Tag: Adobe Acrobat



10 Jan 09

Many law firms use both Adobe Professional and also eCopy. eCopy is generally integrated with some different copier systems that “scan to desktop”. Many different copiers use “scan to PDF” or “Email PDF”, but the “scan to desktop” is another option altogether.

First, Adobe Professional is a very expensive product, several hundred dollars per desktop installation. That said, it’s also one of my favorite pieces of software IF you use it to even part of its full potential. Many of us are familiar with the “Print to PDF” option that Adobe Professional installs. It installs a printer driver, then when you want to convert a document to PDF you just select that printer driver, hit print, it asks you for the location where you want it saved and name the file and VOILA! Instant, clean PDF file all set for text searchs and printing a copy just as clean as the original document (90% of the time, some graphics or spreadsheet grids do get distorted).

Unlike the well known “Acrobat Reader” there are lots of other ways you can use Adobe Professional. One of my favorite things to do is to create fillable forms! That’s right, you can create a PDF from a Word document, then you can insert fillable fields into the PDF file. This is particularly helpful if you have forms for “reimbursement” or “registration forms” and lots of others. you can insert fields where people can type. You can also insert a “print” button on the form or even an “email this form” button, so that after they fill out the fields it’s easy and seamless to get the form back to you.

I also like some of the PDF editor tools in Adobe Professional. For example you can use the “typewriter” to type onto any PDF form anywhere. I’m not really fond of the typewriter because you can’t choose a font or size or other styles, just one “old fashion” typewriter font. It’s also nice to use the highlighter when reviewing a document. You can also insert notes.

So, lets discuss eCopy. Like I said, the reason I first got eCopy was because it “came with” our copier system. So, instead of just emailing a PDF to my email in box (that is already full of stuff I have a hard time keeping track of) when I “scan to desktop” using eCopy it actually pops up an alert on your desktop telling you there’s a scanned document waiting. You then click on the icon and it shows you a list of documents that have been scanned to you throuh the eCopy system.

So, that’s one part I like. Another important fact is that, just like Adobe Professional, eCopy installs a “print driver” so that any document can be “converted” and opened in eCopy for editing and saving in eCopy format or it also saves in PDF format. The distinct advantage eCopy has over Adobe Professional is that you can print multiple documents to a single eCopy file. When you “print to PDF” via Adobe it saves the file copy immedately. However with eCopy when you “print to eCopy” it just opens the eCopy version in a draft format without yet saving it. This means that you can continue “printing” different documents to eCopy and adding them to the same file without saving each as a separate PDF file first (as is the case with the Adobe PDF printer). Sure, you can combine separae documents in Adobe Professional. This is possible by opening one of them and importing the other separate files into the existing file. Sure, it works, it’s just more steps.

Editing eCopy documents is MUCH easier than in Adobe PDF. That said, you can open PDF files in eCopy and you can edit them too! You can easily white out or black out sections of the documents. You can insert text, in any format, size, font, style, that you want. You create “stamps” (I use this feature for inserting my signature into a document). That said, even though it’s “easier” to use and edit with eCopy, if you actually have to print an eCopy document it tends to pixilate the white background making printed documents look a bit “dirty”.

Which one do I like better? Both. It just depends on the usage for the individual final document. If I know it’s going to be printed or searched, I try to use Adobe Professional. However, if I’m editing, modifying or combining multiple documents I really prefer eCopy.

My understanding is the eCopy can’t be purchased from the manufacturer. It’s distributed directly through scanning/copying companies.

Best of luck! Shoot a comment if you’d like to know a specific use or need you want clarified.

As I’ve said


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18 Nov 07

Ok, well, I’ve never jumped on the “Green” bandwagon simply for the sake of being “Green”. However, I’ve always been on board from a practicality standpoint. My first buy-in was because my home trash was always too full and I would have have to pay those awful “overfull” charges because my trash was heaping out of the can. So when large recycling bins came into play and significantly reduced my overage, I decided that I too was an enviroNERD. Perhaps not because I want the deer and rabbits and humans to live in harmony, but because it’s practical. Disclaimer: I’m not AGAINST deer and rabbits and humans living in harmony, but usually the people touting that sort of thing are also asking me to give up practical and sensible hobbies in my life.

My office is fairly small from a population standpoint, only about 45 or so people work there. But, real estate wise our office is pretty big. How does this relate to the green conversation? Well, I’ve decided that recycling cans and paper isn’t enough. I’m recycling carbohydrates too. Ok, not literally. Let me reel you back in. I’m very lazy. Get it now? I’m a “large” proponent of recycling my energy. Dispensing it on things other than paper delivery seems to make more sense to me.

PDF and virtual paper applications really have “gained” me a lot of “weight” in my workplace. Literally and figuratively.

Adobe PDF as an independent application is really only widely known as the “PDF Reader”, but there are some great and useful applications that come with the “full” (and expensive) version. The “full” version of Adobe Acrobat allows you to modify PDFs, add notes, highlight text, modify text and some other less interesting features. However, my favorite “practicle” feature is the PDF printer. This allows you to “print” any document (or website) “to PDF”. So, here’s how it works. When you install Adobe Acrobat it will also install a printer (with the rest of your printers) that when you select it to print a document, instead of “printing” it pops up a “Save As” box so that you can name your new PDF. This really is the most practical way to create a PDF file. The files are MUCH smaller than if you (like many administrators) just run to the photocopier or scanner to scan an image of a paper document you had to print out first.

There are other “PDF printer” type applications. And many of them are free! One that I’ve used in the past when my employer wouldn’t spring for the full Adobe Acrobat was CutePDF (http://www.cutepdf.com/). There are some versions of it do cost money, but for the use I mentioned above you can download their free PDF writer.

Ok, so one more product plug (no, I’m not being paid for this). Beyond the above there is another product that I use a lot more often. It is called “eCopy”. This software is actually tied to our copy machines at my office. It’s VERY useful. It has excellent compression (meaning the file size is very small) and really can be used in place of paper. So, though I can print to PDF via Adobe, printing to eCopy is most of the time more practical if I want to make annotations to a documents or if I want to combine multiple documents and document types. Unlike its Adobe cousin when you “print” to eCopy it immediately opens the software. If you already have the software open with a document up it will ask you if you want to, 1) add to the end of the current document, 2) add to the beginning of the current document, or 3) create a new document. The tools to highlight text or scribble (like using a marker on the sheet) or typing in new text are much more intuitive than the standard Adobe Acrobat. That said, Adobe Acrobat “prints” actual text, whereas eCopy really produces an image that you can write on. What’s the difference in that? Well with the natural Adobe Acrobat product you can select text and with eCopy you have to run the document through a text recognition process if you want to do that.

So, my intention here was not to bore you with things you can’t actually understand or use, but to give you an idea of how it simplifies my life. I recently started reading pieces of this blog “PDF for Lawers” http://www.pdfforlawyers.com/ and it is pretty nice. This guy obviously knows more about the subject than me, but I still find many of my own practical uses.

Last but not least, I use eCopy for archiving in my accounting department. It’s very easy to take a deposit or A/P documents to the photocopier and mass scan documents to store on the network. I’ve converted all of my 2007 deposits to PDF files in hope of eventually ridding this pile of useless paper from my file cabinets. My hope is to do the same with all our prebills and A/P within the next two years.


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