Hack 62 Polish Your PDF Edition

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Little things can make a big difference to your readers.

Most creators don't use these basic PDF features, yet they improve the reading experience and they are easy to add. Read [Hack #67] to learn about the additional features required for serving individual PDF pages on demand.

5.13.1 Document Initial View

If your PDF has bookmarks, set your PDF to display them when the document is opened. Otherwise, your readers might never discover them. You can change this, and other settings, from the PDF's document properties. In Acrobat 6, select File Document Properties . . . Initial View to access these setting. In Acrobat 5, select File Document Properties Open Options.

5.13.2 Logical Page Numbering

Open your PDF in Acrobat and go to page 1. If your PDF doesn't have logical page numbering, Acrobat thinks its first page is "page 1." Yet your document's "page 1" might actually fall on Acrobat's page 6, as shown in Figure 5-10. Imagine your readers trying to make sense of this, especially when your document refers them to page 52 or when they decide to print pages 42-47.

Figure 5-10. Keeping Acrobat synchronized with your document

Synchronize your document's page numbering with Acrobat/Reader by adding logical page numbers to your PDF. In Acrobat 6, select the Pages navigation tab (View Navigation Tabs Pages), click Options, and select Number Pages . . . from the drop-down menu. In Acrobat 5, access the Page Numbering dialog box by selecting Document Number Pages . . . .

Start from the beginning of your document and work to the end, to minimize confusion. If numbering gets tangled up, reset the page numbers by selecting All Pages, Begin New Section, Style: 1, 2, 3, . . . , Prefix: (blank), Start: 1, and clicking OK.

If your document has a front cover, you can give it the logical page number Cover by setting its Style to None and giving it a Prefix of Cover.

Does your document have front matter with Roman-numeral page numbers? Advance through your document until you reach page 1. Go back to the page before page 1. Open the Page Numbering dialog. Set the page range From: field to 1. Set the Style to "i, ii, iii, . . . ," and make sure Prefix is empty. Click OK. Now, the pages preceding page 1 should be numbered "i, ii, . . . ," and page 1 should be numbered 1.

Go to the final page in your PDF and make sure the numbering still matches. Sometimes people remove blank pages from a PDF, which causes the document page numbers to skip. If you plan to remove blank pages from your PDF, apply logical page numbering beforehand.

5.13.3 Document Title, Author, Subject, and Keywords

Document metadata doesn't jump out at readers the way bookmarks and logical page numbers do, but your readers can use it to help organize their collections [Hack #22] . Plus, it looks pretty sharp to have them properly filled in. The title and author fields are often filled automatically with nonsense, such as the document's original filename (e.g., Mockup.doc) or the typesetter's username.

You can disable the automatic metadata added by Distiller. Open Distiller and edit your profile's settings. Uncheck Advanced Preserve Document Information from DSC, and click OK.

In Acrobat 6, view and update this information by selecting File Document Properties . . . Description or Advanced Document Metadata . . . . In Acrobat 5, select File Document Properties Summary. See [Hack #64] for a broader discussion of PDF metadata.

5.13.4 Page Orientation and Cropping

Quickly page through your document from beginning to end, making sure that your page cropping [Hack #59] didn't chop off any data. Also check for rotated pages. Adjust rotated pages to a natural reading orientation by selecting Document Pages Rotate (Acrobat 6) or Document Rotate Pages (Acrobat 5).

Rotating and cropping PDF pages can affect how they print. The user should select "Auto-rotate and center pages" from the Print dialog box when printing PDF to minimize surprises.