[pdftex] PDF Converter vs. PDF Distiller

John Culleton john at wexfordpress.com
Fri Aug 7 18:04:37 CEST 2009

On Thursday 06 August 2009 05:49:27 pm Donna Evans Isaacson wrote:
> Hi John,
> I stumbled on your page
> http://www.tug.org/pipermail/pdftex/2003-November/004537.html 
> and got your e-mail address from there.  I must say that I really
> did not understand some of what was discussed but it lead me to
> believe that you are experienced in this field.  Our company is
> looking for one program that can combine several PDF pages
> (documents) into one, add the "sign here" sticker and also
> convert pages from PDF to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.  I've
> seen advertisements for Converts and Distillers but not one
> program that does both.  Is there anything available?  And where
> would I look?
> Any assistance you can forward would be much appreciated,
> Donna
For those who care I am the "John" who wrote the 2003 post.  PDF is 
basically a final output format for printing. It was never intended 
to be used as an intermediate format for conversion.  It appears 
that your company is looking for something that doesn't really 

Formats like XML or ODT are intended for production of a document in 
several final formats.  A program suite like Open Office can take 
e.g, a .doc file  or a plain text file and output it several 
different ways.  

Minor modifications to pdf files can be made by e.g., Acrobat 
Distiller and of course  merging of pdfs can be done in a variety 
of programs including parts of the TeX suite. 

Consider this path: save a pdf document as plain text from Acrobat 
Reader, and then import or cut and paste that text into a program 
that will produce the final output format you are looking for. 

Plain text is the real Lingua Franca of the computing world.  For 
example a comma separated file of numbers can be imported into 

John Culleton
Create Book Covers with Scribus/e-book $5.95

More information about the pdftex mailing list