Using the right tools at the right time

Reading my daily dose of feeds on GReader, i came across on an older post from Bruno Lowagie’s blog (if iText rings any bells) explaining why software needs to be kept simple and oriented to its designed role and not doing a ton of things that don’t have anything to do with the initial target. I don’t know why but the story amuzes me everytime i read it. here it is:

Don’t eat soup with a fork

Getting content from a signed pdf document

While most of the time the person that adds a signature for the document, disabling the editing of that document has good reasons for doing so, you sometimes might need to get that content to make some changes. For that you’ll need Acrobat Professional and OSX (tested on 10.4 … might work on 10.5 too):

First step: Open you pdf document with Preview and select the “Select tool” and select the part of the document that you need to edit and copy it.

Second step: Create a new document, hit paste and save it.
Note: at this point the document is editable but the fonts might come as garbage. However you can use the next steps to overcome that.

The next steps are only for flattening/outlining fonts.

Third step: Open the newly created document with Acrobat Professional and add a background to the document from Document -> Background – > Add and set the Opacity to 0(this is needed most of the time if you want to flatten the document).

Fourth step: Flatten the document from Advanced -> Print Production -> Flattener preview (check Convert all text to outlines if you want the fonts to be outlined) and save the document.

This should be it … now you should have an unlocked and working file.