Q&A: Ted Padova talks about ‘Reader 7 Revealed’ book

The author of numerous books on Acrobat, InDesign, Illustrator and the Adobe Creative Suite, Ted Padova is already one of the world’s most well-known PDF gurus. His previous titles include the Adobe Acrobat 7 PDF Bible (Wiley Publishing) — along with its 4 previous editions, to go with the Acrobats 4-7, respectively — and the Adobe Creative Suite Bible (Wiley Publishing).

A one-time service bureau owner of 15 years, Padova is an internationally renowned speaker on Adobe Acrobat and digital imaging. In this role, he has delivered presentations on digital prepress, halftoning and Photoshop methods nationally in the US on behalf of Thunder Lizard Productions speaking at both the Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator conferences. Additional presentations have been given on behalf of Adobe Systems, Aldus Corporation and Iomega Corporation. He has also written a feature column for the Los Angeles Macintosh User Group Magazine and has published over 40 journal articles on digital prepress and application software methods. Padova has been featured in Macweek, Publish, and other industry magazines.

If that weren’t enough, he has now turned his attention to the once-humble Adobe Reader. The new book — entitled Adobe Reader 7 Revealed (Adobe Press) — promises to expose much of the hidden or simply little-known functionality of the near-ubiquitous free viewer. I caught up with Ted to talk about his latest project. The full text of the interview follows.

DAN SHEA, Planet PDF Managing Editor: What inspired you to write a book on Adobe Reader?

TED PADOVA, Author: As I wrote my Acrobat 7 PDF Bible I looked at the many new features in version 7 for both Acrobat and Reader. After working with the commenting features when Reader users work with PDFs enabled with usage rights and other features such as security and digital signatures, it just seemed to me that it was time to publish a book on Adobe Reader. Part of my inspiration was also related to many emails I receive each month from my Acrobat Bible readers asking questions related to Reader and why it can’t do one thing or another. There still is a lot of confusion in the user community as to what Reader can and cannot do and still quite a bit of unawareness that there exist Acrobat viewers for authoring PDF documents.

SHEA: What are your primary ambitions for the book?

PADOVA: I’m hoping that many users of Adobe Reader and prospective users of the program gain appreciation and skills for working with the new version of Reader in many different ways. Too many people use Reader to view and navigate documents and don’t think much more about other tasks they can perform. Now in version 7, I’m hoping many Reader users at least become aware of the new comment and review opportunities and know they have a source to guide them through using these new features. In addition to Reader users, I also thought about IT managers and Acrobat users who might want to know what the Reader users can do with the product. All too often an Acrobat user talks on the phone to a Reader user giving instructions on using a menu command. The Reader user thinks the Acrobat user is crazy because no such command appears under a menu. The Acrobat user thinks the Reader user is a simpleton because the person they’re talking with can’t select a menu command. Ultimately, I get some emails from the Acrobat users asking what went wrong with their client’s Acrobat or Reader installation. Hopefully, my new Reader book can be a help to Acrobat users who often never look at the Reader program and are not completely aware of what Reader users can do.

SHEA: Who comprises your target audience(s)?

PADOVA: Asking this question is like asking who comprises the Windows XP or Mac OS X audience. It’s so broad that it’s hard to nail down the primary targets. I tried to focus the book at anyone who may use the Reader program for business or personal use. Obviously, those markets where Acrobat has penetration such as government entities, legal profession, engineering, creative professionals, and business office workers were not left out. Anyone working in these or other professions who use the Reader program should benefit from the content of the book.

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About the Author: Dan Shea

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