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Office 12 - Word to PDF File Translation

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Scoble recently caught up with Luke Williams, a software developer on the Office team, who helped create a nifty new feature in Office 12: Word to PDF file translation (you can save a Word document as a PDF file by simply choosing Save As...PDF, etc).

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  • Very Cool. I cant wait to get my hands on this. I wanted this feature ever since office 2003, so its cool to hear that this will be in office 12.

    One question. Will you be able to create PDF FIles that end users can fill stuff in? like a special form, where the users fill in the blank spaces or even select things, as in the PDF tool from Adope , or this is just for text and pictures and links?

    another thing, is there a way to print a PowerPoint presentation into a PDF file with 6 slides / page using the new feature in Office 12? or is this just for word?

    very cool stuff

  • ZeoZeo Channel 9 :)
    Besides the new UI....I believe this to be the KILLER feature of O12. 
    Smiley

    And this is the first time we've heard scoble use a really interesting technical term...[6]
  • Wow, all versions of Word are made in pure C? No (I need to watch my language), go figure. That explains why the app is so fast !Tongue Out
  • Just curious - what's the scoop on all the red cups ??
  • I guess my only question is, why isn't print to PDF just a feature of Windows Printing and not specific to Office? If it's just a print driver, it should work with every application that prints... why limit the technology to Office 12?
  • Printing to PDF is easy (there are already free solutions), the problem is that you lose a lot of information that way (hyperlinks, document flow etc) - this is something that can only really be added by native PDF support at the application level.

    PDF support in Vista would be great, not sure we'll see it though (sadly)
  • Andy,

    Thanks for the reply. I was actually trying to bait the MS folks into responding because I realize the fancy linking and bookmarking certainly only comes at the application level and therefore clearly it isn't simply a print driver solution. Wink

    If they do however have some kind of driver solution which they then do some kind of post processing on, it would be really silly if they didn't offer this as part of the Vista platform. So I guess I'd just like to hear all the geek details on how they decided to implement it.

    Cheers,
    Drew
  • PetKnepPetKnep IE7 RTM'd yay!
    Good work Luke! Nice to see some Wolverines up on Channel 9.
  • Shark: For this version there's no interactive forms support planned (although they'll show up statically in the PDF).  Ppt can do multi slides per page, there's a "handout" print option on their dialog.

    izzy: There are actually a few rare spots in assembly, but otherwise yeah, it's always been C.  We've had a decent amount of debate over how to best leverage the benefits of C++ in the product with the recent decision to switch over.

    winston: My office mate and I stay well-hydrated... that's several months' worth of cups in one Yoda-capped monolithic sculpture.

    PetKnep: go Blue!

    Glad people are looking forward to this, I think we're going to be able to deliver something good.  As an added note, we're souping up the accessibility capabilities - we can do significantly more now with structure tagging than in November, when this video was taken.
  • William Staceystaceyw Before C# there was darkness...

    Go Blue Luke!  I should be PC and say Go Green as well.  From Brighton myself.  Robert, you seemed suprised there was any computer people in MI?  Go ask David Cutler where he went to school Smiley  So, I guess you can say NT came from MI.  JK

    Now that it is in C++, anyone flip the /CLR switch yet to see how ~fast it runs as managed code?

    Like the PDF export option.  That is handy in Sql RS as well.  Would be nice to be able to import from PDF, even if we did not get full formatting.  Hope it has got a "Sent To" in PDF as well for mail.  That would save an export step for mailing a document.  This may be there already, but would also be cool to have a Word/XPS control in Expression/WPF/VS so we could have something better then RichTextBox.  In Sql RS too so that we can have embedded docs (xps, doc, pdf) in reports.  Cheers!
    --
    William Stacey [MVP]

  • Did you change the codebase to use the "C++ way of doing things" versus doing the "C way of things" (OO and C++ features (Templates, operator overloading, etc.) instead of procedural code etc.) Or did you just make the minor changes you needed so it would compile in a C++ compiler and write new code in C++?

    I understand you can't rewrite everything in C++ but just wondering how big the change was.
  • DCMonkeyDCMonkey What?!?
    Will saving thumbnails in documents be enabled by default in Office 12 so that the Windows Vista document views can use them? And will there be a VBA api to enable them programatically for old documents?
  • About accessibility, I know that many people use the Save AS Text option in Adobe Reader to save the PDF as text in order to read it. Some PDFs save to text without losing any of their connents. However, some do not save at all because they are represented as a picture in the PDF or save only parts of the contents.
    Will an Office 12 Word Document converted to a PDF and then from Adobe Reader 7 saved as text retain its textual contents in full? If not then we have a serious accessibility issue.
    Also, nobody ever asked MS employees which development tools they use. You said that you use C and now C++ but which development environments do you use on a daily basis? Visual Stuiod? How is your build system? How do you check in and out code? How do team members collaborate? Do you have a special platform for that? Which editor do you use for writing code? Do you use some tools on a daily basis which we can use as well? What tools and code testing utilities do you recommend?
    I think we can learn a lot by seeing how MS employees write and manage a large software project, like Word, in practice and not only in theory.
  • Christian Liensbergerlittleguru <3 Seattle
    The current output is not so good. The PDF file size is really big and of poor poor quality. I hope they get it better in the final version!

    But it's a really cool feature! And I'm sure that the PDF output in the final version will be great!
  • sbcsbc GW R/Me
    Zeo wrote:
    Besides the new UI....I believe this to be the KILLER feature of O12. 

    I wouldn't say that as when you use that term it is more appropriate for products that do not have the largest share. It is part of OpenOffice, so is not really a 'killer' feature. A very useful feature though, that should have been part of Office a long time ago.
  • Robert, it would be nice if all of the channel 9 presenters had a separate monitor devoted to you to film (as the Sparkle team did).  But I imagine that would be a difficult task for some people who have multi-monitor setups. 
  • Luke, would it be possible to get a copy of a PDF created by Office. I'm active on the PDF/A committee and would love to give you some feedback on the quality of the PDF structure and possible ways to make it PDF/A compliant.

    Thanks,
    Dwight Kelly
  • tsilbSlackmasterK This Space ​Intentional​ly Left Blank
    Scoble said "sh!t"!!!
  • Scoble: "How did you get into computers in Michigan?"

    Steve Ballmer, from Michigan.
    Co-founder of Google, from Michigan.
    David Smith, from Michigan.

    Need I say more?

    Go Green! Go Blue!


    There's even a thumbnail of the MSU sweatshirt on Channel9!  =P Woot!
    ( http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=103183  Wink )
  • Luke, my email is dkelly.at.apago.com

    Great to hear that Office 12 will be support PDF/A out of the box.
  • stacey: Send To didn't make the cut this time.  No idea about the CLR build.

    IRenderable: like I said, pretty minimal changes... we use a couple templated classes, but operator overloading is not an accepted practice.  Other Office teams have more fully embraced C++ (e.g. Powerpoint and IGX) with common use of smart pointers, OO code, etc.

    nektar: you will retain your text content in the PDF.  We don't convert it to a big picture.  We use several IDEs, it's just personal preference - VS, SlickEdit, Codewright, and Source Insight are common.  Source control, testing, and bug tracking are all handled with internally developed tools.

    guru: filesize is something that's been looked at closely and improved since Beta 1.  As far as quality, I'm not sure what kind of documents you're publishing, but do make use of the Beta 1 reporting tools, we look at everyone's feedback.

    Dwight: if you give me your contact info, I'll pass it on to any interested parties.
  • Contrary to the video PDF Files aren't just fixed formats. XDP files for instance are XML PDF files. There's a good example here > http://partners.adobe.com/public/developer/xml/topic_samples1.html
  • Hi Luke,

    Just joined this community today. I was going through the translation features of Office 2007 when I came upon your video. That was great !!!
    I have a question. With the 'Save as PDF' functionality of Office 2007 can I programmatically convert any office document to PDF. My desired language is C#.
    Will I have to use the COM object model APIs for the translation.

    regards,
    Dibs
  • hi,

    Can I convert Excel and powerpoint files to pdf programmatically.
    I can able to conevert word to pdf.

    PIA for word has feature
    object format = Microsoft.Office.Interop.Word.WdSaveFormat.wdFormatPDF;

    But i don't find pdf in Excel and powerpoint enumerator.

    Atleast can you tell me the coressponding number.

    thanks in advance.

    karthik

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