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Going Paperless with Acrobat

Chapter Description

This chapter provides an excellent real-world example of how using just the Adobe Acrobat product successfully enhances an organization's workflow, saving time and costs.

Creating and Searching PDFs

The exercises in this section show you some of the ways that partners and support staff at Young Conaway create PDFs.

Creating a PDF from a Website

As you read in the case study, Acrobat 9 can archive entire websites. Follow these steps to archive Yahoo's home page:

  1. Choose File > Create PDF > From Web Page. The Create PDF from Web page dialog box appears.
  2. Enter http://www.yahoo.com into the URL box.
  3. Click the Capture Multiple Levels icon to expand the dialog box (Figure 4.14).
    Figure 4.14

    Figure 4.14 The Create PDF from Web Page dialog box with the settings for this exercise.

  4. Select "Get only 1 level" and leave the other options blank. You can experiment on your own with the other options. But if you are trying to document an entire site, like Molly did, you will need to select "Get entire site." However, for this exercise, you don't want to gather too much data because it could take a long time and result in a large file.
  5. Click Create to launch the process.

    The Download Status message box appears and shows the data downloading from Yahoo to your machine. When the process is complete, the Yahoo home page is rendered as a PDF file in Acrobat.

Creating a PDF Portfolio with Multiple Files

As you read in the case study, the lawyers at Young Conaway create PDF Portfolios with all the documents in a case filing—including non-PDF files created in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint—because they are portable, self-contained, and easy to search. In this exercise, you'll create a PDF Portfolio that you will search in the next exercise. Follow these steps in Acrobat 9:

  1. Choose File > Create PDF Portfolio. The PDF Portfolio toolbar appears above your work area, and the Edit PDF Portfolio pane appears on the right.
  2. Click Add Files at the bottom of the screen and locate your chapter04 folder.
  3. Open the PDF Portfolio folder and select the abrahamLincoln_1.pdf file. Click Open. This is a traditional PDF file, and Acrobat will add this file to your portfolio.
  4. Click Add Files again and add the other files in the folder. You can select multiple files by holding down the Ctrl key (Windows) or the Command key (Mac). Notice that you are adding the following file types to this portfolio: PDF, PDF/A, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can also add an entire folder at once by clicking Add Existing Folder.
  5. You can style your PDF Portfolio by adding images, Flash video, and custom color palettes or by selecting the preset styles that are available in Acrobat. Click the Choose a Layout panel on the right and select the Revolve layout. Your screen should look similar to Figure 4.15. (This feature is not available in Acrobat Standard.)
    Figure 4.15

    Figure 4.15 A PDF Portfolio in edit mode showing the Choose a Layout panel.

  6. Save your portfolio by choosing File > Save Portfolio As and name your file myPortfolio.pdf.
  7. Select the arrow to the right of the Abraham Lincoln document in your portfolio to see that the Revolve layout allows you to cycle through your documents in the same way that you can cycle through music on Apple's iTunes site.

Many other graphic styling options are available to you with PDF Portfolios. If graphics are important to your work, be sure you creatively explore all the options, including the custom color palettes. You can use custom color palettes to brand your portfolios with your corporate color scheme.

As mentioned earlier, the lawyers at Young Conaway primarily use PDF Portfolios to organize an entire case file into one, easy-to-search file. Follow these steps to learn more about organizing the documents in your example PDF Portfolio:

  1. Click the List View icon (Figure 4.16).
    Figure 4.16

    Figure 4.16 The List View with the descriptions for this exercise.

  2. Enter the following descriptions next to the filenames (Figure 4.16):
    • abrahamLincoln_1.pdf: Second Inaugural Address
    • abrahamLincoln_2.ppt: Gettysburg Address
    • eleanorRoosevelt.xls: What Libraries Mean to The Nation
    • martinLutherKingJr.pdf: I Have a Dream
    • patrickHenry.doc: Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death
    • ronaldReagan_PDFA.pdf: 40th Anniversary of D-Day
  3. Double-click abrahamLincoln_1.pdf in the List View to see the document within the portfolio. Note that you will need to open non-PDF documents in their native applications.
  4. If you have Microsoft Word installed, double-click the patrickHenry.doc in the List View and click the Open button. The doc opens in Word.
  5. Save your PDF Portfolio.

It is important to note that the documents in your PDF Portfolio are independent from your source documents. If you open the patrickHenry.doc file and make a change to it in Microsoft Word, the change will be saved to the copy in your portfolio but not to the original source file in your chapter04 folder. This file independence makes your portfolio truly portable, and you can send the portfolio to a client in the same way that you send a compressed or zipped file. The lawyers at Young Conaway sometimes do this, but their main goal for assembling PDF Portfolios is to quickly search an entire set of case files.

Creating a PDF Portfolio from Microsoft Outlook

Another common practice at Young Conaway is to create a PDF Portfolio from Outlook. In addition to archiving email messages as PDF, Acrobat also archives email file attachments for a complete record of correspondence. The lawyers later search these files using the techniques you will learn in the next section, "Searching a PDF." Follow these steps to create a PDF Portfolio from Microsoft Outlook:

  1. Open Outlook and select a few email messages. Try to select one email message with an attachment.
  2. Choose Adobe PDF > Convert Selected Messages > Create New PDF.
  3. Name your file myEmailArchive.pdf. Click Save and the Acrobat PDFMaker creates a new PDF file and launches it in Acrobat.

Using this technique, each email message appears as a separate PDF file in the portfolio. If you want a series of email messages to appear as one continuous PDF file, in Outlook choose Adobe PDF > Change Conversion Settings. Then deselect the "Output Adobe PDF Portfolio when creating a new PDF file" option to change the output of the Outlook PDFMaker from a PDF Portfolio to a PDF file.

Searching a PDF

You can search a PDF in two ways: using the Acrobat Find feature or the Acrobat Search feature. The Find feature searches the active document; the Search feature searches the active document, a group of unopened documents, or a PDF Portfolio.

Finding items in the active document

Open the billOfRights.pdf to see the Acrobat Find feature in action:

  1. Choose Edit > Find to launch the Find toolbar. (You can dock this with your other Acrobat toolbars.)
  2. Enter excessive in the Find field and press Enter. Acrobat highlights the first instance of "excessive" in the document and enables the Find Next and Find Previous icons (Figure 4.17).
    Figure 4.17

    Figure 4.17 The Find feature with the Case Sensitive property selected. These options act as toggles, so if you select Case Sensitive again, the feature will be turned off.

  3. Click the Find Next icon to move to the other instance of the word "excessive" in this document.
  4. Select the Case Sensitive option in the Find drop-down list.
  5. Enter excessive again in the Find field and press Enter. This time the Find feature highlights only the one instance of the word that matches the case you entered.
  6. Select Open Full Acrobat Search in the drop-down list to launch the Acrobat Search tool. You can also launch the tool by choosing Edit > Search when working with a PDF file or Edit > Search Entire Portfolio when working with a PDF Portfolio.

Searching a PDF Portfolio

When working with a PDF Portfolio, one search using the Search feature will find instances of the search term in all the documents in the portfolio, including Microsoft Office files and in the descriptions you entered in your portfolio. Open your myPortfolio.pdf file and follow these steps:

  1. Choose Edit > Search Entire Portfolio.
  2. Select Search Entire Portfolio from the Search drop-down list (Figure 4.18, left). If you are on the home page, this is automatically selected.
    Figure 4.18

    Figure 4.18 The Search drop-down list (left) and the Search Results pane (right).

  3. Enter score in the Search field and press Enter to start the search. Acrobat displays the results in the Search Results pane (Figure 4.18, right).
  4. Click the down arrow next to the martinLutherKingJr.pdf file to see more information about the occurrence of your search term in this document. The snippet shows the beginning of a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which started, "Five score years ago, a great American,"—an obvious reference to Abraham Lincoln and the opening phrase from Lincoln's Gettysburg address. It is interesting—from a historical perspective—how these two great speeches are linked. However, it is also interesting—from a technical perspective—how the Acrobat Search tool not only found the search term in the PDF file, but also in the Microsoft PowerPoint file. You can click the PDF file in the Search Results pane to quickly view it in the PDF Portfolio, but you will need to click the Open button to launch the PowerPoint file.
  5. Try searching other terms like "free" and "nation" to see how often they occur in these great American speeches.

Searching a PDF file

You can use the Search feature to locate terms in a stand-alone PDF file as well. Open the billOfRights.pdf to see how this works:

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences to launch the Preferences dialog box.
  2. Select Search in the Categories list on the left. The Search and Fast Find panels appear on the right.
  3. Select "Always use advanced search options" in the Search panel. Click OK.
  4. Choose Edit > Search to launch the Search dialog box (Figure 4.19, left).
    Figure 4.19

    Figure 4.19 The Search dialog box (left) and the Search Results pane (right).

  5. Enter excessive in the search field and select the Case-Sensitive option.
  6. Click Search. Acrobat displays the results in the Results pane of the Search dialog box (Figure 4.19, right).

As you can see from this simple example, the Search feature acts like the Find feature on steroids. Although you conducted the same search with both tools, the Search feature offers many more options than the Find feature. I encourage you to learn more about this tool on your own.