Electronic Publication

From PostScript to Adobe PDF format

Adobe's Acrobat suite of software allows one to produce PDF (Portable Document Format) files which are suitable for electronic publication. The postscript is converted with the `Distiller' which and an index for all words that it can recover from the postscript is automatically produced. In order to recognise words in the document, the postscript file must have been created using non-bitmapped fonts.

Each PDF file carries a set of information containing a title, the author name, subject and keywords. Acrobat Exchange is another tool which is used in the production of the final document. It allows one to insert hypertext links either within the document (called bookmarks) or to other documents. It also allows one to move/insert/replace/crop pages and cut/paste and some minimal touch-up of text.

Acrobat Catalog creates indexes across many documents and allows boolean searches on the document's header information as well as the text on the pages.

All that the user requires is a reader, and these are in the public domain for several platforms.

The aim for the ICALEPCS'99 CD-ROMs is to have the following:


The quality of the visual image depends on the platform/display capabilities and on the type of font used. In general, bit-mapped fonts are extremely difficult to read except at the largest magnifications, they also slow down the performance considerably. This is because the bit-mapped fonts are designed to be rendered at a single resolution, like 300 or 600 DPI. It is only when viewing on a computer screen, where the resolution varies, that the effect is noticeable - the printed version will always look good.

Another key factor in the speed with which a page is displayed is the size of the file. Apart from text which is using bit-mapped fonts, a page is displayed very quickly. Graphics and illustrations can be painfully slow if the files are too big.

Why is paper size an issue ?

The Distiller places the text/images which are described in the postscript on a page which is of a pre-determined size. For ICALEPCS'99 we wish to set this to correspond to A4 size paper but when our colleagues in the USA want to print on their own standard (US letter) size paper we want the result to be reasonable. The height of the text is defined for all contributions (241mm) and normally one would centre this on the page. This results in different bottom margins for the two sizes of paper and when they are converted to PDF, the A4 text will appear higher on the page. This situation is made worse when someone in the USA wants to print a paper from the PDF file.

A new solution to this problem has been suggested by Leif Liljeby (EPAC'98) and this involves cropping the PDF file to the minimum dimensions of A4 and US Letter paper (i.e. A4 width and US letter height, 210 by 279mm). By doing this, most printer drivers will automatically set the text area in the center of the paper. Unfortunately templates for both paper sizes are still necessary and these are set up to minimise the work involved in cropping.

Preferred Software for Paper Preparation

WORD and LaTeX2e are preferred by the editorial team.

Font selection is very important (only Times, Symbol and Zapf Dingbats) and when authors use the templates and follow the instructions there are rarely any problems. Problems with WORD arise largely because it is not possible to enforce a style and it is hoped that, as authors become accustomed to producing papers for electronic publication, this will improve. With LaTeX, problems usually arise because the correct fonts have not been used.

It is acceptable for authors to use other software to prepare their papers but they will then have to be careful to follow the layout instructions and conventions and be sure that their postscript files will be acceptable. Using non preferred software also makes it very difficult for the editorial team to help fix problems.

Things to Avoid

Type 1 Computer Modern Fonts with Textures do not process well - the result is not useful.

EPS figures from Illustrator or Photoshop do not fit correctly in LaTeX documents.

PCX format (PC figures) in LaTeX documents - use EPS.

KaleidaGraph software produces hostile EPS - it should be avoided if at all possible.

Photo by Ugo Borsatti, Archivio Storico "Foto Omnia"