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  1. #16
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    CutePDF Pro does a good job of reducing those huge .PDF's exported by MS Word.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by greytech View Post
    Have you looked at IrfanView. It can merge PDFs and in command line mode can use file lists. I use V4.36 and if you look at the Help FAQ & Command Line Options I think you could easily work a solution in conjunction with your Excel speadsheets to create the file lists. You may have to include Ghostscript.
    I'm checking out irfanview right now. program seems a bit alien to me but i'll see what I can coax out of it. Thanks for the suggestion. I have no idea what Ghostscript is :s

    Quote Originally Posted by autobackup View Post
    IMHO If you are using Word's .pdf maker you are on a hiding to nothing as MS Word really does not create efficient .pdf's (it produces really huge files).

    You really need to use Adobe Acrobat Pro - or similar such as Foxit or PDF Converter Pro (as suggested elsewhere in this thread) then you can add, subtract, combine, insert links and manipulate .pdf's in multiple ways with small file sizes.

    You might consider creating each 'customised' .pdf and then storing each of them in the cloud (www.Pogoplug.com gives 5Gb of free secure storage) and then simply providing the correct customised link within each Word document you send out to your end user!
    I'm not concerned about filesize at all. Also, it was already mentioned that hyperlinking is not an option. Field techs can't open hyperlinks on a paper drawing when they're in the middle of installing an air handling unit.

  3. #18
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    If I understand this correctly, you currently use mail merge to create a set of cover sheets, then use "another program" to combine that cover sheet with the manufacturer's specifications and the drawings into a single PDF file. Presumably you do the combining manually now and the program cannot be automated (or scripted, or batched).

    If it were me I would keep the same process but automate it. You can use command line tools like PDF Tools or pdftk (http://www.pdflabs.com/tools/pdftk-the-pdf-toolkit/) to merge PDFs from a batch file. Practice 'by hand' till you understand the syntax. pdftk --help gives lots of information. Example:
    PDFTK cover1.pdf, specs1.pdf drawing1.pdf output combined1.pdf
    If your mailmerge database is in Excel now (you mentioned Excel but I wasn't sure whether you were using it at present), simply add another two columns, for the specsheet and drawing filenames. Then on a second sheet, build up the commands: put pdftk in the first column and replicate down, and output in the fifth column. Use Excel links to grab the filenames from your 'database' sheet. If necessary, do a bit of combining, for example to add a full path in front of the filenames so they go to the right folder.
    Finally, export the second sheet as a text file. Point to File > Save As.... and use 'Formatted text (space delimited) (*.prn).
    Rename the .prn file to .bat and execute it.

    You could automate the renaming step with another batch file containing
    rename *.prn *.bat

    You could also automate the production of sheet 2 using VBA if you feel up to it

    If you are not using Excel as the database you may have to adapt this method a bit to output the batch file automatically.

  4. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to arowland For This Useful Post:

    androo (2014-03-13),Kivarenn82 (2014-02-24)

  5. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by arowland View Post
    If I understand this correctly, you currently use mail merge to create a set of cover sheets, then use "another program" to combine that cover sheet with the manufacturer's specifications and the drawings into a single PDF file. Presumably you do the combining manually now and the program cannot be automated (or scripted, or batched).

    If it were me I would keep the same process but automate it. You can use command line tools like PDF Tools or pdftk (http://www.pdflabs.com/tools/pdftk-the-pdf-toolkit/) to merge PDFs from a batch file. Practice 'by hand' till you understand the syntax. pdftk --help gives lots of information. Example:
    PDFTK cover1.pdf, specs1.pdf drawing1.pdf output combined1.pdf
    If your mailmerge database is in Excel now (you mentioned Excel but I wasn't sure whether you were using it at present), simply add another two columns, for the specsheet and drawing filenames. Then on a second sheet, build up the commands: put pdftk in the first column and replicate down, and output in the fifth column. Use Excel links to grab the filenames from your 'database' sheet. If necessary, do a bit of combining, for example to add a full path in front of the filenames so they go to the right folder.
    Finally, export the second sheet as a text file. Point to File > Save As.... and use 'Formatted text (space delimited) (*.prn).
    Rename the .prn file to .bat and execute it.

    You could automate the renaming step with another batch file containing
    rename *.prn *.bat

    You could also automate the production of sheet 2 using VBA if you feel up to it

    If you are not using Excel as the database you may have to adapt this method a bit to output the batch file automatically.
    Thanks for the reply! I'm looking into these two programs and they look promising already.

    The only tedious part is assembling cover sheets and spec sheets. All I do with those afterwards is attach it as an appendix to the rest of the drawings afterwards. Automation for that isn't necessary.

    With the method you are describing, it sounds like i'llhave to save each cover sheet separately and give it a sequential file name (cover1.pdf, cover2.pdf etc). The current spec sheet names are all over the place.

    Your steps are pretty clear so i'll give it a shot when I get some time. I'll report back with what I get and ask any questions if something strange crops up.

    Cheers!

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