Thursday, 24 March 2011

Limited time offer: Save 20% on Life On A Line Deluxe

From now until March 31 2011, anyone ordering copies of our world-famous Life On A Line Deluxe (the paperback full-color edition) via the Lulu storefront can use the discount code


to save 20% off the normal purchase price of US$52.79, with a maximum saving of $100 per order. Click the code above to being your purchase, and enter it at the bottom of the checkout page after choosing your delivery method.

Disclaimer: Use coupon code MARCHSPECIAL305 at checkout and receive 20% off Life On A Line Deluxe. Maximum savings with this promotion is $100. You can only use the code once per account, and you can't use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. This great offer ends on March 31, 2011 at 11:59 PM so try not to procrastinate! While very unlikely we do reserve the right to change or revoke this offer at anytime, and of course we cannot offer this coupon where it is against the law to do so. Transaction must be in US Dollars. Finally, Lulu incurs the cost of this discount, so it does not impact the Author's proceeds of the book.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Announcing the new Adobe Acrobat X Family, and a new blog!

Today sees the public announcement by Adobe of the Adobe Acrobat X Family, comprising Acrobat X Standard, Acrobat Pro and the all-new Acrobat Suite, along of course with Adobe Reader X.To keep all our Acrobat X posts together, Dave Merchant has opened a new blog - The Acrobat Ninja.

Acrobat X (pronounced "Ten") includes a significant change in the user interface, targeting the core enterprise market and the increasing prevalence of widescreen devices. Class-leading export to Microsoft Office OOXML format, support for Office 2010 and OS/X 64-bit browsers, PDF/A-2 export, integration with Microsoft SharePoint, full Windows 7 compatibility and a dramatically streamlined Tools Pane system are some of the headline changes, but there are many more improvements under the hood - and we'll be talking about them over the next few weeks in detail, via our new blog.

UVSAR will be announcing our timescale for rollout of Acrobat X compatible PDF products, plugins and extensions over the next week via our website and on this corporate blog. Our customer training programs are now available in both Acrobat 9 and Acrobat X versions, and we will be individually discussing the upgrade route with our clients.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

AcrobatUsers Tech Talk, July 27 : Advanced Video in Acrobat 9 Pro

For those who came to our Tech Talk today, all the links are available via - and the recording will be online later today for all those who didn't!

If you have any questions, please post them via the forums, link as above.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

InDesign Fixups : Script to ungroup nested layers in a PDF

When you export a PDF from Adobe InDesign and choose the "Create Acrobat Layers" option, the resulting PDF file contains all the layers from your INDD document, placed in a "nest" structure with the document filename as the heading. Along with the layers you have created in your document, InDesign always adds the "Guides and Grids" layer, even though there is usually nothing in it.

It's not possible to remove this enforced layer structure with the user interface OCG tools in Adobe Acrobat - so we have written a small Acrobat JavaScript that performs two (hopefully-useful!) functions:

  • It promotes all layers inside the nest to the top-level, and deletes the nest.
  • It unlists the 'Guides and Grids' layer from the sidebar panel - the layer is NOT deleted, but it's no longer mentioned.

The document structure is not changed - layers are not flattened, and any layer properties are retained.

The script is made available for free via Creative Commons Share-alike, so you can use it and modify it for personal and commercial purposes provided you do not resell the script itself as a commercial product. It works with Adobe Acrobat 8 and 9, provided you haven't disabled JavaScript!

Click here for more info and to download the script

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Free Adobe CS5 Deep Dive Product Sessions

The Adobe CS5 team has put together a series of free-to-attend online Connect sessions for CS5 users, with all-new material and demos. The series runs through July and August on the dates below. This is a chance to get your questions answered now that you’ve had to opportunity to get to know the products a little more.

Scheduled sessions (each lasts 90 minutes, from 11:30 to 13:00 US/Eastern time)

Tuesday, July 13: Adobe Illustrator CS5
Tuesday, July 27: Adobe InDesign CS5
Tuesday, August 10: Adobe Flash Professional CS5
Tuesday, August 24: Adobe Premiere Pro CS5

To REGISTER for these free online seminars, go to:

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Adobe Enterprise Cafe

The latest free AIR application from the Adobe developers is Adobe Enterprise Café - a desktop app which helps you stay in touch with the goings-on, receive news, find information, and aggregate content related to Adobe LiveCycle ES (Enterprise Suite), Acrobat, Connect, ColdFusion, and the Adobe Flash Platform.

As well as linking in to community events and news feeds, it brings in content from Adobe.TV and the user community websites, including of course the forum at (though remember that for the time being, your username and password for the forums isn't the same as your Adobe ID).

It's a bit beta-ish in places, and I'm not too partial to brown as a color scheme, but hey.. it's still cool.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Acrobat 3D PDFs - stopping export to 3D Reviewer

Prompted by a question at AcrobatUsers, here's a schneaky hack for anyone putting 3D models into their PDF files and who wants to stop the trivially-easy export of those models into other software.

When you import a 3D file using Acrobat Pro Extended, it can be stored internally in one of two ways: PRC (B-rep) and U3D. PRC preserves the exact contents of CAD/CAM files, so is great if you want people to be able to do accurate measurements on the 3D model, and U3D embeds polygonal geometry (meshes), as generated from 3D modelling software such as Sketchup, 3DS Max, Maya etc. You can down-sample U3D scenes to intentionally reduce their value to anyone, but then of course you lose accuracy on measurements.

Either way, if you send the PDF to someone using Reader 9, they get to look at it and not much more.

However if they have Acrobat 9, they can right-click on the 3D scene, and find a nice little context menu:

If the model is a PRC, the "Export Data" option is available, and will let them export to a number of formats (IGES, ParaSolid, STEP, VRML, and STL). As the PRC model is "perfect", so is the exported copy. If the model is stored as a U3D mesh, only the "Edit in 3D Reviewer" option is available, but it's still possible to hoof the model out. Not good, if your model was supposed to be "protected" by this whole PDF idea.

The trivial-but-deceptive solution is to apply security to the PDF, and in the security options panel uncheck "Enable copying of text, images and other objects". When you import a PRC file, Acrobat Pro Extended even tells you this (as a stark reminder your data is perfect and vulnerable):

So fine, you apply password security - but hold on a second. First, remember that password permissions security on a PDF is an illusion of security, not real security. It can be removed in 5 seconds by anyone with free software, of which there are pages and pages on Google. The only truly secure methods are certificates and DRM (such as through Adobe LiveCycle), and both of those cost money to implement. While we're at it, what if you don't want to stop copying at the document level (maybe something else in the document needs to be copyable)? Can we get the "Export to" and "Edit with" options to just go away?

Well, yes - yes we can! But first, we need to understand something about these annotations in Acrobat 9. If you open the content inspector sidebar (right-click the sidebar area if it's hidden) and inspect your 3D PDF, you will see the annotation is stored as "3D":

However, it's NOT a "3D annotation". The 1.7L3 PDF specification only understands something called a "Rich Media annotation", which can play Flash, video or 3D content, and which has a special variable to say which it's trying to display. So the image above is showing the page contains a "RichMediaAnnot of type 3D".

Why care? Because Acrobat 9 and Reader 9 don't care. If you create a RichMedia annotation of ANY type, it will play it even if the content doesn't match the type variable - but they make up the context menu based on the type variable alone. Confused? Well think of it like this - if we make a VIDEO annotation, but put a 3D scene inside it, Acrobat and Reader will show the 3D scene just perfect; but will show the context menu for a video:

Note the distinct lack of anything saying "Export" or "Open in". Nada. Zip. Bupkis. The PDF is still not secured, but we can't extract the 3D data! Not only that, if we try and open the PDF directly in 3D Reviewer, it'll show an empty scene - because dear old 3D Reviewer only looks for annotations of type=3D.

Getting excited yet? Want to know how to do this insane alchemy of the annotations?

You need a SWF.

Any SWF. Literally any SWF - you're not even going to use it. You just need one.

Create your 3D scene as normal in the PDF, and right-click it to choose Properties. In the popup window, switch to the Resources tab and press ADD. Select that SWF and add it. Don't bother with anything else, because it's only going to be there for 5 seconds.

now press OK to close the Properties panel, and immediately right-click and re-open it again. Go back to the Resources tab, and remove the SWF. Yup - delete it. Press OK again, and you're done. The PDF is exactly as it was before (you haven't even saved your changes yet) - but go open that content inspector and see what it says:

Now for the fun part - activate your 3D scene, and right click it. What don't you see?