PDF Support in MS Office

Well, it’s about time!  It’s good to see ourselves recognize that the PDF file format is in use by our customers and they want support for PDF in the product.  I don’t know if it was a licensing issue with Adobe or what held things up, but I’m glad to see PDF support being added to Office.  Interoperability is a good thing.  One more brick pulled from the foundation of the trite “Microsoft == Lock-In” argument.  Oh, wait…  (I can hear it now)  “This is just another feature that’s designed to force users to uprade, right MSFT?”  So, more open document file formats, including PDF and XML, and other ways to easily enable users to get at their data (Web Service support, SharePoint doc libraries and lists being available as a local data source) mean more “lock in” from Microsoft?  I don’t see the logic.  I do see compelling reasons to upgrade, but that’s not lock-in – that’s bang for your buck.

Yeah, but the XPS document format, or the Maestro file format, which was announced at PDC last month and will ship with Windows Vista – that is a closed, proprietary example of Microsoft lock-in at its best, right?  Well, not exactly.  that is another standard that has been published to the world.  XPS = XML Paper Specification.  So, how does an XPS document compare to a PDF document?  Well, it sounds a lot like the same thing to me…  Let’s address that at a different time, (after I learn more about it).

The Office group said that they built this support based on the ISO standard that was offered by Adobe.  Cool.  This applies to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.  And, even InfoPath forms will be able to be saved as PDF…  You know, I’ve always been in the practice of sending powerpoint files to my customers after giving product demonstrations and the like.  I have a feeling that I’ll be sending a lot more .PDF files around from now on.   I’ve used some of those utilities to convert a document into a .PDF file from time to time, but they were always more of a hassle than they were worth.  Perhaps I jsut never found the right one.  I always wanted the “Save as PDF…” menu item.  It looks like I’ll have it sometime towards the end of next year!

…Ouch.  You mean we have to wait until next year?  Well, yes.  That’s when the next version of Office will ship.  But wait – there will be a beta version sometime in the first half of next year for anyone to sign up for.  …And That’s A Good Thing.

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1 reply

  1. What licensing of PDF is required? PDF is open. Adobe doesn’t require that you sign anything, sign up for anything, or otherwise. Just that you abide by their copyright and don’t make something that breaks interoperability. More info at http://partners.adobe.com/public/developer/en/pdf/PDFReference16.pdf PostScript is the one that requires the wacky licensing.


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