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Applications and bundled libraries

Applications and bundled libraries

Posted Mar 18, 2010 5:38 UTC (Thu) by roelofs (guest, #2599)
In reply to: Applications and bundled libraries by djao
Parent article: Applications and bundled libraries

I've never seen acroread crash

Hoo boy, I sure have. Of course, I use an old version (37M) in preference to the JS-infested privacy disaster Adobe is currently shipping, so that probably has something to do with it. But after a few weeks or months of use, it frequently either locks up with/on an X grab or just blows itself out of the water altogether. It's not frequent enough to be a showstopper, but it is mildly annoying, and I use both Evince and xpdf as well (especially for forms).


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Applications and bundled libraries

Posted Mar 18, 2010 6:53 UTC (Thu) by djao (guest, #4263) [Link]

Yes, the old versions of acroread were terrible, and that's why I was surprised at the stability of the latest version.

The best software for PDF forms, without question, is flpsed. It allows arbitrary annotations, even on PDFs that don't include embedded forms. You can save your work at any time and edit it later (hardly worth advertising as a feature, except for the fact that Acrobat Reader doesn't allow it), and the resulting output files are small and correct. It's also free software (GPL) and quite robust and stable.

Applications and bundled libraries

Posted Mar 18, 2010 7:40 UTC (Thu) by evgeny (guest, #774) [Link]

> The best software for PDF forms, without question, is flpsed.

I suggest you take a look at xournal (<>). Although it was primarily intended for use with a tablet input, later versions also have support for entering typeset text from keyboard. I use it exclusively for PDF annotations.

Applications and bundled libraries

Posted Mar 18, 2010 8:10 UTC (Thu) by djao (guest, #4263) [Link]

I was not aware of xournal; thanks for the tip. I just checked it out. I find that flpsed is a better fit for my needs, for the following reasons:
  • In flpsed, you can move an existing annotation to another location on the page using the arrow keys on the keyboard, with a granularity sufficiently fine for aligning text within form boundaries, but coarser than individual pixels. Xournal requires using the mouse for moving annotations, and only aligns along pixel boundaries, which (besides being meaningless in the context of vector graphics) is too fine a granularity to achieve perfect alignment of columns or rows of text vertically or horizontally. (This is a common requirement in many situations, e.g. tax forms.)
  • Switching between typing text and moving annotations around requires a mode switch in xournal (you have to move the mouse over to the other tool and click on it), but not in flpsed (just type normally and use the arrow keys to move the block of text you just typed, no mousing required), making xournal less efficient than flpsed for the case of filling in large numbers of extremely short text entries, such as tax forms. Again, this use case is quite common, and (for me) is the most important one.
I may be wrong about xournal's capabilities, as I only tried it out for a few minutes, so please correct me if I am wrong about xournal. I'm happy to hear about it, since it is more useful than flpsed in some situations (mainly when one has to annotate a graphical page of some kind, rather than a data form).

Applications and bundled libraries

Posted Mar 18, 2010 8:33 UTC (Thu) by evgeny (guest, #774) [Link]

Your points are correct, but my typical use is different from yours. I really use it for _annotations_, e.g. while refereeing docs of others or proofreading. The alignment is not very important then, but highlighting and underlining really are. I also use my tablet sometimes with handwriting (that's the intended use of xournal, of course). When I do use xournal for filling in forms, I usually type the text for the whole page without worrying much about alignment and then switch to the other mode and arrange the positions of different chunks of text. I agree that using the arrow keys while entering the text would be a convenient feature.

Applications and bundled libraries

Posted Mar 18, 2010 9:06 UTC (Thu) by djao (guest, #4263) [Link]

Wow, it literally never occurred to me to use xournal for refereeing. That's something that I actually do, and I can see how xournal would be ideal for that task. Thanks!

I still believe, however, that flpsed is better for PDF forms, which invariably consist largely of data entry.

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