari 4 beta:




In Safari 3, only the text is enlarged. In Safari 4, you can either make the entire page larger or smaller using either the menu or keyboard shortcuts or you can use the View menu to make the text larger.

I am using the Safari 4 beta on my MacBook Pro, so I will be zooming the whole page for these examples.

First, let’s try zooming in to make everything a bit larger:




In this case, zooming in made the problem worse, so let’s try zooming out which will make everything a bit smaller:




That worked perfectly!

Now, I have two article by Derrick Story. If I want the text to appear larger, I can use the zoom icon in the Preview toolbar.

It would be nice to be able to put these two articles together since they complement each other.

In the old days, putting two or more PDF documents together meant having to buy another piece of software. Most commonly we used Adobe Acrobat and that is a $400 application. Adobe Acrobat is very full featured and can do many things, but for this project, we want to two documents together, make a few notes and highlight a few passages without spending any money.

You can do all of that and more using Preview which is a part of the software that came with your Macintosh--in other words, for free!

Let’s start by putting the two PDFs together.

Open both documents and make sure you can see the sidebar. If you cannot, use the Sidebar icon to show the Sidebar. It is at the top right edge of the window:




Now, position both documents on your computer screen so that you can see the page icons in the both of sidebars. Select the pages you want to move. (Remember that you can add to a selection by holding down the Command key and selecting multiple objects.) Then drag the page icons to the other sidebar. Notice that there will be a red line that will show you where the pages will be inserted. There will also be a circle with a green plus, but I cannot find a way to get a screenshot of it.




Now, all the pages will appear in one document.

This would be a good time to save the combined document with a new name using the File > Save As… command. Choose a name that will be meaningful.

Right now there does not appear to be any tools that will allow us to make notes and highlights in Preview, but a trip to the View menu will solve that problem!

Go to the View menu and choose Customize toolbar…:




Just look at all the icons you can add to the Preview toolbar!




While there are lots of tools available, There are two sets that you will need to mark up and annotate PDF files. I have put a red box around them. I have put green boxes around the two that I find most important for picture editing. However, you can see that I added several extra icons in the screenshot of my customized Preview toolbar below:




Now that we have easy access to some tools, take a look at some of the things I did to my Derrick Story pdf:




When you save your PDF file after you have annotated and marked it up, the changes will be added to your document. If you send it to someone, your notes and markups will be there. However, there is no way to remove them, so if you think you might someday want the PDF in its original form, be sure to save an unedited copy!

There are many things to learn about your computer and the applications that come with it. Remember us at Dr.Mac Consulting for troubleshooting, training, and technical advise!

--Pat

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