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PDF Reports

April 30, 2010

I have been working for the past couple of days on creating a good, easy to use reporting system using PDF. For years now, I have been using an html report that when opened looks like a web page and from the main report you can easily navigate to the exhibits, list of the media examined and a glossary of terms. Works well but PDF files offer far more security. A digital signature can be added to all the pages, including the exhibits as well as the ability to lock down your files so they can’t be copied or printed.

I have been testing this option out since v7 of Adobe Acrobat. I stopped testing v7 when I found the links in my reports were dropped from the second layer down. Even though I could re-create the links by hand in Acrobat, it wasn’t very practical when you had hundreds of files to re-link. Testing on v8 indicated they had fixed this problem and preliminary tests showed all my links stayed in place. My problem now was end user, ease of use. Not all of the agents or detectives I was supporting were as comfortable with navigating hundreds of files in a PDF window. One of the main reasons I used html reports is because it was for the end user, it was very simple and easy to navigate. Not so much with this pdf report as I was finding they usually got lost after following the various links.

Along comes Adobe v9 and Portfolio. Basically, Portfolio lets you create a container that gives a very nice graphical front end and interface to your PDF reports. A home button and full path display let the user find where they are at during any time of the viewing process.

I’m still in the early stages of learning and testing but it looks promising. The only problem I have had so far is the same problem I had during testing of v7 in that my links are being dropped on conversion to PDF. The only thing I’m doing differently during this test is that I am using a Mac and Mac version of Adobe Acrobat. I am throwing this early testing out there to see if anyone else has tried this and how it has worked for them. I plan on continuing my testing on both the Mac and Windows platform and will re-post my findings.

Hope this helps – Steve

Portfolio Editor

Layout Options

Welcome and Header Editor (for Splash Screen)



What user sees when they open the Portfolio

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