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Author Topic: Two options for PDF creation that don't break the bank  (Read 2330 times)
Eclipse
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« on: August 14, 2016, 09:23:18 PM »

Between CAP, my business invoices, and my paperless records system for both, I live in .PDFs.
I'm at the tail end of fully digitizing unit records (mostly saving stuff now that are "nice to have" vs.
the personnel files that were doen a year ago - will this project ever end?)


CAP computers ship with Acrobat Pro, which is great, but it's $$$ if you're using your personal machine, or have a
CAP machine that for whatever reason doesn't have a .PDF editor, here's two good options.

FoxIT Phantom Standard
http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf-editor/
This has all the features of Acrobat, and non-profits can purchase it for ~$50.
The "Optimized Scanned PDF" feature is really handy, especially for some of the "creatively" scanned
docs members produce.  You can sign, edit, type in and do all the normal PDF functions.

DocHub
http://dochub.com/

If you're using Google Docs, this is invaluable. You can generate .PDFs out of Docs, then type into or
sign them directly in Docs without having to download them first.  I use this every week for editing attendance logs.
The most needed functions are free, including signing .pdfs with an image file. There are some quantity limitations
per month, but I rarely if ever hit them.

And of course, a reminder that a lot of expensive applications can be purchased at lower prices through CCB:
http://ccbtechnology.com/about/nonprofit-technology-program/





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kwe1009
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« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2016, 09:04:51 AM »

Nitro PDF is another good choice.  The free version even allows you to do things like add text, extract images, and even convert the entire document to plain text (it doesn't keep the original format).  It also has a signature feature so you can "sign" documents.  The pro version is a little over $100 and is very comparable with Acrobat Pro.
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JeffDG
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« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2016, 09:38:17 AM »

FoxIT Phantom Standard
http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf-editor/
This has all the features of Acrobat, and non-profits can purchase it for ~$50.
Acrobat XI Pro is $55 for non-profits
http://www.techsoup.org/products/adobe-acrobat-xi-pro-for-windows--G-40959--Tasks
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Spaceman3750
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« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2016, 09:49:26 AM »

When Adobe introduced PDF signing and filling to the free reader, my interest in a pro client went close to nil. The only thing I still struggle with is document merging or rearranging.

I think CutePDF does an editor but I haven't checked in a while.

Online PDF tools make me twitch, but that's the corporate info security guy in me, and isn't really grounded in CAP's needs.
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"Anyone can hold the helm when the seas are calm ... leadership is about weathering the storm."

The moment any commander or staff member considers themselves a gatekeeper, instead of a facilitator, they have failed at their job.
I can't fix all of CAP's problems, but I can lead from the bottom by building my squadron as a center of excellence to serve as an example of what every unit can be.
winterg
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« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2016, 09:50:59 AM »

I use smallpdf.com to merge and split PDF files whenever I need to.  It has worked great for me. 

Transmitted via my R5 astromech.

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foo
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« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2016, 10:33:46 AM »

PDFCreator is free and installs as a printer.

1. Scan your docs as image files (e.g., .jpg or .png)
2. In a Windows file explorer window, multi-select the images that make up a single document, then right-click and select Print. This brings up the Windows Print Pictures dialog.
3. Select PDFCreator as your printer and then print.

Now you have PDF that can have text added to it and be signed in the free Acrobat Reader if needed.

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Eclipse
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« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2016, 10:35:14 AM »

FoxIT Phantom Standard
http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf-editor/
This has all the features of Acrobat, and non-profits can purchase it for ~$50.
Acrobat XI Pro is $55 for non-profits
http://www.techsoup.org/products/adobe-acrobat-xi-pro-for-windows--G-40959--Tasks

That is not an Acrobat license, that is Techsoup's admin fee for an Adobe organizational donation.
The licenses (up to 4per FY) have to be donated to the organization, not an individual user per the terms listed
on that page and here: http://www.techsoup.org/restrictions#adobe.  The organizaiton then pays whatever the "donation" costs to Adobe direct.

Individuals can apply Acrobat DC, the admin fee is $5 and the monthly cost is $12.99. That's about $160 for year one.

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Eclipse
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« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2016, 10:42:01 AM »

PDFCreator is free and installs as a printer.

Actually, if all you need to do is render documents into .PDF, Windows 10 does that natively without any add-ons and
so does Chrome.

PDF merging of large documents, as mentioned by Spaceman, was probably the biggest need I had.

The online services like SmallPDF are real handy when using a Chromebook or a portable device.

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make, especially CAP members, is to send a Word document
upstream with a sig file embedded instead of rendering it into a .pdf.  That means anyone downstream
can easily change your document or snag your signature, and you can't guarantee the formatting when it's open.
(yes, people still use MS Works to view Word docs).

The same goes for "signed" .pdfs that aren't flattened as the final step - you can go in an pull out the sig very easily.
Always make sure to do that last step.
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foo
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« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2016, 10:45:28 AM »

PDFCreator is free and installs as a printer.

Actually, if all you need to do is render documents into .PDF, Windows 10 does that natively without any add-ons and
so does Chrome.

PDF merging of large documents, as mentioned by Spaceman, was probably the biggest need I had.

The online services like SmallPDF are real handy when using a Chromebook or a portable device.

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make, especially CAP members, is to send a Word document
upstream with a sig file embedded instead of rendering it into a .pdf.  That means anyone downstream
can easily change your document or snag your signature, and you can't guarantee the formatting when it's open.
(yes, people still use MS Works to view Word docs).

The same goes for "signed" .pdfs that aren't flattened as the final step - you can go in an pull out the sig very easily.
Always make sure to do that last step.

Merging multiple pages into a single PDF is what my solution is all about. And it's free.
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Spaceman3750
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« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2016, 10:46:06 AM »

The same goes for "signed" .pdfs that aren't flattened as the final step - you can go in an pull out the sig very easily.
Always make sure to do that last step.

Or I can just use a screen shot to carve it out in 2 seconds.

It still floors me that in 2016 we're still using applications that even require a signature, and anything requiring that kind of approval isn't going through eServices.
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"Anyone can hold the helm when the seas are calm ... leadership is about weathering the storm."

The moment any commander or staff member considers themselves a gatekeeper, instead of a facilitator, they have failed at their job.
I can't fix all of CAP's problems, but I can lead from the bottom by building my squadron as a center of excellence to serve as an example of what every unit can be.
Eclipse
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« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2016, 10:53:00 AM »

It still floors me that in 2016 we're still using applications that even require a signature, and anything requiring that kind of approval isn't going through eServices.

Actually, there's very little that really does - Promos and 120s are online now, which were the big thing.

Probably the major one still is Wing Banker, which could go away if CAP made better use of Sertifi.

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Spaceman3750
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« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2016, 10:55:13 AM »

It still floors me that in 2016 we're still using applications that even require a signature, and anything requiring that kind of approval isn't going through eServices.

Actually, there's very little that really does - Promos and 120s are online now, which were the big thing.

Probably the major one still is Wing Banker, which could go away if CAP made better use of Sertifi.

Encampment applications. Plus it would be nice to see a list of my cadets who have signed up for encampment (also integrating CEAP).
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"Anyone can hold the helm when the seas are calm ... leadership is about weathering the storm."

The moment any commander or staff member considers themselves a gatekeeper, instead of a facilitator, they have failed at their job.
I can't fix all of CAP's problems, but I can lead from the bottom by building my squadron as a center of excellence to serve as an example of what every unit can be.
Eclipse
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« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2016, 11:18:46 AM »

Encampment applications. Plus it would be nice to see a list of my cadets who have signed up for encampment (also integrating CEAP).

Yeah, I'd love to see those moved to the NCSA system or similar.  One of the few things I still sign "wet" as I want to see the whole
packet.

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stillamarine
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« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2016, 11:50:46 AM »

The same goes for "signed" .pdfs that aren't flattened as the final step - you can go in an pull out the sig very easily.
Always make sure to do that last step.

Or I can just use a screen shot to carve it out in 2 seconds.

It still floors me that in 2016 we're still using applications that even require a signature, and anything requiring that kind of approval isn't going through eServices.

What about senior applications with the fingerprint card? If there's away to do those I've missed it.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2016, 11:56:54 AM »

What about senior applications with the fingerprint card? If there's away to do those I've missed it.

Yeah, still has to be send via USPS, huge PITA.  Not sure how CAP would ever get around that unless it
could somehow get into the Livescan system.
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Майор Хаткевич
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« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2016, 12:02:02 PM »

What about senior applications with the fingerprint card? If there's away to do those I've missed it.

Yeah, still has to be send via USPS, huge PITA.  Not sure how CAP would ever get around that unless it
could somehow get into the Livescan system.


I've always wondered, especially now with high quality scanners...why can't we simply scan the finger print card? Isn't that what the FBI does in the end with them?
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JeffDG
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« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2016, 12:05:19 PM »

FoxIT Phantom Standard
http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf-editor/
This has all the features of Acrobat, and non-profits can purchase it for ~$50.
Acrobat XI Pro is $55 for non-profits
http://www.techsoup.org/products/adobe-acrobat-xi-pro-for-windows--G-40959--Tasks

That is not an Acrobat license, that is Techsoup's admin fee for an Adobe organizational donation.
The licenses (up to 4per FY) have to be donated to the organization, not an individual user per the terms listed
on that page and here: http://www.techsoup.org/restrictions#adobe.  The organizaiton then pays whatever the "donation" costs to Adobe direct.

Individuals can apply Acrobat DC, the admin fee is $5 and the monthly cost is $12.99. That's about $160 for year one.
Actually...it is an admin fee for a DONATION.  You pay the $55, and Adobe donates a license to you at no additional cost.

Adobe also permits you to run a second copy on a personal machine once you pay for a license for the primary.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2016, 12:05:59 PM »

.why can't we simply scan the finger print card? Isn't that what the FBI does in the end with them?

I think that is how NHQ gets them to the FBI, I could be wrong on that, but it was brought up in a recent conversation in that
regard.

The chain of possession would certainly be more direct and the time to reception greatly decreased.

With that said, have you seen the way some members scan stuff?   Everything from crooked blurry bizarre custom formats to
25Mb TTFs.  Not insurmountable, but part of the Great Plan.
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JeffDG
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« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2016, 12:06:13 PM »

Probably the major one still is Wing Banker, which could go away if CAP made better use of Sertifi.
If only someone had thought of that, and perhaps done a presentation this past weekend at the National Conference on how to do that.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #19 on: August 15, 2016, 12:18:37 PM »

Actually...it is an admin fee for a DONATION.  You pay the $55, and Adobe donates a license to you at no additional cost.

Adobe also permits you to run a second copy on a personal machine once you pay for a license for the primary.

They don't donate it to you, they donate it to the organizaiton.  There's a difference, and it's only 4 copies per fiscal year, so irrelevant regardless.

Further to this, it's likely CAP is ineligible for those 4 copies: https://helpx.adobe.com/enterprise/help/non-profit.html
They might be able to get in under the corporate mantel, but it'll require a few phone calls, ones NHQ has probably (hopefully?)already made.

I looked into TS first when I started looking for alternatives to Acrobat.  Adobe is notoriously tight-fisted and married to their exorbitant pricing.
NHQ is already (presumably) paying for an OEM licensed copy with every computer they buy.

If you can get a copy of Acrobat XI for $55 good on 'ye, I don't think it's going to happen.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #20 on: August 15, 2016, 12:19:41 PM »

Probably the major one still is Wing Banker, which could go away if CAP made better use of Sertifi.
If only someone had thought of that, and perhaps done a presentation this past weekend at the National Conference on how to do that.

Have they decided to pop for the additional licenses needed?
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JeffDG
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« Reply #21 on: August 15, 2016, 12:24:22 PM »

Probably the major one still is Wing Banker, which could go away if CAP made better use of Sertifi.
If only someone had thought of that, and perhaps done a presentation this past weekend at the National Conference on how to do that.

Have they decided to pop for the additional licenses needed?
Additional licenses not needed, just need to optimize the use of the ones they have.

Right now in my wing, we have all manner of forms that require signatures that we have taken entirely paperless via Sertifi signatures.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #22 on: August 15, 2016, 12:48:07 PM »

Right now in my wing, we have all manner of forms that require signatures that we have taken entirely paperless via Sertifi signatures.

What requires Seritfi that isn't financial in nature?  I mean, I guess it could be for anything from promo boards to
activity approval, right?  But doesn't that require the wing's license holder to always initiate those documents?
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Fubar
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« Reply #23 on: August 15, 2016, 06:25:21 PM »

Encampment applications. Plus it would be nice to see a list of my cadets who have signed up for encampment (also integrating CEAP).

Don't worry, NHQ is all over that:

Quote from: CAPP  52-24 1 June 2015
* An eServices-based system for
managing applications to attend
encampment will be available in
15. Until that time, encampments
are encouraged to use the hard
copy CAPF 31.

I'm sure it's coming any day now.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #24 on: August 15, 2016, 06:32:35 PM »

I'm sure it will be competed as soon as the mess of the curriculum has been fixed.
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EMT-83
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« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2016, 06:43:09 PM »

Actually...it is an admin fee for a DONATION.  You pay the $55, and Adobe donates a license to you at no additional cost.

Adobe also permits you to run a second copy on a personal machine once you pay for a license for the primary.

They don't donate it to you, they donate it to the organizaiton.  There's a difference, and it's only 4 copies per fiscal year, so irrelevant regardless.

Further to this, it's likely CAP is ineligible for those 4 copies: https://helpx.adobe.com/enterprise/help/non-profit.html
They might be able to get in under the corporate mantel, but it'll require a few phone calls, ones NHQ has probably (hopefully?)already made.

I looked into TS first when I started looking for alternatives to Acrobat.  Adobe is notoriously tight-fisted and married to their exorbitant pricing.
NHQ is already (presumably) paying for an OEM licensed copy with every computer they buy.

If you can get a copy of Acrobat XI for $55 good on 'ye, I don't think it's going to happen.

You are quite mistaken. I have TechSoup accounts for a squadron and another non-profit I'm associated with. Both have multiple Acrobat licenses, which were $45 at the time.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #26 on: August 15, 2016, 07:18:16 PM »

You are quite mistaken. I have TechSoup accounts for a squadron and another non-profit I'm associated with. Both have multiple Acrobat licenses, which were $45 at the time.

I don't have any way to dispute that one way or another other then to quote what is on their site. 
Depending on how long ago that was may be the difference.  Acrobat's site is indicating XI is only available
as a subscription, which would bring this back to the admin fee + the monthly charge.

However the CAP notebook on my desk is running a standalone version of XI Pro that was presumably
an OEM license from Dell with the machine.

If it works for you, or anyone else, great.
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Mordecai
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« Reply #27 on: August 15, 2016, 07:45:22 PM »

PDFsam is a wonderful tool for splitting and merging PDFs on a grand scale.

http://www.pdfsam.org/
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SarDragon
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« Reply #28 on: August 15, 2016, 07:48:25 PM »

It still floors me that in 2016 we're still using applications that even require a signature, and anything requiring that kind of approval isn't going through eServices.

Actually, there's very little that really does - Promos and 120s are online now, which were the big thing.

Probably the major one still is Wing Banker, which could go away if CAP made better use of Sertifi.

Not all promos are done online. Duty performance is the only category done that way. Everything else - special appointments, mission related skills, professional appointments, and NCO and FO - is still done on a paper F2.
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JeffDG
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« Reply #29 on: August 15, 2016, 08:01:16 PM »

Right now in my wing, we have all manner of forms that require signatures that we have taken entirely paperless via Sertifi signatures.

What requires Seritfi that isn't financial in nature?  I mean, I guess it could be for anything from promo boards to
activity approval, right?  But doesn't that require the wing's license holder to always initiate those documents?
Each wing has two licenses.  One for the wing admin to do financial stuff, one can be assigned to automated processes.  The code initiates the process not a person.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2016, 08:10:38 PM by JeffDG » Logged
Eclipse
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« Reply #30 on: August 15, 2016, 08:24:35 PM »

Not all promos are done online. Duty performance is the only category done that way. Everything else - special appointments, mission related skills, professional appointments, and NCO and FO - is still done on a paper F2.

Why >is< that?  The drop-downs are there, should be a no biggie.
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SarDragon
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« Reply #31 on: August 15, 2016, 09:20:46 PM »

Really? Guess I need a closer look.

Sent from my phone.

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Dave Bowles
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Eclipse
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« Reply #32 on: August 15, 2016, 09:21:47 PM »

Really? Guess I need a closer look.

They are there, but apparently no one below NHQ can use them.
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SarDragon
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« Reply #33 on: August 16, 2016, 03:51:10 AM »

I see drop-down arrows, but they are all greyed out, so there's no telling what else is there. So, if it's not a Duty Performance promotion, it goes on a real Form 2.
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Dave Bowles
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Jaison009
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« Reply #34 on: August 17, 2016, 01:21:56 AM »

I use CamScan on my phone to take a picture of whatever I want/need and then email it to myself as a pdf. Free way to create PDFs.

Between CAP, my business invoices, and my paperless records system for both, I live in .PDFs.
I'm at the tail end of fully digitizing unit records (mostly saving stuff now that are "nice to have" vs.
the personnel files that were doen a year ago - will this project ever end?)


CAP computers ship with Acrobat Pro, which is great, but it's $$$ if you're using your personal machine, or have a
CAP machine that for whatever reason doesn't have a .PDF editor, here's two good options.

FoxIT Phantom Standard
http://www.foxitsoftware.com/pdf-editor/
This has all the features of Acrobat, and non-profits can purchase it for ~$50.
The "Optimized Scanned PDF" feature is really handy, especially for some of the "creatively" scanned
docs members produce.  You can sign, edit, type in and do all the normal PDF functions.

DocHub
http://dochub.com/

If you're using Google Docs, this is invaluable. You can generate .PDFs out of Docs, then type into or
sign them directly in Docs without having to download them first.  I use this every week for editing attendance logs.
The most needed functions are free, including signing .pdfs with an image file. There are some quantity limitations
per month, but I rarely if ever hit them.

And of course, a reminder that a lot of expensive applications can be purchased at lower prices through CCB:
http://ccbtechnology.com/about/nonprofit-technology-program/
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Live2Learn
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« Reply #35 on: August 17, 2016, 10:35:03 AM »


One of the biggest mistakes I see people make, especially CAP members, is to send a Word document
upstream with a sig file embedded instead of rendering it into a .pdf.  That means anyone downstream
can easily change your document or snag your signature, and you can't guarantee the formatting when it's open.
(yes, people still use MS Works to view Word docs).

The same goes for "signed" .pdfs that aren't flattened as the final step - you can go in an pull out the sig very easily.
Always make sure to do that last step.

FWIW, neither step suggested above is theft or tinker proof.  Screen captures, copy and paste, etc. still work quite well with just an added step or two if someone (ANYONE) wants to commit fraud.  The digital world is much less secure than the bad 'ol days of paper and manila folders.  That old saw that says "locks only mark boundaries" could be reimagined to read  ".PDF formats only mark boundaries".  It would be just as true.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #36 on: August 17, 2016, 11:34:59 AM »

FWIW, neither step suggested above is theft or tinker proof.  Screen captures, copy and paste, etc. still work quite well with just an added step or two if someone (ANYONE) wants to commit fraud.  The digital world is much less secure than the bad 'ol days of paper and manila folders.  That old saw that says "locks only mark boundaries" could be reimagined to read  ".PDF formats only mark boundaries".  It would be just as true.

I don't disagree, but like locks they discourage the casual and less technical.

As to being less secure then paper, maybe, maybe not.  Properly managed , the cloud doesn't burn, take up space, or act as a burden.
Whether it's more or less secure depends on the vector and specifics of "security".

It's a lot better then a pile of folders or a room full of documents accessible to no one and searchable by flipping.

The biggest challenge for CAP, just as for everyone else, is the transition from "documents" to digital, include
the change of paradigm from the publication formats.

PDF images of forms are just skeuomorphic representations of an outdated concept. The universe is moving to "other",
which holds the data, but has no need for the 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of pretend paper the olde school arranges data on.

That will be a slow, decades if not centuries-long slog, as if nothing else , lawyers like their paper.

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Майор Хаткевич
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« Reply #37 on: August 17, 2016, 12:47:39 PM »

Lawyers also don't like 8.5x11
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Lord of the North
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« Reply #38 on: August 17, 2016, 03:31:16 PM »

Another free PDF creator is found at http://www.cutepdf.com/  Anything you can print can be made into a PDF
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SarDragon
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« Reply #39 on: August 17, 2016, 04:41:34 PM »

Another free PDF creator is found at http://www.cutepdf.com/  Anything you can print can be made into a PDF

The problem with CutePDF, which I use a lot, is that the free version doesn't do scans, which is a big part of the solution in the other thread on the paper burden.
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Dave Bowles
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Eclipse
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« Reply #40 on: August 17, 2016, 04:49:51 PM »

I used it a bunch in the past as well, especially with XP.  Now that Windows and Chrome have native
PDF rendering, don't need it.

Also, for those of you using Gdocs, there's a mobile widget that will scan files directly into Gdocs, which you can
then move to other folders, sign, merge, or whatever you can do within your Google Space.

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EMT-83
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« Reply #41 on: August 17, 2016, 10:29:15 PM »

You are quite mistaken. I have TechSoup accounts for a squadron and another non-profit I'm associated with. Both have multiple Acrobat licenses, which were $45 at the time.

I don't have any way to dispute that one way or another other then to quote what is on their site. 
Depending on how long ago that was may be the difference.  Acrobat's site is indicating XI is only available
as a subscription, which would bring this back to the admin fee + the monthly charge.

However the CAP notebook on my desk is running a standalone version of XI Pro that was presumably
an OEM license from Dell with the machine.

If it works for you, or anyone else, great.

I finally got around to checking the TechSoup website. Again, you are mistaken. The only Adobe products offered on a subscription basis are cloud-based products. Acrobat XI Pro is available for a one time fee of $55. Microsoft Office is available for $29.

At these prices, I simply don't understand why people are screwing around with freeware and Open Office.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #42 on: August 17, 2016, 10:44:21 PM »

I tried to register, and there are already three orgs under the CAP EIN, ALWG, NESA, and NHQ, without the
association code, I can't go any further.

I've sent an email to the CAP program officer to get the skinny.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #43 on: August 18, 2016, 04:18:38 PM »



Individual units can sign up for accounts, my wing has at least 8, including duplication (Капитан Хаткевич, your unit has two).
I'm waiting for qualification after the association.  The issue was that I entered a zip code when I did the search,
just enter your state, and if you don't see an account for your squadron, you can register a new one, which
then takes up to 10 days to be qualified.

Now that I'm back in there, I recall doing this before, some things were of significant value, others had costs
associated with "free", depends on what you're asking for.   I recall not needing much the last go round,
don't see anything this time, either, however it's a "nice-to-have" regardless.

The majority are "donations" from the various OEMs, what you pay is the admin fee to TS for the connection to the
donation.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #44 on: September 02, 2016, 02:17:26 PM »

I received my qualification notice today - I don't actually have anything I / we need, but it's another too in the tool box.
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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Tools of the trade  |  Topic: Two options for PDF creation that don't break the bank
 


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