Sunday, October 02, 2005

Native PDF support in Office 12

News on Office “12”, the successor to Office 2003, has been slowly being announced over the last couple of weeks. Today it was announced that Office 12 will support publishing to PDF files natively. Office 12 is headed for public beta this fall and for release sometime in the middle of next year (theoretically).

Our mission, like many organizations, distribute a lot of information via PDF because it's ubiquitous--everyone has Adobe Reader. The only problem is that you in order to create rich content (with URLs, etc) you have to use a fairly expensive product from Adobe.

Chris Pratley posted this yesterday. He manages all or parts of various Office products including Publisher, Word and my favorite, OneNote. He writes:

PDF output is another request we get fairly often for OneNote on the newsgroups and other community forums. Our customers want to easily share their notes with other people who may not own OneNote yet. PDF provides a 100% WYSIWYG representation of their notes including ink annotations and the 2-D layout that OneNote has (since it is static like paper, unlike a Word doc or HTML), and Adobe has done a good job of getting a reader for PDF on lots of platforms out there.

While a number of PDF “printer drivers” already exist for Windows apps, native support will be richer and cleaner. For more information take a look at Brian Jone's blog
His actual post isn't that helpful in understanding the real world value of this. But check out the comment by Craig Ringer for the different this will make for many users.

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