All About PDF Stamps

Putting “All About PDF Stamps” on the cover puts the bar pretty high when you write a book about PDF Stamps… But Thom Parker clears that bar without any problems! His book “All About PDF Stamps in Acrobat & Paperless Workflows” is both a great introduction into using PDF stamps, but also a powerful guidebook to implementing complex workflow scenarios.

You may ask if one small feature of Adobe Acrobat, which is comes with a ton of different features, really deserves it’s own book. The book is about stamps on the surface, the real subject of the book is almost buried in the last part of the title: Paperless workflows. Stamps are just a means to implement these workflows.

We’ve all been promised our flying cars, and the paperless office. I am still waiting for that flying car, but the paperless office can be a reality if you use the right tools, and Thom is about to introduce you to one very powerful gadget to add to your virtual tool belt. The key to using PDF stamps in such a workflow is to use not just stamps, but dynamic PDF stamps. I’ve written about them before in my post “More Interactive Dynamic Stamps in Seven Easy Steps”.

The book starts out with a very basic description of what PDF stamps are, before it moves on to describing some workflows that are based on stamps. To make things easier to understand, we do get the description of how a manual process using a static stamp would work, and that gets then contrasted with how smooth an automated workflow, based on dynamic stamps would be.

This is not just a book for the techies who would  (and can) implement such a workflow – even if you don’t know your stamp from a sticky note, the first part of the book contains a lot of useful information that would enable you to come up with ideas about how to convert your paper based processes into paperless workflows. The examples in this part should give you enough information about what’s possible with Acrobat to get your creative juices flowing. Once you have a plan, you can then hand off the implementation to somebody who cannot wait to get to the more technical parts of the book 😉

There are enough samples in the book – starting from very basic to a fairly script intense sample in the appendix – to demonstrate the different techniques outlined in the text.

What I really appreciated is that Thom does talk about what features are documented, and which are undocumented. This allows the reader to make an educated decision about what to use and where to be cautious when the next release of Acrobat comes along.

Along the way, we are learning about a number of things that do not directly have to do with stamps like document flattening, coordinates in PDF files, storing data persistently and a few more things that broaden your JavaScript horizon. This means you are benefitting from the book even if you are not planning on implementing a paperless workflow anytime soon.

I’ve read the book in paper, but I would have loved to have a PDF version of it. There is a Kindle version available, but I spend my days in Acrobat, so having all this knowledge available in PDF and searchable via a PDF catalog would have been even better. Speaking of searching: The book does have an index, so things are easy to find.

The book was written when Acrobat X was the latest version, but everything you find in the book regarding Acrobat X should also work with Acrobat XI.

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