Why Some Software Leaves you Validating Results After Converting from Word to PDF

By Jeff Brand | August 15, 2009

When selecting your server-based conversion technology, make sure it has the ability to identify any of the issues up front, so that they can be dealt with as needed.  The resolution to the challenges I will review later in this article, are usually a matter of installing a font, or copying a linked file.  In the event a document is from an older version of Word, simply opening it, and setting the margins to match the intended output usually corrects the issue but, can waste an awful lot of time and if not caught can reduce the credibility of the document.

You can enable all of these features very simply in Adlib Express by navigating to the Conversion tab page in the Express Server options window, then clicking the ‘Enable Document Validation’ check-box.  Then, bring up the Document Validation Settings window, and choose which features you wish to enable, and how you would like Express to automatically handle the issue.

With most conversion software, validating the conversion of a file from one type to another is a daunting manual process with a wide variety of things that could go wrong. This is mostly due to the fact that various file formats have different features and translating a certain feature from one format to another can often be tricky.

When converting files from MS Word to PDF, there are occurrences that can alter the appearance of your document. When this happens it is important to make the correction in order to retain the credibility of your document and business. Having thousands of documents converted to files riddled with errors is completely counterproductive. So what can go wrong?

  • Missing Resources

Additional resources like linked tables from an excel spreadsheet, or any other object that aids a document, needs to be present at the time of the file opening or an error can arise. If that additional resource is not linked, the authoring file will have missing information.

  • Re-Flow Text

Particularly with older documents created in Word versions prior to 2000, re-flow can occur when documents are opened causing content to shift to different pages and into different alignments. This is due mostly to the fact that old versions of MS Word used the printer   specifications to automatically calculate margins. This is no longer the case as different printers have different printable regions.

  • Missing Fonts

When designing a document in Word, you have a large number of fonts on your system that you can choose to take advantage of, to highlight a point, show your style, or attract a reader’s attention to a particular area of a page but if you open that same document on a different machine without those fonts installed, Word will not know how to render the document correctly and will substitute another font that is closest to the original. This sometimes shifts content from one page to another or changes the alignment.

These and other issues may appear when performing batch conversions of documents, and they may go un-noticed, often times until it’s too late – you’ve sent the output to a client, a vendor, or even worse, a regulatory body who has little patience to figure out why when they click on the Table of Contents item, it does not take them to the correct section of the document.

Finding a solution that can handle these and other format changes can save an incredible amount of time and embarrassment from poor quality documents. To learn more about Express’ conversion capabilities click here.

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