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Custom PDF Generating

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Sam Andrews
Custom PDF Generating
on Feb 28, 2012 at 7:02:40 pm

Hi Good Looking People,
To be honest, I'm not entirely sure whether this is the right place for this question (it might be better suited for Acrobat or other PDF creator), so I quasi-apologize in advance.

I'm looking to design a five-page PDF. No problem there. The stickler comes from the fact that I'd like the PDF to be slightly different every time a new user downloads it. I'd like one of the images to be different based on information input into forms on a website. In other words, a user fills information into a web field, and that information is used to create an image which is included in the PDF, which the user can then download.

Of course, I'm not asking about all the backend developing stuff for the website itself, but rather the actual PDF part of it. Can I put some sort of placeholder in the InDesign doc which could then receive the image from the website, and then export it to a PDF? Or something similar in Acrobat? Or is this outside the scope of the Adobe suite?

Thank you very much in advance for your awesome help.


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Dwayne Smith
Re: Custom PDF Generating
on Mar 5, 2012 at 11:00:07 am

G'day

Sounds like an interesting little problem. CS by itself is not gong to get you there but you could automate a huge chunk of this with a script.

I know Applescript can handle the placing of the image and the generation of the PDF — no worries. You'd work it so that the script is triggered when the backend saves the image into a 'watched' folder. Applescript may even be able to handle the upload and notification — depending on which software you're using.

The big issue would be error handling. What happens if InDesign isn't running when the image comes down? What happens if InDesign crashes as it exports the PDF? etc.

I guess the other issue would be how long your user is prepared to wait for their download.

m.


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Sam Andrews
Re: Custom PDF Generating
on Mar 5, 2012 at 1:39:50 pm

Hi Dwayne,
Thanks for your help. Those are some great questions. It looks like there are some issues I haven't realized yet. It looks like I have a lot more work to do.

Thanks again for your help, Dwayne.


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