How to Generate Better PDF Documents

Most people working in an office understand the importance and usefulness of PDF software and a PDF reader. PDFs enable us to create secure documents without the sometimes undesirable metadata found in Microsoft Word documents. PDF software allows us to create documents that are universally readable on any computer or mobile device with a basic PDF reader. And really good PDF software, such as Foxit PhantomPDF (if we do say so ourselves) provides numerous options for creating and editing our documents.

Almost anyone that has used a PDF editor like Foxit PhantomPDF knows some of the basic editing options available to them. Undo, redo, and creating headers and footers are simple tools that you find in most editing programs, whether they’re PDF or not. However, there are some additional capabilities available on PDF software like PhantomPDF that can have a dramatic impact on the quality of your PDFs. And if you’re not already using them, you may want to give them a try.

Create a Watermark in PhantomPDF to Protect Your Document

Watermarks are the faint but noticeable images in the background of each page of a document. They’re typically used to put company names or logos behind text in order to protect duplication or copyrights. Creating a watermark with PDF software like PhantomPDF is very easy:

In the “organize” menu, choose “page marks,” “watermarks,” “add.”

You can then choose the text or image you’d like to use, as well as select from a number of options, including whether the watermark appears in front of or behind the PDF content, the size and margins of the watermark, and its orientation. After adding a watermark, every PDF reader that opens your document will display it in the background.

Use Bates Numbering for Better Searches

Bates Numbering is an indexing tool used by companies in the legal and medical industries and by medium to large businesses. Bates Numbering is a simple and automated way to include unique identifiers on each page of a document that indicate the date and time a document was created.

Bates Numbering makes it easy to index and retrieve documents, especially when there is a large amount of documents being created on a regular basis. Using Bates Numbering in a document is easy with PDF software like PhantomPDF:

Open the “organize” menu, choose “page marks,” “Bates Numbering,” “add.”

From here, you can decide whether you want the numbering in the header or footer, which side of the document to put it on, how many digits you want in the number, and a prefix and suffix (if any). By using Bates Numbering, you’ll never have to worry about losing a document again, which for busy professionals is a big selling point.

Add Bookmarks to Make Your PDF Easier to Navigate and More Professional Looking

Anyone who has used a PDF reader extensively knows how difficult it can be to navigate a document that is hundreds or thousands of pages long. Bookmarking to the rescue! Bookmarking your table of contents is a great way to help users read your document. It also has the dual advantage of making a document far easier to navigate and making the document appear more professional.

Adding bookmarks is easy with PDF software like PhantomPDF:

Simply go to the part of the document where you want a bookmark, click the “new bookmark” icon on the bookmark panel, and voila.

You can create nested bookmarks (or “sub-bookmarks”) simply by dragging a new bookmark directly under another. Save yourself and anyone else reading your PDF document time and frustration by adding this simple feature.

There are many other advanced editing tools available in PDF software like PhantomPDF that will work on virtually any PDF reader. Check out the PhantomPDF manual or the tutorial video page for more tips and tricks and you’ll be on your way to being a PDF expert with perhaps a bit more time for other pressing matters.

Search for PDF Documents with the Fastest PDF IFilter on the Market

Say you’ve got lots of PDF documents. Like, Library-of-Congress lots. And within some of those PDF documents somewhere is precious information you’re searching for. It could be the key details for closing your next big deal. Or the evidence that supports your argument in a litigation case. Or the secret ingredient in your friend’s grandmother’s prize-winning chili recipe.

What can you do to speed up the process for searching through all those PDF files? You can use a PDF IFilter.

Why PDF IFilter?

A PDF IFilter is really a plug-in that lets Microsoft search engines index PDF files so that you can search them for that precious chili ingredient. Without an appropriate PDF IFilter, you can’t index the contents of a PDF file, which means you can’t search it.   This is especially valuable since PDF is the most commonly used file format to archive documents and forms.

Also, PDF IFilters are very useful since they’re integrated into Microsoft search, so they provide search results for multiple file formats at the same time.  Which means, if the evidence that supports the closing of your next big deal is located in different file formats (like .doc, .docx, .xls, .ppt, etc.), you can get all these files returned in a single search.

Why Foxit PDF IFilter?

Foxit PDF IFilter provides super-fast indexing, even for a huge number of PDF documents, and then lets you quickly find desired documents by specifying search criteria. Built on Microsoft’s IFilter indexing interface, Foxit PDF IFilter extracts data from PDF documents and returns the index results to search engine software.

It goes beyond what Adobe® does by indexing PDF content, titles, subjects, authors, keywords, PDF portfolios, annotations, text and data from forms (both standard PDF and XFA forms), bookmarks, attachments, create time/date, number of pages, and the names of the creating applications. This gives you more accurate search results.

Best of all, Foxit PDF IFilter can handle virtually any type of PDF document—files, email attachments, even annotations.

You can search your indexed PDF documents on your desktop, corporate server, or online. All you need are the right keywords.

Governments and enterprises favor Foxit PDF IFilter because:

  • It supports multi-threading and makes full use of multi-CPU/core in a server
  • It supports native 64-bit code
  • It’s faster than all other PDF IFilters
  • It supports most languages
  • Its performance and scalability lowers your organization’s costs of server hardware, data center floor space, power and cooling, and administration.

What’s more, Foxit PDF IFilter supports PDF 1.7 specification and can be used with your existing PDF files.  It supports Microsoft search engines, such as Windows Indexing Service, MSN Desktop Search, Internet Information Server, SharePoint Portal Server, Windows SharePoint Services (WSS), Site Server, Exchange Server, and SQL Server. With Foxit PDF IFilter, all these search engines can find PDF files with ease.

So the next time you’re staring down a haystack of PDF documents looking for the veritable needle you need, consider putting Foxit PDF IFilter to work for you. There’s a free 30-day trial in it for you if you do.

Your Guide to Accessible PDF

You may tend to think about accessibility in terms of providing closer parking spaces or including Braille descriptions on elevator panels, but in the computing world, it’s a different matter entirely. What’s more, for anyone doing business with the Federal government—including contractors and businesses—it’s also a legal requirement that means meeting Section 508 Accessibility Compliance standards.

What is Section 508?

Section 508 is a standard for defining accessibility requirements for software and other digital and information technologies. It was enacted to remove barriers in the digital world, to make new opportunities available to those with disabilities, and to spur the development of technologies that will provide them with a more level playing field.

Section 508 establishes requirements for electronic and information technology developed, maintained, procured, or used by the Federal government. In short, it means that Federal agencies’ electronic and information technology should be accessible to people with disabilities.

Section 508 went into effect way back in 2001. Sadly, even as of now, not very many agencies or contractors are in full compliance in terms of general technology access, and the outlook for PDF accessibility is even worse.

Meet the VPAT, your guide to accessible PDF

The good news is, Foxit PhantomPDF provides a way to assess what’s needed to remedy the accessibility issue for your PDF files with the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template, aka, the VPAT.

The VPAT was created by the Information Technology Industry Council and is a standardized form that assists Federal contracting officials in making preliminary assessments regarding a product or service’s features that support accessibility.

The first table of the VPAT gives you an overview of what the section 508 Standards specify. The subsequent tables provide more detailed views of each subsection and also describe the features within PhantomPDF that enable accessibility or refers you to the corresponding detailed table, “e.g., equivalent facilitation.”

Using the VPAT, you can create a roadmap to accessibility for all your PDF documents—both those that already exist and those you’re about to create.

Listen to PDF Documents with Read Out Loud

Even better, as of Version 5.1, Foxit PhantomPDF has offered Read Out Loud that use the available voices installed on a computer user’s system. If they have Speech Application Programming Interface 5 (SAPI 5) installed for text-to-speech, they can have PhantomPDF read PDF documents to them.

In addition to normal text content, Read Out Loud can also read comments, image descriptions, and fillable fields, so it really does do a comprehensive job of making sure that all major sections of your PDF document are truly accessible. This is very important for those who have learning disabilities, as they tend to rely highly on information provided in annotations to help with comprehension.

So if you’re in a business or organization that needs to meet Federal standards for user accessibility, take comfort knowing that Foxit PDF software enables you to provide the PDF accessibility your users need.

European SharePoint Training Week from the 25 – 28 of November

As a Proud Sponsor of the European SharePoint Conference & community we are delighted to inform you of a fantastic free training event.

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European SharePoint Training Week (http://www.sharepointeurope.com/content/european-sharepoint-training-week ) from the 25 – 28 of November will bring together some of the best speakers and trainers from around the world direct to your computer for FREE! With four days of live interactive webinars, educational eBooks, a wide range of unique blogs covering all SharePoint topics, don’t miss this one-off chance to hear the latest cutting edge content on SharePoint 2013 and chat online with these global thought leaders.

Join the European SharePoint Community for this awesome event with seven free live webinars in just 4 days.

With live webinars from Agnes Molnar, Alan Richards, Liam Cleary, Mike Fitzmaurice, Michael Noel Symon Garfield and David Martos, be sure to check out the agenda here>> http://www.sharepointeurope.com/content/european-sharepoint-training-week

On Thursday, 28th Nov, their will have a range of superb eBooks and insightful blogs by some of the leading experts in the SharePoint industry. Contributors include: Edin Kapic, Asif Rehmani, André Vala, Jeff Fried, Wouter van Vugt, Thorbjørn Værp, Geoff Evelyn, Bill Ayers, Eric Riz, Christian Buckley, Paolo Pialorsi, Mikael Svenson, Abi Onifade and Oliver Wirkus.

Don’t Miss European SharePoint Training Week, 25 – 28 November – Register Now>> http://www.sharepointeurope.com/content/european-sharepoint-training-week

When it Makes Sense to Watermark Your PDF Documents

As increasingly diverse kinds of documents get created in PDF, you may find yourself with a need to protect confidential information and you’ve got a lot of PDF security options for doing so.

One such PDF security option is the watermark. You’ve probably seen physical watermarks on everything from legal and government documents to authorized checks. When you want to create a PDF document that can be immediately recognize as containing highly confidential information, you can watermark it similarly to how watermarks work in the non-digital world. And there are good reasons to do so.

For one thing, applying a watermark to your PDF enables you to set up another way to categorize your PDF documents. You can put PDF files that are watermarked instantly into the “for your eyes only” category, distinct from other types of PDF documents that are offered for wider distribution.

Watermarks also offer a step toward safeguarding intellectual property. Not only can you can set PDF security settings to limit activities like printing and making changes, watermarking also prevents recipients from misusing your documents.

Watermarking your PDF document can signify whether the PDF document is a copy or an original, who the company that authorizes a form is, even the kind of PDF document, such as an estimate, invoice, and so on.

Perhaps most important of all, a watermark on your PDF document is hard to miss once you’ve stamped it onto your pages. Whether recipients print the document or simply view it onscreen, a watermark shows the classification of your entire file at a glance, making it an ideal PDF security feature.

That’s important because, sadly, even PDF documents that are protected by Digital Rights Management (DRM) solutions are still at some level of risk. Would-be thieves have been known to use screen shots, cameras, and video capture to make copy of sensitive PDF documents.

Foxit PhantomPDF makes it far less attractive to do so by enabling you to insert dynamic security watermarks into Microsoft Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS) protected PDF documents. A dynamic watermark means the image gets applied automatically as your rights managed PDF document is viewed. Dynamic security watermarks automatically display viewer identity information such as the person’s name, email, employee ID, and the time/date that they’re displaying the protected PDF document. By using a dynamic security watermark, you can pinpoint anyone responsible for a leak of confidential information if copies of the protected documents suddenly start circulating.

Foxit Reader also will display dynamic security watermarks on AD RMS protected PDF documents so you can be sure that even those just using it will be aware of the document’s confidentiality. (Just another reason why Reader is among the best PDF readers available, in our humble opinion. And another reason it’s a secure PDF reader as well.)

So the next time you’re creating a PDF document and want that extra level of security and professionalism, stamp it with a watermark to let anyone viewing it know it’s protected.

When PDF Beats ZIP for Attaching and Extracting Files

Did you know that you can embed any number of file attachments into your PDF file when you use Foxit PhantomPDF? It’s true. And there are a couple of reasons that doing so is better than just zipping up a bunch of files on your PC.

First, anyone who receives your PDF file can extract the attachments and use them with free a PDF reader like Foxit Reader. You can even compress your attachments using the most popular compression method—the same one that ZIP files use. (It’s lossless, which means when decompressed, it’s the same as before you compressed it so no data is lost.)

Another benefit is that when you create this kind of “PDF envelope,” the digital signatures you use can apply to all your attachments automatically since they’re considered part of the PDF file. It’s another helpful PDF security feature organizations such as government agencies and law firms can use to send digitally certified PDF files containing data file attachments. Recipients can then authenticate the PDF and all of its attachments to ensure that they came from the authentic sending organization and are tamper-free.

In addition to those handy features, you can use XML in your PDF file to provide all the metadata—in other words, the additional information that anyone needs to use the data you’ve attached. All they need is a PDF reader like Foxit Reader that can display attachment annotations and extract the attachments.

You can also enhance richly formatted PDF information files with the raw data files that were used to create the PDFs.  For example, if your document contains charts, graphics or other visual information, you can attach the raw data you used to create those elements to your PDF file. Then just put an annotation on your chart or graphic that extracts the right attachment when someone clicks it. This lets recipients view and edit your source files for their own use or when collaborating with you.

Foxit PhantomPDF 6.0 also includes support for PDF portfolios created in other PDF software. A PDF portfolio is a PDF made up of a collection of multiple files, which can include both PDF files and non-PDF files such as Word documents, spreadsheets, presentations, or images. Foxit PhantomPDF can open and read PDF portfolios and perform searches either within a single file or across all PDF files in the portfolio. This means that if someone sends you a PDF portfolio, it essentially acts like a file folder of documents, hence the name PDF portfolio.

When you open a PDF portfolio, you’ll even see a panel that shows you a list of all attached files and any data provided, such as the author’s name, date the file was created, etc. And as discussed, the entire PDF can be secured, including the attachments, by requiring digital signatures or certification.

So the next time your mouse is hovering over the ZIP file compression, take a moment to consider whether it makes more sense to create a PDF with attachments that a) anyone with a PDF reader can view and b) can be secured with digital signatures or certification.