PDFs can do anything, right?

I got a request the other day, from a client, who wanted a pdf that would appear to the reader as a document that was black with white type, but when printed out would be white with black type (so, I presume, as not to use up as much black ink). My first thought was, why don’t you just design the page that way, so it will print out that way. But no, they wanted what they wanted. Well, can’t a PDF do that?

Sigh. Yes, PDFs are wonderful, but as far as I know they can’t yet change the catbox, or make my breakfast for me. If they get to that level, then I would think them to be truely magic. And Adobe has made major improvements to the program, but they still can’t do everything.

When you think about it, thought, PDFs are amazing. When I first started in the graphic design business, it was revolutionary that a document created on a Mac could be viewed by someone on a PC or Unix machine. I remember being so excited about this, because we wouldn’t have to print the presentation out, but just deliver it as a pdf (back then, on a CD, because email wasn’t so prevalent).

So, I guess what I’m saying, there are a lot of things that PDFs can do. They can be forms, they can be used to send to printers (instead of packaging up quark or illustrator or InDesign files), and be print on demand. They can have text extracted from them, as well as illustrations and photographs. They are amazing, but they don’t do everything, not yet.


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