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Old 11-08-2009, 05:23 PM   #1
termn8er
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Resize PDF

I don't understand why the zoom feature doesn't reformat a PDF correctly. I assume it is the built in fonts? Is there a firmware or third party program that will take a PDF and correctly show it using it's fonts and thus zoom will keep all formating correctly?
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Old 11-08-2009, 05:35 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by termn8er View Post
I don't understand why the zoom feature doesn't reformat a PDF correctly. I assume it is the built in fonts? Is there a firmware or third party program that will take a PDF and correctly show it using it's fonts and thus zoom will keep all formating correctly?
Welcome to the Group.

As I understand the whole reason originally behind PDF was to render the page exactly as the originator intended, on any platform.

Enter tiny displays that do not scroll smoothly (The PEz, steps at best). An attempt to re-flow the document results in less than optimal (I just posted a thread with some pictures of this )
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Old 11-08-2009, 05:40 PM   #3
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I wonder if it helps to reformat it to another format. Either way I know this has to be a common complaint, but I can't find any response.
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:40 PM   #4
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What the EZ Reader calls "zoom" is really "reflow". In reflow, an attempt is made to separate the text and the graphics and the text is shown as on a web page. In other words, increasing the zoom increases the font size and the text adjusts to fit the screen. The problem with this is that a PDF does not have to organize its text in a way that allows reflow to work. Sometimes graphics (images) stop reflow from working at all, and sometimes reflow produces strange artifacts like each line of text wrapping at the edge of the screen even if this is in the middle of a word.

The reflow is being done by mobile Adobe Digital Editions, and so far as I can tell this works the same on all devices with reflow using ADE.

On the Pocket Pro, for PDFs that are DRM-free, there is also the option for using XPDF to display the PDF. This does a conventional zoom, and may be more to your liking. Note that XPDF is included because ADE did not initially allow text to speech. This is now allowed by ADE, and so the next firmware from Jinke may remove the XPDF option.

In principle, an off-line reflow conversion could be better than ADE (because ADE has to work in real time on slow processors). However, the state of the art is still pretty bad. On DRM-free PDFs, you can try Calibre (e.g. convert to ePub) or Windows MobiPocket Reader (imports PDF, exports MOBI). There are also apps that convert PDFs to images optimized for a 6" screen.
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:37 PM   #5
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Thanks Wallcraft. I got Calibre and converted to ePub and that worked great on the first book I tried. Never knew there was so much to know about eReading before. Thanks for the help!
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by termn8er View Post
Thanks Wallcraft. I got Calibre and converted to ePub and that worked great on the first book I tried. Never knew there was so much to know about eReading before. Thanks for the help!
It is not so much about eReading as it is about PDF specifically. It is unlike any other reading program and the file format is also unlike any other (except maybe page maker). It is like cutting up a lot of pieces of words, sometimes letters, and images and scattering them across your desk. Now you decide that you want a page of stuff so you gather up the text, letters, and other things and them paste them on a page. It looks perfect but what if that was only a facade and to really understand the perfect page you had to know exactly where on the desk the original letters, works and images were and also had to know exactly what order they were placed on the page in order to read the page.

This is a little like what reflow has to do. Some pages are really easy the page is built uniformly by neatly laid out pieces that were already in order but other document may start with stuff all in random places and the source may then be edited by splicing in other information and them moving stuff on the page around. This kinds of PDF looks fine but is practically impossible to reassemble into text that can be flowed. All PDF files are not created equal.

Some PDF files have a feature called tagging that can help by providing some intelligence about the various pieces. This greatly improves the ability to reflow but not all PDF files have this and it is not clear whether ADE could support it anyway. On your PC you can take the free adobe reader and change the document into reflow mode. This is the best reflow I have ever seen but still doesn't always do a good job.

There are some conversion programs that can convert PDF but they have the same problem as the reflow algorithms have in reassembling the information on the page. Some can do a pretty good job.

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Old 11-13-2009, 12:31 PM   #7
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I guess what I don't get is the fact that this is simply an operating system that requires a pdf reader, no? So if I can use one of the huge number of PDF readers that work with MS, Linux and Mac and all are able to resize, I don't get why someone can't create a program to work on one of these readers that can do the same thing and read PDF in its native format, vs. trying to translate it.
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Old 11-13-2009, 01:05 PM   #8
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I think you are missing the difference between resize (the window) and re-flow (the contents to fit the window)

Try this on your PC:
View a document (book) with your favourite PDF viewer.
(turn off all the sidebars and stuff)
Now reduce the window to the size of your book reader screen.
What do you see? A small image
Zoom in you say OK, Now you have scroll bars R-L, U-D to use your mouse on.

Where is the Mouse (joystick) on you PEz? You can not scroll around.
Do you enjoy reading with a left-right shift (and the e-ink flash every shift)?
Re-flow is the solution (and the very difficult problem) to a small screen being used with a document formatted for sheet paper of a different size and aspect ratio (a paperback text area is 10:16 and your PEz is 3:4 )
HTH
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Old 11-13-2009, 01:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by termn8er View Post
So if I can use one of the huge number of PDF readers that work with MS, Linux and Mac and all are able to resize, I don't get why someone can't create a program to work on one of these readers that can do the same thing and read PDF in its native format, vs. trying to translate it.
What the "resize" function does is magnify the page exactly as it would appear in a paper book (say). You then pan around the screen to read the magnified text. As you say, it is relatively easy to magnify the page, and small devices like the iPhone and PDAs do this reasonably successfully, but the problem on EInk devices is that a page refresh takes about 1 second. So panning is difficult to do. With the most recent EInk controllers, it might be possible to do a better pan and zoom implementation for PDFs - but the current implementations are not good.

The other approach that is available is to off-line split each page into a fixed number of images. This is like panning to a known set of locations on the page. There are several tools described on these forums for doing this, for example PDFRead. Another tool is soPdf, which I think actually preserves the original PDF text (rather than rendering everything as images).
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Old 11-14-2009, 10:09 AM   #10
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I find that after zooming from the default level on quite a few PDFs, I get a blank screen. An example is with the Arbys nutrition PDF.

http://www.arbys.com/nutrition/temp_nutrition_info.pdf
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Old 11-14-2009, 01:09 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by termn8er View Post
I guess what I don't get is the fact that this is simply an operating system that requires a pdf reader, no? So if I can use one of the huge number of PDF readers that work with MS, Linux and Mac and all are able to resize, I don't get why someone can't create a program to work on one of these readers that can do the same thing and read PDF in its native format, vs. trying to translate it.
The reader on a PC is not reading PDF at all. It is displaying letters on a page on the screen in the correct x,y coordinates on the page. You are reading the words. This is how a PDF is "read" by a program. If you resize the window the program rescales the image. Reflow requires that the program recognize the words and paragraphs inserting spaces and paragraph separations as well as dealing with images. This requires knowledge about the contents. Translating the content is similar to reflow. The program has to be a lot smarter.

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Old 11-14-2009, 06:26 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by RichyRich View Post
I find that after zooming from the default level on quite a few PDFs, I get a blank screen. An example is with the Arbys nutrition PDF.

http://www.arbys.com/nutrition/temp_nutrition_info.pdf
I have just experienced that too, with a pdf that is just many large scanned pictures of pages.

I guess it reflowed the pictures out of existence.
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