This week in PDF: Office PDF widget released

As Microsoft takes the next step to make PDF creation available directly from Microsoft Office, this week in PDF has seen a personnel move, the release of a new portable PDF viewer and an update to an optical character recognition (OCR) product.

First up, Microsoft has recently made its PDF creation widget for Office for free download. Planet PDF editor Richard Crocker’s piece has more on this development, which has this industry observer pondering Adobe’s response to the move. Thus far, Microsoft has been as good as its word on this topic, going so far as to include XPS export in similar downloadable widgets rather than in the core product. Microsoft has even offered the download in three flavors, allowing users to choose between specialized widgets that only save to either PDF or XPS and a third that allows for both outputs. Despite being free, offering the functionality in separate downloads renders accusations of monopolistic behavior weaker than had they been included in the core product. If Adobe still doesn’t like the new-look offering — which is more than likely — then it will need to approach the problem from a different angle or risk surrendering the ‘openness’ tag of PDF. One thing’s for sure: there are interesting times ahead.

Elsewhere in the PDF world, visible PDF/X expert and seasoned speaker Martin Bailey has been elevated to the position of Global Graphics’ chief technology officer. Formerly a senior technical consultant, Bailey will be responsible for developing the Company’s technology plan and will oversee the specification, design and implementation of technology across all Global Graphics’ software solutions. These include the Harlequin and Jaws RIPs, Jaws PDF technologies and the Company’s broad spectrum of implementation options for XPS (XML Paper Specification) the new print and document format for the upcoming release of Windows Vista.

Back to product releases, and Picsel has now launched its PDF Viewer product for the Palm Treo 700wx, a high-end mobile device. Picsel’s PDF Viewer makes it possible to access and navigate PDF documents on the Treo 700wx similar to viewing a PDF on a personal computer, but enables intuitive Zoom and Pan interaction to enhance viewing on the small screen. For more information, check out the Picsel Web site.

Last but not least, Prime Recognition has announced a new version of its OCR product, PrimeOCR. Version 4.3 supports PDF/A-1b output, automatic document language identification, increased accuracy for both auto-rotate and deskew functions, PDF text extraction and extended support for Windows 2003 Server. To find out more, visit the company Web site.

That’s it for this week! Until next time…

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About the Author: Dan Shea

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