Using PDF Files
Bob Swanson offers his books in a number of
electronic formats. This web page describes how to
view the Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files published
by Bob Swanson.
Existing PDF File
By the time you get to this section, you should have one
or more ".pdf" files on your computer, phone, or tablet.
Generally, you received the file from a sales operation,
and/or downloaded it to your device.
The PDF format is a standard, and is pretty much world-wide
in use. It was originally created by the Adobe Corporation.
When viewed, a PDF document appears on your screen as close
as possible to its appearance on the printed page. Note that
Bob Swanson's books are stored in PDF format as 8 1/2 x 11 inch pages,
not A4 or any other European standard.
On most systems, double-clicking on the PDF file should
bring up a viewer for the document. On many computer systems,
the reader is
the Adobe Reader program.
There are several other readers available for computers,
phones, and tablets. One example is the
Foxit reader, provided by a commercial company for
free. (WARNING: When downloading a program like this be sure you
are connected to the vendor website, and not just any
"free downloads" website, as some so-called
"free" sites can try to
load dangerous software into your computer or phone.)
Using PDF Readers
PDF is a powerful document system. For many documents you read, you
might not see all the features the format offers. Bob Swanson has
created his books to take advanage of as many of the useful PDF features as possible.
One example of features provided by the PDF
"bookmarks" within a file. The "interactive"
PDF version of a book will offer
this feature. The "print" version is
designed to appear on paper, and will
use page number references only.
you view this PDF document in a reader program,
you will see the pre-set "bookmarks" along the left side of
the display screen.
They allow you to navigate to different
pages of the book. The bookmarks appear in a "tree"
style arrangement, and you may have to double click
on bookmark listings to see the items lower down in
the listing. If you don't see the bookmarks, try to enable
them with the "View" menu of your PDF program.
Searching Within a Document
When the content of a PDF file is text, such as
Bob Swanson's books,
you can search
the text of the PDF file, using the PDF reader program.
For instance, looking at a book, you can search for the
string "soldier", and you should see all the references
to that word within the text.
Many PDF readers offer a list of "thumbnails" along the
left of the display. These miniature images show each page
of the document. It may be easier for you to navigate around the
document, using these thumbnails, rather than using
the scroll mechanism of your computer.
PDF provides the ability to be interactive. That is, if
the author set up the PDF file correctly, there will be
clickable links within the document that not only
jump to a particular part of the document, but can also
jump to a web page in the internet.
Bob Swanson has provided numerous links within
the "interactive" PDF version of his books. The
"print" version contains page numbers only, since
it is designed to be printed on paper.
PDF reader programs allow you to "zoom in" on
the page. This feature is quite powerful, when used
with postal history illustrations, since zooming may
improve your view of a particular cover or card.
While zooming in may not improve the quality of
the scanned image, you may be able to discern
greater detail in the image, such as a postal marking,
censor marking, or the stamp(s) used.
Issues with Multiple Text Columns
It was noted above, that PDF provides a view of
the "printed page" on your computer screen.
Bob Swanson's books in PDF format are designed
as 2-column layouts (in order to read well on
the printed page).
Users of other electronic formats, such as the Amazon Kindle
(tm) see a continuous flow of the text in a document. When viewing
a multi-column PDF, however, you will have to stop reading
bottom of the current column, and reposition the
viewer to the top of the next column, in order
to continue reading. The top of the next column
might be on the next page.
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Updated 30 August, 2020
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