Sponsor Spotlight: How Visual Integrity brought the power of PDFs to technical writers

‘The key to successful PDF usage is to know how to classify PDF files correctly’

According to Jean Haney of Visual Integrity, once graphics professionals and end-users draw the distinction between the two types of PDF files — vector and raster — their work becomes a whole lot easier.

‘Vector PDF files are defined mathematically and render on screen and in print as sharp, scalable objects and text. Whether they are displayed on a tiny mobile device or a large format monitor, vector PDF files will be crisp and clear. They can be converted into fully editable vector program formats such as PowerPoint, Visio, Word, AutoCAD and Illustrator, as well as web and print bitmap formats,’ said Haney.

‘On the other hand, raster PDF files are bitmaps produced primarily by scanners, and can be most closely compared to a photocopy. Because all mathematical data has been lost, the information is reduced to a collection of dots at a fixed resolution. When you zoom in on a raster file it looks jaggy. This becomes a problem when web and print graphics are re-produced in a larger size.’

Haney added, ‘If you know what kind of PDF file you have, you’ll be able to regenerate it in the format that is ideal for your project. Sometimes you’ll need to edit the objects and text; other times, you’ll simply need to re-image the PDF file at a higher resolution. The key is to have the tools that let you convert your PDF file into vector formats as easily as a raster. That way, you can make the most of the information you have in your PDF file.’

Celebrating its 15th year as a pioneer in the graphics industry, Visual Integrity was founded in 1993 by Jean Haney and Jan Homan to bridge incompatibilities between UNIX and Windows applications. The very first customers were technical writers who needed to integrate engineering drawings from proprietary UNIX systems into Windows-based publishing systems — today Visual Integrity’s software is relied on by users across all corporate departments.

Because PDF files are in every corner of computing and across all platforms, from the simplest desktop uses to complex workflows, co-founders Jan Homan and Jean Haney continue to develop unique and innovative PDF applications. Visual Integrity’s family of practical solutions has evolved to meet the changing needs of end-users and developers, and includes; pdf2image, pdf2picture, pdf2cad, PDF FLY, META FLY, FLY SDK and FLY Batch.

  • With pdf2image, users can convert PDF files into high-fidelity images that can be easily inserted into any Web or print publishing project.
  • pdf2picture converts PDF using either vector and image mode transforming PDF-based content into formats ideally suited for Microsoft Office and other Windows-based applications. Vector PDF files can be generated in the ‘picture’ format with all objects and text editable.
  • pdf2cad turns PDF files into CAD drawings in either the DXF interchange format or HPGL.
  • PDF FLY is a suite of programs that convert PDF and PostScript into 15 industry standard vector and raster formats as well as ASCII text for index and search applications. It operates interactively, in batch mode or via a watch folder.
  • META FLY turns WMF and EMF files into PDF as well as twelve other vector and raster formats as well as ASCII text.
  • FLY SDK gives developers access to the powerful FLY conversion engine via a DLL or the command line to create, convert, stamp, merge and modify PDF files within their applications.
  • FLY Batch is a server-based command-line engine for volume batch conversion or creation of PDF files.

In celebration of its 15 year run in the graphics industry, Visual Integrity is offering an exclusive 30% discount to Planet PDF subscribers through November 30, 2008. Eligible products must be purchased on-line through the company’s web site and include pdf2image, pdf2picture, pdf2cad and PDF FLY. Use coupon code PLANETPDF when ordering.

The company web site is here.

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About the Author: Nettie Hartsock

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