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Author Topic: PDFs and Tracking Changes
Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted August 01, 2006 16:27      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hi Guys,

It seems like today is the day for tech questions originating with my employer! In any case, this is a fun one.

Here's the setup: We publish advertising magazines. If I told you the names, you'd probably know them. The ads are created in InDesign and PDFed to our clients. We're trying to figure out a way to go paperless. Right now those ads are printed to paper for inhouse proofing.

We'd like to go completely electronic. Right now we're experimenting with commenting and markups in Acrobat, but we're running into a problem. Because of the sheer volume of ads we create, saving multiple versions of commented PDFs is going to quickly eat up our storage space, not to mention create a huge headache for proofers trying to look through the history of changes requested for an ad before it gets sent to the printers.

For those of you in publishing, how do you handle electronic proofing? Is there a program somewhere that tracks changes like Microsoft Word does? Because we comment on PDFs and make changes in InDesign, we're always going to have two different kinds of documents running. Or is there a program or a script that would combine all the PDFs and their comments into one document without the artist having to open up all the documents and copying and pasting them into the master document? They already do that with the InDesign when creating pages to send to the printers, so we'd like to avoid that step because of the amount of time it would take multiplied across hundreds of artists.

We're open to hearing any suggestions you have. Open source program, scripts, write a new program from scratch, pros/cons of going paperless, etc. My art director asked for my input and I told him I would ask you guys 'cause you know so much more than I do about what's available, what works, and what doesn't, so help us out here, please? [Smile]

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Change the way you SEE, not the way you LOOK!

Posts: 3849 | From: Lancaster, PA | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
GMx

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Icon 1 posted August 01, 2006 21:11      Profile for GMx     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 

Posts: 5848 | From: S-4, Area 51 | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted August 02, 2006 16:32      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I thought for SURE someone who reads GC either works for a company who has solved this issue, sells software to solve this issue, or can write a program to solve this issue. For the latter two options, if our company likes the proposed software, they'll buy it, which equals mucho dinero for you or your company. [Smile]

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Posts: 3849 | From: Lancaster, PA | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted August 02, 2006 16:44      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Rhonwyyn:
I thought for SURE someone who reads GC either works for a company who has solved this issue, sells software to solve this issue, or can write a program to solve this issue. For the latter two options, if our company likes the proposed software, they'll buy it, which equals mucho dinero for you or your company. [Smile]

If you're willing to spend money, why don't you spend money on someone to give you an answer? Call CDW and ask for a product specialist.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

Posts: 9332 | From: Westchester County, New York | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Metasquares
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Icon 1 posted August 02, 2006 16:56      Profile for Metasquares   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Subversion will do some of these things for you.
Posts: 664 | From: Morganville, NJ | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted August 02, 2006 17:35      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What's CDW?

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Posts: 3849 | From: Lancaster, PA | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
GMx

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Icon 7 posted August 02, 2006 18:30      Profile for GMx     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Google is your friend:
CDW Technology Services Center

Posts: 5848 | From: S-4, Area 51 | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted August 02, 2006 19:14      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Rhonwyyn:
What's CDW?

Cannot Divine Wisdom.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

Posts: 9332 | From: Westchester County, New York | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted August 03, 2006 09:25      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'll have to call them, I guess, 'cause I'm just not finding what we need on their Web site. [Frown]

I just can't believe no one's come up with a system yet to cohesively save all rounds of change markups in one document.

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Posts: 3849 | From: Lancaster, PA | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Geordie

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Icon 1 posted August 03, 2006 14:10      Profile for Geordie     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Rhonwyyn:
I just can't believe no one's come up with a system yet to cohesively save all rounds of change markups in one document.

It isn't that we haven't come up with a system, it is that people have come up with lots of systems. I don't know of any that work the way you want though for PDFs and even MS Word does not work that way as far as I know. Most solutions do diffs between two versions not between 4 or 5.

Proofing was an interesting area when my company came out with an online remote proofing solution in 1990, and won a MacUser Eddy award, but 16 years later as far as I can tell it has mostly been subsumed into the publishing products themselves. Adobe InCopy and Quark Publishing System (QPS) for example both have the concept of multiple editors and a change history. In general I would start with designing the workflow you would like to have and then seeing how you can apply technology to it.

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Geordie

Posts: 322 | From: Fairfax Station, VA, USA | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted August 03, 2006 15:12      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Adobe InCopy?! that sounds intriguing. I'll definitely look into it.

We have the workflow we want, it's just paperheavy. Reps submit ad copy to ASCs; ASCs give them to image librarians; ILs print out images and file names of images and give to artists; artists create the ads in InDesign, print them out, and give to proofreaders; proofreaders mark up changes and give to artists; artists make changes, print out new proofs and give to proofreaders; proofreaders approve and give to ASCs; ASCs fax to client or PDF the InDesign file and electronically transfer to reps; reps print out proofs and show to clients; clients & reps write up changes and relay them through fax, e-mail or phone call to ASC; ASC writes up changes and give to artists; artists make changes, print out proofs, and give to proofreaders. The process loops until the ads are approved. Then they're placed in sets by the artists, printed out, and proofed by the proofreaders against the proof trail (all the collected rounds of changes).

Sometimes proof trails contain more than 50 pieces of paper. That's a lot when it's multiplied across the millions of ads we create. It's also a bit of a headache to deal with all that paper. With electronic changes written on PDFs, we eliminate the need to decipher poor handwriting (which can avoid headaches; you should see how some people write! Or rather, scrawl.) and the history of changes is much clearer because each change is timestamped.

Because any given ad will go through multiple rounds of changes, we're looking for software that will track the changes across the PDFs. Right now it looks like we'll have to create folders for each ad and just drop in the PDFs after they've been commented and the artist has modified the InDesign document, but that's going to eat up a lot of disk space, not to mention take a lot of time when proofing; we'd have to go through and open every individual PDF.

And that's where we are right now and why I asked for your help; since so many of you know way more about available software and technology than those of us here, I hoped someone would be able to steer us in the right direction. Geordie, thanks for giving us at least a place to start.

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Posts: 3849 | From: Lancaster, PA | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted August 03, 2006 16:37      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I gave you a perfect push in the right direction...but you've chosen to completely ignore it. If you're going to spend money on software, there is *no* reason not to contact a company and ask for advice.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

Posts: 9332 | From: Westchester County, New York | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted August 03, 2006 17:27      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm not ignoring it, dman. I just don't know WHICH company to contact. Do I go directly to a manufacturer or do I deal with a retailer? This is like finding a needle in the proverbial haystack.

EDIT: Oh, so it was you who recommended CDW. I'm sorry. I thought it was Vic. Yeah, we're definitely going to put in a call to them. Hopefully they can send us in the right direction.

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Change the way you SEE, not the way you LOOK!

Posts: 3849 | From: Lancaster, PA | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted August 03, 2006 17:46      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Rhonwyyn:
I'm not ignoring it, dman. I just don't know WHICH company to contact. Do I go directly to a manufacturer or do I deal with a retailer? This is like finding a needle in the proverbial haystack.

EDIT: Oh, so it was you who recommended CDW. I'm sorry. I thought it was Vic. Yeah, we're definitely going to put in a call to them. Hopefully they can send us in the right direction.

See? Just take a little bit of time, rather than rushing things, and all will be clear. [Smile]

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

Posts: 9332 | From: Westchester County, New York | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rhonwyyn

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Icon 1 posted August 03, 2006 18:09      Profile for Rhonwyyn   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Hah. This process has been in the works for months, but the higher-ups have finally gotten to the point that they're asking for feedback from those of us who actually USE this process and I KNOW there has to be something out there that works. It's just a horribly overwhelming task when you don't know where to start.

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Change the way you SEE, not the way you LOOK!

Posts: 3849 | From: Lancaster, PA | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged


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