Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmx DOT com

Science in London: The 2016 scientific society talks in London blog post

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

I wish PDFs had a 'make single column' button...

...to save scrolling down one side of the page, scrolling up again and then scrolling back down the other side. Sometimes I do copy and paste the text into something else and sort that out myself but maybe Adobe could put this in one of their many, many, many updates.

Edit 14 March 2014 - potentially solved! If you have Adobe Reader X (which apparently I do, as it sort of worked) open your two column PDF, press Ctrl+4 [not the numeric keypad 4 but the one below the $ symbol] and wait patiently while the file is shoogled into a single column format. Amazing! 

The downside is that success is very dependent on the quality of the formatting of the PDF - and since most PDFs are presumably not intended to be read in this way results might be a bit hit and miss. The example PDF below renders like this, ie a bit Latin withallthewordshavingnospaces between them. I can read it OK but goodness knows why anyone ever wants to have double columns in a PDF in the first place.

 


Original post

Here's what I have (click to enlarge)...



...here's what I want

I made this myself in Paint on my PC but I can't keep doing that ;)

The paper shown is Blandford, A., Cauchi, A., Curzon, P., Eslambolchilar, P., Furniss, D., Gimblett, A., Huang, H., Lee, P., Li, Y., Masci, P., Oladimeji, P., Rajkomar, A., Rukšėnas, R., & Thimbleby, H. (2011). Comparing actual practice and user manuals: A case study based on programmable infusion pumps. Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Engineering Interactive Computing Systems for Medicine and Health Care (EICS4Med), 59–64.

1 comment:

  1. Despite the non-stream-based vagaries of the PDF format, this would actually be pretty easy to implement if the user can tell it how many columns there are.

    The PDF reader would then render each page twice, but set the rendering viewport to cover the left half or right half of the page alternately.

    For three-column text, it renders 3 times with left, middle, right. For four columns... well, you get the idea.

    FOSS developers - here's a chance to get ahead of Adobe.

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