Not All PDFs are Created Equal

By Scott Mackey | March 11, 2009

1 minute read

PDF is a commodity like gasoline, right.

Wrong. In the same way that the gasoline for your lawnmower is not the same as the fuel used by your favorite NASCAR team, tools to create PDFs are not created equal. To believe they are can be a costly mistake.

The costs to re-think workflows or to recover from bad document rendering can be significant. Check out the following article for some (non-PDF specific) costs. For example, if you are in the Life Sciences industry the costs are not only direct $ spent doing it right, but the opportunity cost of slowing down your workflow.

I won’t bore you with the details (in this post) but suffice it to say turning the myriad unstructured content lurking around your network into high-quality PDF output is not as easy as it seems.

Consider the following:

  • Hundreds of different formats
  • Versions that can span decades
  • Special ‘issues’ that users introduce by embedding other files or leaving behind faulty document elements
  • Fonts that may or may not be licensed
  • Document structures that should appear as valid PDF bookmarks
  • Header/footers/cross-references
  • Tables of contents
  • Hyperlinks

Trying to turn all of that user-generated ‘gold’ into the perfect PDF output using a ‘commodity’ tool is, to say the least, a challenge.  In fact, many of our customers and partners have told us time and again, that this is a problem that cannot be solved by the commodity tools that plug up your Google searches.

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