Electronic publishing is the process of converting
a document into an electronic format that can be easily viewed on a computer, printed, or
distributed over the internet. For example, if you have publications created in MS
Word, PageMaker, QuarkXpress, etc. that you want to share with others, then electronic
conversion is the way to go. By
posting electronic documents on your web site, your customers, beta testers, registered
users, etc. can have access to your very latest information at any time.
There are several advantages to distributing information in electronic
documents, such as:
- Cross-Platform Support
- Electronic formats like HTML and PDF can be viewed on most any platform. Adobe's Acrobat
Reader, which is required to view PDF files, is a free download available for the most
common PC platforms, including: All Windows platforms, All Mac OS's, Linux, IBM, SunOS,
Solaris, Digital Unix, OS/2, and more.
- Portable Documents
- Electronic documents can easily be distributed via e-mail or placed on a web site with
the assurance that it will look the same to everyone who views it, regardless of the
hardware/software they are using.
- Easy Browsing - Electronic documents can include hyperlinks, just
like in a Web page, to let the reader instantly jump from one topic to another by clicking
on the link.
- Affordable Distribution -
Electronic documents are inexpensive
to produce because there are no printing costs. And, they are also inexpensive to
distribute because the file size is usually small enough that they can be sent by e-mail,
downloaded from a web site, or mailed on a disk.
- Easy to Upgrade - Because electronic
documents are inexpensive to distribute, they are also inexpensive to upgrade and re-
issue as your information changes.
There are two primary electronic document formats that are
widely supported and in use today: HTML
and Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF). Both formats are ideal for posting
information on your web site and allow information to be presented in a compact,
cross-platform file format. A few notes about the various document types are
If you want to provide direct
access to your documents on an Internet/Intranet server, HTML is still the best way to go.
HTML is a text-based language that must be viewed in a web browser, such as Internet
Explorer or Netscape Navigator. Although HTML is weak in the area of text
formatting, it does support color graphics in .GIF and .JPG format as well as links to
multimedia files, such as .AVI video, .WAV and MIDI audio. The user, however, must
have the necessary hardware and software installed to view those multimedia
HTML files (like this one) are navigated
much like a Windows help file. They rely on hyperlinks and the browser's navigation
buttons to let you jump between topics. Since HTML is not very structured, it is not the
best choice for producing online manuals and booklets. However, these files can be
developed into HTML help systems, giving them advanced browsing features, including topic
index and searching.
In general, HTML is great for displaying
information on your Web site or Intranet where "the people come to you". If you need to send information to other people, then PDF is a much better choice.
Like HTML, PDF files also support hyperlinks to let you jump between topics. But PDF
documents are much more structured, like an electronic book. For example, if you convert a
document to a PDF file and e-mail it across the ocean, when the recipient opens and prints
the PDF file, they will have an exact copy of the document, including table of contents,
page numbers, graphics, and index. Even the fonts are preserved!
The only downside to PDF files is that
nothing comes out of them too easily. For example, if you wanted us to convert a PDF
document back to MS Word or HTML, we could extract the text exactly, but any graphics
would likely be lost, or just not look very good. For this reason, it is important that
you always keep your source files (the files used to generate the PDF file). Do NOT (never
ever) throw away your source files because you think "I already have the information
in a PDF file".
Although PDF files were not originally
native to the web, they have since become a standard document format
supported by all major browsers. PDF files can be viewed and printed
by anyone who has installed the Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is distributed
free of charge by Adobe. The Acrobat Reader is
available for the most common PC platforms, including: All Windows platforms, All Mac
OS's, Linux, IBM, SunOS, Solaris, Digital Unix, OS/2, and more.
Converting a document to PDF or HTML, or converting a PDF
document to HTML (or vice versa) requires specialized software and people who know how to
use it. It is rarely a "push the CONVERT button and you're done"
situation. Files need to be properly prepared for conversion in advance, and often require
post-conversion editing as well. Unless you will be routinely performing document
conversions, it is far less expensive to hire us than to purchase the software yourself
and then commit the resources to learning it.
Estimating Conversion Costs
ITSthe1 ability to extract and convert
information from a document is entirely dependent on the method that was used to put the
information into that file. Because of that, we cannot offer fixed pricing for this
service. Some documents are extremely fast & easy to work with, while others require
extensive preparation or post-conversion editing. For this reason, ITSthe1
requires that you submit a sample document for us to review so we may
provide you with the fairest and most accurate cost estimate possible. There
is no charge for the estimate, and documents can be sent to
ITSthe1 Support via
e-mail, or send us a URL and we can download them from your company's FTP site.
- For conversions to PDF, costs typically range from $0.75 -
$1.00 per page.