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Office printer reveals PDF shortcomings

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Robert Klaschka (AJ 12.2.04) has missed the point of Sutherland Lyall's gripe about PDFs, which is that, whatever their other merits, they are a pain in the neck when viewed in a browser online. As one of Lyall's co-conspirators, I am grateful then for Daniel Sim's advice on disabling Acrobat's browser integration. Now I can surf away at porn sites, while Acrobat does its stuff, instead of having to play Solitaire. One would think that browser integration would be a good thing; having to switch it off is hardly what you expect.

But there are other issues. The PDF format is, in origin, a way of describing a page layout for printing, but layout for a printed page is not always suitable for a screen which cannot, in most cases, display an A4 page legibly.

Columned pages like those of the AJ demand too much scrolling up and down. Too many documents, whether on the web or on CD, are too blatantly just what was sent to the printers without changes to layout, type size, bookmarks, or hyperlinks for navigation. I once came across a government pamphlet that was a sheet of A4 folded in four; on screen, half the text was upside down. The whole of the Velux catalogue is on CD, but much of the print is too small to be read on screen when printed on an office printer. Another CD wasted.

Yes, let's have PDFs, but they must be adapted for use on screen and bookmarked.

Alan Kennedy, London SW12

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