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Dorian Gray
2011-01-05, 18:49
Hello all,

I have a business idea of sorts that I'd like to try over the next year. I'll probably pester you with a series of questions on that here, since the AppleNova crowd is smart, entrepreneurial, generous, kind to puppies, handsome, etc. For now I just need to figure out a way to produce PDF files.

I want to offer simple but stylish PDF documents of very roughly twenty pages: primarily text, but with some photos, charts, and diagrams. I will create the content myself. The substance is one thing, but the look has to say: "This guy knows what he's talking about. He has technical chops and perfect taste." This is not true, of course. Each of my customers — there will be thousands, millions — will pay a few euros (PayPal? Another thread...) to download a PDF document from a choice of several. They'll also get hundreds or thousands of megabytes of additional data for this low fee, but that too is for another thread. Obviously my content will be so utterly compelling that I may be forced to take measures to prevent it ending up as a .torrent file.

Currently I have no page layout tools of any kind on my Mac so I'm going to have to buy something. What should I look for? Keep in mind I'm no graphic designer and haven't done page layout in earnest since my high-school geography report.

I've found:


Apple Pages: 79 euros as part of iWork. Version seems to be stuck at '09. Can presumably save as PDF from the print dialogue like everything else in OS X. Would Pages be good enough for layout accuracy, ensured compatibility with everyone on every PDF-compatible platform, and high-quality PDF graphics that can be zoomed in for close-up viewing on big monitors?


Microsoft Word: about 110 euros as part of the home version of Office. I know it's mostly a word processor, but can it also be used for basic page layout?


Adobe InDesign: about 1000 euros (much cheaper in the US). At this price, I suppose I may as well pay a graphic designer and get the job done properly. But I'd rather you told me that, if that's what you think. My fear is that I might need to keep going back to the graphic designer for months or years if the idea worked; spending an outright fortune in the process. (If the idea worked, I would need to produce more PDF documents.) Are there any cheap (but legal) ways to get Adobe software?


Adobe Acrobat X Pro: over 600 euros. What does this do, exactly? Is it the only way to password-protect PDFs? Not that I've decided to password-protect the files at this stage.


Something off the wall like BeLight Swift Publisher (http://www.belightsoft.com/products/swiftpublisher/overview.php): about 40 euros.
You might ask: why PDF? My extensive market research has an answer for that. It turns out that I should aim at older, richer, conservativer customers who like a palpable thing they can pay for once and possess, rather than airy-fairy stuff in the cloud, subscriptions, and other piffle. This suits me fine since I know nothing at all about clouds.

pscates2.0
2011-01-05, 19:13
Of the four things listed, I do believe Apple's Pages is the way to go. It produces nice results, easily creates PDFs and gives you all the tools needed to do the things you talk about. Others here may expand on that (I fully admit to having no experience creating more than a 4-8 page document with Pages). But in every other way - text flow, column control, image/graphic placement and text runarounds, etc., I was more than pleased.

It's been quite a while since I've launched Adobe InDesign, in fact.

Others may feel differently, but my vote is for Pages.

Does the new OS X App Store go online in Europe tomorrow as well, or is it just a U.S. launch? Because if all those promo screenshots at Apple's site are any indication, it looks to me like Pages may be able to be purchased separately from the bundled iWork suite, for around $20. I don't know if that's just a fake placeholder, but it's tough to imagine they'd have this kind of thing up (and used in the Lion preview keynote a few months back) if it wasn't so. That's a huge tease - and cruel rug-pull - to hit folks with at the last minute!

http://www.apple.com/mac/app-store/

But I don't know if tomorrow's launch is U.S.-only or worldwide. :confused:

If it is worldwide - or at least throughout Europe - talk about great timing for you!

:)

EDIT: I decided to check out the French version of Apple.com, and the same little orange triangle graphic announcing the App Store's launch tomorrow is present there as well: check it out. (http://www.apple.com/fr/mac/app-store/) (as long as "janvier" means "January", then I'm onto something. :) That little notice wouldn't be there if it didn't apply to people in France looking at that site, right?

You may be able to download Pages tomorrow, Dorian, for much less than the $79 you're currently budgeting for? Certainly don't go buying anything tonight, just in case...

torifile
2011-01-05, 19:16
Pages. It should do what you want and do it with minimal fuss and expense. If it's lacking, at least you're not out the hundreds for something like InDesign.

pscates2.0
2011-01-05, 19:33
It just dawned on me that iWork is still at the '09 version, so perhaps tomorrow may see the release of iWork '11 as well? Not entirely sure (seems like such a thing would benefit more from a live special event where Jobs or Schiller could demo the new features, which is usually the approach they take with new iLife and iWork releases). But you never know...maybe they're going to throw a few dozen video tutorials up on their site to handle the teaching/demo chores this time around?

So maybe there will be a brand new version of Pages available tomorrow afternoon? A small chance, anyway. If so, and if it's around $20, I'll definitely be buying.

Dorian Gray
2011-01-05, 20:02
Of the four things listed
So you're writing off BeLight Swift Publisher just like that, are you? :lol:

I do believe Apple's Pages is the way to go. It produces nice results, easily creates PDFs and gives you all the tools needed to do the things you talk about. Others here may expand on that (I fully admit to having no experience creating more than a 4-8 page document with Pages). But in every other way - text flow, column control, image/graphic placement and text runarounds, etc., I was more than pleased.
It sounds great!

Before posting I looked at the Pages overview video ("Watch Pages Overview") here (http://www.apple.com/uk/iwork/pages/). At 2:41 the video shows a method for adding photos to a document. I use Aperture rather than iPhoto, but I suppose I'll be able to drag and drop images to Pages one way or another, even if only from the Desktop.

But when a photo is added like this, does Pages store the full-resolution image for high-quality printing or resizing to a larger size later? I mean: if you change your mind and increase the size of the image in the document substantially, does it become pixelated? Or does Pages "remember" the original image, at full resolution, and render it accordingly at its new larger size?

And do you happen to know what kind of graphics quality is preserved in a PDF exported from Pages? Are fonts included in the PDF file, so the document works on anyone's computer? Is that even needed? I know next to nothing about this stuff…

Le 6 janvier is here already, but I see no sign of the Mac App Store going live just yet. I'll take this perfect timing as a good omen, though. :)

Pages. It should do what you want and do it with minimal fuss and expense. If it's lacking, at least you're not out the hundreds for something like InDesign.
Makes sense. But being out 79 euros would also be enough to annoy me, if Pages isn't up to the task. Thankfully it looks like it might cost as little as $20 soon, which means there's no reason at all to not try Pages first.

Thanks. I'm looking forward to this!

pscates2.0
2011-01-05, 20:42
So you're writing off BeLight Swift Publisher just like that, are you? :lol:

How weird...I honestly never even noticed that. I'm getting old... :)

Before posting I looked at the Pages overview video ("Watch Pages Overview") here (http://www.apple.com/uk/iwork/pages/). At 2:41 the video shows a method for adding photos to a document. I use Aperture rather than iPhoto, but I suppose I'll be able to drag and drop images to Pages one way or another, even if only from the Desktop.

I don't have Aperture, but I would have to guess that the two photo applications from Apple would both "play nice" with their page layout app. I'd wager a modest sum that you'll be able to drag-and-drop from Aperture to Pages, just as you would iPhoto.

But when a photo is added like this, does Pages store the full-resolution image for high-quality printing or resizing to a larger size later? I mean: if you change your mind and increase the size of the image in the document substantially, does it become pixelated? Or does Pages "remember" the original image, at full resolution, and render it accordingly at its new larger size?

Now that is something I've yet to try, or run into. I do know I've dropped in photos and feel free to scoot them around and blow them up a tad (nothing too drastic, because I'm usually pretty tight on my final layout based on comps/mockups that have been approved earlier). Someone else - or Google? - will have to provide that answer.

And do you happen to know what kind of graphics quality is preserved in a PDF exported from Pages? Are fonts included in the PDF file, so the document works on anyone's computer? Is that even needed? I know next to nothing about this stuff…

It's a very simplified, straightforward dialog when you go to "Export..." under the File menu:

http://homepage.mac.com/pscates/mockups/export_pages.png

What you see is what it is: three quality setting options (good, better and best). It must embed the fonts because unlike exporting a PDF out of InDesign, there aren't a bunch of tweakable settings. But for anecdotal evidence, I've created newsletters, cards, backgrounds, frames, etc. for friends and family over the years, using Pages, and frequently use some off-the-wall font that I know they would never have (and many of them are on Windows-based machines) and I'll e-mail the PDF and eventually see it printed or at their house and everything is maintained.

EDIT: Ah, here is some info, copied directly from Pages' built-in Help file/app, that should answer your specific questions...direct from the source!

If you want to share your Pages documents with those who aren’t using the latest version of Pages, you can export your document to file formats that they may be able to use on their computers or other devices:

PDF: You can view PDF files in iBooks, and view or print them in Preview and Safari. You can edit them with a PDF application. Fonts used in the Pages document are preserved in the PDF file. (bolding mine - Paul)

Hyperlinks in your Pages document are exported to the PDF file. Hyperlinks are also created in the PDF file for table of contents entries, footnotes and endnotes, webpages, email addresses, and bookmarks.

And further down the page:

To export a document to PDF, Microsoft Word, RTF, or plain text file formats:
1. Choose Share > Export.

2. Select the document format that you want from the options shown across the top of the Export window.

If you’re exporting to PDF, you must choose an image quality (a higher image quality results in a larger PDF file):

• Best: Image resolutions are not scaled down.

• Better: Images are downsampled to 150 dpi. Images without transparency (alpha channel) are JPEG-compressed by 0.7.

• Good: Images are downsampled to 72 dpi. Images without transparency (alpha channel) are JPEG-compressed by 0.9. (bolding - me again)

To learn about creating a password for your PDF document, see Password-Protecting Your Document.

3. Click Next.

4. Type a name for the document.

5. Choose where you want to save the document.

6. Click Export.

Does some of that help?

Le 6 janvier is here already, but I see no sign of the Mac App Store going live just yet. I'll take this perfect timing as a good omen, though. :)

Yeah, probably couldn't have asked for better lucky/timing on this.

torifile
2011-01-05, 20:53
At least in the US there is a 30 day demo (http://www.apple.com/iwork/download-trial/) of the iWork suite. Give it a try.

pscates2.0
2011-01-05, 21:05
Yep, can't believe I forgot to recommend that. I don't know if he can grab it from any site, but the French and UK versions of Apple.com offer this (if those are needed). I don't know if they are or not...

:confused:

Anyway I do believe these demos from Apple are fully-functioning (save, export, etc.), so it's a great way to find out if it'll do the job...without spending a cent!

torifile
2011-01-05, 21:55
Yep, can't believe I forgot to recommend that. I don't know if he can grab it from any site, but the French and UK versions of Apple.com offer this (if those are needed). I don't know if they are or not...

:confused:

Anyway I do believe these demos from Apple are fully-functioning (save, export, etc.), so it's a great way to find out if it'll do the job...without spending a cent!
They are fully functional for the 30 days. Once you decide to buy, all you do is put your serial number in and it's unlocked.

Dorian Gray
2011-01-06, 02:44
Does some of that help?
Greatly! Thanks a bunch, pscates2.0. I see from your screen-capture that it's even possible to password-protect a PDF file with Pages.

I'll definitely be looking for Pages on the new Mac App Store when it opens today.

Xaqtly
2011-01-06, 02:53
Hey you guys totally forgot to mention Quark XPress!











http://photos.friendster.com/photos/19/99/18169991/11642752852810m.jpg

Mugge
2011-01-06, 13:12
Back in 2006 I used Pages to make a brochure and ran into a problem with the print shop not understanding the PDF format from Pages '06. Heres the old AN thread about it:

http://forums.applenova.com/showthread.php?t=19177&highlight=Pages+PDF

Maybe this problem has been fixed in the '09 version, but back then I came to the conclusion that Pages (or was it the built-in OS X .pdf creator?) could not be trusted to deliver industry standard .pdf encoding.

pscates2.0
2011-01-06, 13:24
I've never used Pages for a full-on print job. But Dorian mentions downloads and all, so I figured he wasn't necessarily looking to go that route (because I would've tempered my enthusiasm for Pages with all those sorts of caveats and notices).

It just so happens that much of what I've been doing lately is lower-key work, run from copiers or inkjets, or simply downloaded and viewed on-screen. For those jobs, Pages has worked wonderfully. If I had a big, "serious" job that required separations and a press run and all that, yeah...I'd probably, just out of habit and familiarity, stick with InDesign.

But I'm hoping - assuming - a lot of these things were fixed in the 3-4 years since you ran into that problem. It would be interesting to find out. Should be easy enough for me to Google it...

Dorian Gray
2011-01-06, 13:44
Pages is 15.99 euros on the new store, so I think I'll just try it without further ado. I don't foresee any printing at this stage.

Mac+
2011-01-06, 16:03
Just adding my voice to the chorus and Paul's elaborate support - Pages is great.

Aperture appears in the Media browser, like iPhoto.

Now, off to the app store to check out the upgrade price on Aperture 3 and to return the shrink wrap box of Aperture which is awaiting pick-up from the couriers as of yesterday. :grumble:

bassplayinMacFiend
2011-01-06, 16:24
Now, off to the app store to check out the upgrade price on Aperture 3 and to return the shrink wrap box of Aperture which is awaiting pick-up from the couriers as of yesterday. :grumble:

Hey, no reason to grumble man, imagine how you'd feel if you had already opened the box.

Mac+
2011-01-06, 21:02
Ha-ha - true. I couldn't find the D'oh! smiley so I just went with Mr grumbles.

Brad
2011-01-06, 21:24
Already been said, but I'll repeat the Pages recommendation. :)

Early version(s) had some odd font subsetting issues that caused some of our* large print-on-demand facilities to choke on the PDFs that Pages generated, but current versions work just fine, and we have customers using it for book authoring and layout.


*where I work: www.lulu.com

Mugge
2011-01-07, 06:22
Thanks for the info, Brad. Now I won't feel worried about trying my hand at it again.