Web Publishing for Genealogy

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Adobe Acrobat (PDF)

There is one file format that will allow any file to be viewable on the Web as long as it comes from an application that can print. Adobe Acrobat is an application which can act as a "printer" and turn the output of many programs, such as word-processors, into a document in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF). With the Acrobat software installed on your computer, you can create a PDF file simply by selecting the Acrobat PDFwriter as your "printer" and printing to it just as if it were a physical printer.

Alternatively, there are a number of freeware and shareware utilities for creating PDF files.[1] Indeed, some genealogy software includes PDF facilities.

In order to be able to view a PDF file on the Web you need to download and install Adobe's Acrobat Reader, which is free of charge. While the Web in general shuns proprietary data formats, PDF is very widely used, and most visitors to your site will already have the Acrobat viewer installed.

The PDF format has the particular advantages of reproducing accurately a document intended for printing, and of being immune to alteration - you cannot make changes in an existing PDF document with the viewer.

The main use of PDF on the Web is for making long reports available in their original page layout in a format not tied to any particular word-processor (so you will find lots of PDF files on government web sites, for example).

However, a web site created entirely from PDF files would be very cumbersome, but you can get some idea of the merits of the format, as long as you have the Acrobat viewer installed, from a pedigree chart in PDF format, which I created from Generations..


[1] See TUCOWS PDF Tools.

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2. Web Publishing Software