PDF Hacks
100 Industrial-Strength Tips & Tools
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: August 2004
Pages: 298

PDF--to most of the world it stands for that rather tiresome format used for documents downloaded from the web. Slow to load and slower to print, hopelessly unsearchable, and all but impossible to cut and paste from, the Portable Document Format doesn't inspire much affection in the average user. But PDFs done right is another story. Those who know the ins and outs of this format know that it can be much more than electronic paper. Flexible, compact, interactive, and even searchable, PDF is the ideal way to present content across multiple platforms.

PDF Hacks unveils the true promise of Portable Document Format, going way beyond the usual PDF as paged output mechanism. PDF expert Sid Steward draws from his years of analyzing, extending, authoring, and embellishing PDF documents to present 100 clever hacks--tools, tips, quick-and-dirty or not-so-obvious solutions to common problems.

PDF Hacks will show you how to create PDF documents that are far more powerful than simple representations of paper pages. The hacks in the book cover the full range of PDF functionality, from the simple to the more complex, including generating, manipulating, annotating, and consuming PDF information. You'll learn how to manage content in PDF, navigate it, and reuse it as necessary. Far more than another guide to Adobe Acrobat, the book covers a variety of readily available tools for generating, deploying, and editing PDF.

The little-known tips and tricks in this book are ideal for anyone who works with PDF on a regular basis, including web developers, pre-press users, forms creators, and those who generate PDF for distribution. Whether you want to fine-tune and debug your existing PDF documents or explore the full potential the format offers, PDF Hacks will turn you into a PDF power user.

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Product Details
About the Author
Recommended for You
Customer Reviews


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oreillyPDF Hacks

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(11 of 12 customers found this review helpful)


More of a PDF Publisher Tips and Tricks

By Klaatu62

from Boston MA

About Me Designer, Developer, Power user, Sys Admin

Verified Reviewer


  • Easy to understand
  • Well-written


  • Not comprehensive enough
  • Too basic

Best Uses

  • Novice
  • Occasional publisher
  • Student

Comments about oreilly PDF Hacks:

The book is well written and does cover the topic of PDF files quite extensively, however I have some trouble with the term "Hacks" being used in the title. For the most part, they may be tips and tricks, but I would estimate that fewer than 20% of the content is actually a "Hack" if you will.

There is an incredible amount of time spent on how you can use the PDF Format to create a publication, most of it being interactive manual methods of tweaking your product for publication.

What is (IMHO) somewhat lacking is wider discussion of the tools out there that can be automated or scripted, and examples of how to chain these together.

Also, it would have been nice to see more linux tools in the "hacks".

Overall, the book is not bad, but if you are a power user, you have probably found everything described here on the net. If you are a basic user or even a somewhat regular user of PDF files, then you will probably benefit from the content much more.

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