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Old 10-23-2013, 12:41 PM   #1
carogray
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Forms in Epubs - Best way to show a PDF

Our guides start out in Word, but we insert various government agency forms into them so the people can see what the forms they will receive or need to fill out look like.

I am trying to figure out the best way to put these forms into our epub and ultimately .mobi files.

I do not really want to "convert" the PDF, I only want an image these forms to show up on the ereader. A very helpful librarian "ebooked" an enormous guide we have - over 800 pages, and her solution was to simply link to the PDF online so that if people wanted to see the form they need to be online and then can download to use it - or even see it.

I am thinking it might be better to create a png or jpg? and size it correctly so people could at least see what the form looks like. We could certainly include a link to go to the PDF form online so people could download it if they wanted to print it or use it, but they would not have to be online just to get a sense of what the form looks like.

I am assuming that we cannot embed a PDF in epub or mobi files although I saw a post that kind of looked as though we can.

If creating an image of the PDF is the best way forward - what would be the best way to create it, how should I size it so that it is suitable for the most number of ereaders and can I put a link into the image or should it be just before or after?

Or is there a better way to do this?

Thanks,
Caroline
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Old 10-24-2013, 02:21 AM   #2
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Please use the forums correctly. Moved to the "Epub" forum.
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Old 10-24-2013, 02:31 AM   #3
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Images would work I guess.
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Old 10-24-2013, 03:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carogray View Post
We could certainly include a link to go to the PDF form online so people could download it if they wanted to print it or use it
If you do, please include and display the full URL address, not only as a link, so people using a reader without internet connection (or not wanting to enable the connection) can write down the link and type the address in a browser whenever they like.

Quote:
I am assuming that we cannot embed a PDF in epub or mobi files although I saw a post that kind of looked as though we can.
You can embed it. Whether the reader will display it, that's a different thing... I believe at least some readers will, but most surely many won't.
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Old 10-24-2013, 06:45 AM   #5
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Seems to me that you probably don't need to show the entire form, but perhaps only the top half or so, as an image. This sort of thing is usually displayed with a wavy bottom as if it had been torn away to suggest the image is partial.

My Sony PRS-300 will show pdfs, but not as part of epubs, as far as I know, nor will it jump online since it lacks that function. And I will stay with it probably until it breaks since it does what I want it to do and lasts for a couple of weeks between recharges. Unless you have a captive audience you don't want to leave people like me out.

As for what flavor of image, that was the discussion on a thread recently; some serious, some frivolous, as there is something of religious fervor about death to jpgs, long live pngs, gifs forever. Best thing to do is try them all for your particular form and display on as many devices as possible your readers might have. With pngs there are so many flavors you will have to select carefully to get a image with a reasonable file size.
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Old 10-24-2013, 10:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmikel View Post
As for what flavor of image, that was the discussion on a thread recently; some serious, some frivolous, as there is something of religious fervor about death to jpgs, long live pngs, gifs forever. Best thing to do is try them all for your particular form and display on as many devices as possible your readers might have.
Death to JPG!

JPGs are good for "natural" images (photographs).

In this case, the forms are most likely generated and line art (very few colors, very sharp, distinct lines/letters, etc. etc.). This is the sort of thing that JPG is horrendous at, and perfect for PNG (or GIF)!

Hopefully these PDFs are not actually scanned documents by the government agency. (I recently had to fill out a PDF form that was like that, the entire background was speckled, and I wasted a ton of ink having to print it out).

Quote:
Originally Posted by carogray View Post
If creating an image of the PDF is the best way forward - what would be the best way to create it, how should I size it so that it is suitable for the most number of ereaders and can I put a link into the image or should it be just before or after?
Mind posting samples/links to these PDF forms? Once we get lots of samples, we could help a lot more and come up with a nice workflow to get these converted.

"Easiest"/Labor Intensive way would probably be to open the PDF in a PDF reader (Adobe Acrobat Reader, Foxit Reader, ...) and take a screenshot. Paste this screenshot into (image creation program), crop, and save as PNG (or GIF). This is A LOT of manual labor... especially if you have hundreds of images to generate. If you only have a few, this might be your best bet though.

Are you familiar with commandline and commandline tools? This would probably be the best way to mass generate these images.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmikel View Post
With pngs there are so many flavors you will have to select carefully to get a image with a reasonable file size.
That is what we are here for... the help!

Last edited by Tex2002ans; 10-24-2013 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 10-24-2013, 12:51 PM   #7
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mrmikel: running the a PNG trough PNGOUT 1st and advpng -4 -i 1000 filename.png
will do exactly that - give you the most possible optimisation.
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Old 10-25-2013, 07:22 AM   #8
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Thanks for the info. Without optimization pngs are much bigger than other formats without any visible gain.
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:53 AM   #9
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Hola

yo, tambien soy nueva en el foro
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Old 10-25-2013, 05:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carogray View Post
...If creating an image of the PDF is the best way forward - what would be the best way to create it...
Two ways I would look at doing it.

1. Quick and dirty way - if the resolution is not very important open the PDF in ones PDF reading application and just snip out the relevant parts of the form on the display using a screen snipping tool (such as the Snipping Tool in more recent versions of Windows). Edit the image, if wanted, in an image editing application.

2. Tidy way - open the PDF in Photoshop and select the page the form is on, crop and edit the page as desired, and save in your favourite epub compatible image format (I don't worry about all the arguments about which is best as long as it works ). Build the epub with the image inserted where you want it.
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