Microsoft Word 2013 to introduce PDF editing

Microsoft Office is the most popular office software suite in the world, and therefore businesses have grown reliant upon it. While other alternatives exist nothing is quite so common as Microsoft Office running on an everyday computer. There are gripes with Microsoft Office from different people, for different things. Microsoft's decision to change the UI to the 'Ribbon' instead of the traditional menus back in 2007 still ignites some debate among people who feel it was a silly action, and among those who have grown to love it.

One thing everyone probably felt was missing was PDF editing. From Office 2007 onwards, you could save a document as a PDF from inside the software. Office 2010 included it natively, while you did need an add-on for 2007, but neither would let you edit your PDF afterwards. This is set to change in Office 2013: Paul Thurrott's WinSuperSite claims that Microsoft intend to add a PDF reader to Word 2013 as well, thereby skipping right over Adobe's own Reader and Acrobat software to display files. Neowin previously covered the report that an Office 2013 beta could be a week away.

Office 2013 in what is referred to as 'Reading Mode'

From what we can tell, Microsoft's new offering could completely change how people interact with PDFs. The file type is difficult to work with, and is normally used only for reading instead of editing due to the difficulties associated with it. A PDF tends to be the final draft, and can be read on eBook readers, such as Amazon's Kindle. If they could be edited as well, you could see some book layouts being changed to suit eInk displays more effectively in the future. The PDF file has been around since 1993, so it already has enjoyed impressive longevity. Microsoft might just make it more appealing as it ages.

Source: LiveSide.net and WinSuperSite

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Hmm.... has anyone else just realized that the default header/title font and style that Word's been using since 2007 doesn't really match the yelling ALL CAPS of the FILE TOOLS VIEW TABS UP AT THE TOP OF THE RIBBON?
ALSO I THINK IF I TYPE LIKE THIS IT IS MORE USER-FRIENDLY AND EVERYONE WILL SEE THE USABILITY INCREASE ON THE FORUMS.
Nope?
Edit- I meant to relate that all-caps sentence to the MS usability philosophy in their product designs.

Tangmeister said,
Hmm.... has anyone else just realized that the default header/title font and style that Word's been using since 2007 doesn't really match the yelling ALL CAPS of the FILE TOOLS VIEW TABS UP AT THE TOP OF THE RIBBON?
ALSO I THINK IF I TYPE LIKE THIS IT IS MORE USER-FRIENDLY AND EVERYONE WILL SEE THE USABILITY INCREASE ON THE FORUMS.
Nope?
Edit- I meant to relate that all-caps sentence to the MS usability philosophy in their product designs.

Really? The advancement of GUI concepts that have eliminated an antiquated concept called Menus, and you are stuck on whether the header text is capitalized. 30 years of GUI advancement, and you get stuck on the readability of uppercase fonts, wow...

OCD much?

Tangmeister said,
Hmm.... has anyone else just realized that the default header/title font and style that Word's been using since 2007 doesn't really match the yelling ALL CAPS of the FILE TOOLS VIEW TABS UP AT THE TOP OF THE RIBBON?
ALSO I THINK IF I TYPE LIKE THIS IT IS MORE USER-FRIENDLY AND EVERYONE WILL SEE THE USABILITY INCREASE ON THE FORUMS.
Nope?
Edit- I meant to relate that all-caps sentence to the MS usability philosophy in their product designs.

Note the location of those menu options. Also note how the Window Title is in Sentence Case. It's actually a clever way (along with the bolding) to signify that they are different to the title.

kiddingguy said,
There goes Adobe's business model.....

Ya, cause they only made money off Adobe Acrobat... The whole CS6 tools are just baggage, right?

Even Acrobat would benefit for the premium Adobe features and services, as business customers will be more apt to buy Acrobat as they need the extra features.

I had the feeling this would come once Adobe submitted PDF standard to the ISO standard's board a few years back. Before then, Office 2007 had the ability to save as pd built in, but do to adobe eyeing MS with potential lawsuit, they made it a optional add-on. After Adobe submitted pdf to ISO, Office 2010 has save in built in.

Very good to see it finally happened. I did think an open source project would of got it first however.

I'm for it. This is good for small edits (incorrect dates, misspelled names, etc.) when time is of the essence and it would take too long to go back to an outsourced designer for revisions (I'm thinking of small businesses).

Of course, if you're really concerned about average users editing your PDFs, I think you can protect them.

Anthonyd said,
We now this since months, at least other websites do.

I haven't heard this before. Do you have any links to previous stories? This appears to be the first a lot of us have heard of it.

Calum said,
I haven't heard this before. Do you have any links to previous stories? This appears to be the first a lot of us have heard of it.
Look at The Verge.

i for one am all for that idea.
i just wonder whether Adobe or the EU will complain.
remember when they made MS remove native PDF saving in Office 2007, forcing them to make it a downloadable "addon"?

ikyouCrow said,
i for one am all for that idea.
i just wonder whether Adobe or the EU will complain.
remember when they made MS remove native PDF saving in Office 2007, forcing them to make it a downloadable "addon"?
With PDF being an open standard, can they complain? There is always the option to install Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat for editing.

zeke009 said,
With PDF being an open standard, can they complain? There is always the option to install Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat for editing.

Yeah, I don't believe there's much they could do unless there is some legal way of protecting an open standard from use that would damage the format.

ikyouCrow said,
i for one am all for that idea.
i just wonder whether Adobe or the EU will complain.
remember when they made MS remove native PDF saving in Office 2007, forcing them to make it a downloadable "addon"?
You mean Adobe will be basically forced to reduce the price of some of it's software? Yo're right that's a terribly foul thing.

zeke009 said,
With PDF being an open standard, can they complain?

That is why PDF saving was bundled with Word 2007 SP2. Once PDF had been approved as a standard, Adobe could not threaten antitrust action anymore.

ikyouCrow said,
i for one am all for that idea.
i just wonder whether Adobe or the EU will complain.
remember when they made MS remove native PDF saving in Office 2007, forcing them to make it a downloadable "addon"?

Would be surprised if Adobe had any issue, and are probably even assisting Microsoft for this functionality. Adobe would want users to find they need their premium features and services for document signing, etc...

Like you said, PDFs aren't really meant to be worked with. You use the source file for that (.docx, .pages, .indd etc.)

.Neo said,
Like you said, PDFs aren't really meant to be worked with. You use the source file for that (.docx, .pages, .indd etc.)

But if an implementation existed that would allow them to be worked with easily, wouldn't that be better? I think so.

Calum said,

But if an implementation existed that would allow them to be worked with easily, wouldn't that be better? I think so.

I dunno isn't the purpose of PDF (Portable Document Format) meant to be so that it cannot be edited and only notations/redacts can be seen. I don't think this is what the spirit or purpose of the file format was meant for..

.Neo said,
Like you said, PDFs aren't really meant to be worked with. You use the source file for that (.docx, .pages, .indd etc.)

To my understanding PDF enables universal viewing and printing, but on top of that it can be worked with when the correct programs are available and the author has given permission.

For example for Adobe Illustrator you can work exclusively with PDFs that are also AI editable. (Basically an .ai and .pdf file combined as a .pdf).

Take for example a merge of .docx and .pdf - this would enable everyone to freely print word files, and those with Word to edit them.

As with Illustrator I assume you'd also be able to save as a PDF without leaving the file editable.

xendrome said,

I dunno isn't the purpose of PDF (Portable Document Format) meant to be so that it cannot be edited and only notations/redacts can be seen. I don't think this is what the spirit or purpose of the file format was meant for..


Agreed. The ability for just anyone to edit a PDF will essentially kill the file format. I'm all for PDF support, but this is a bad idea.

M_Lyons10 said,

Agreed. The ability for just anyone to edit a PDF will essentially kill the file format. I'm all for PDF support, but this is a bad idea.

This doesn't say anywhere anyone would be able to edit any PDF. You would have to save it as an editable PDF effectively I imagine. However this enables universal printing and reading to file formats that don't currently allow it.

The easier way to explain it is imagine being able to open a .docx with Adobe Reader, (the file extension is now .pdf instead). Effectively this is Microsoft's method of enabling this feature rather than getting Adobe to add .docx to Reader.

lt8480 said,

To my understanding PDF enables universal viewing and printing, but on top of that it can be worked with when the correct programs are available and the author has given permission.

For example for Adobe Illustrator you can work exclusively with PDFs that are also AI editable. (Basically an .ai and .pdf file combined as a .pdf).

Take for example a merge of .docx and .pdf - this would enable everyone to freely print word files, and those with Word to edit them.

As with Illustrator I assume you'd also be able to save as a PDF without leaving the file editable.

you can (for more than 10 years) read and print docx FREELY by downloading Word Viewer from Microsoft

Calum said,

But if an implementation existed that would allow them to be worked with easily, wouldn't that be better? I think so.

I can't imagine editing an elaborate PDF file from InDesign in Word 2013 will give much desired results. PDF is meant to distribute finalized documents with layout preserved regardless of the device you open it on. It's just not mean to be tampered with in this fashion You have the source file and corresponding app for that. I might proof to be useful for small corrections though.

.Neo said,
Like you said, PDFs aren't really meant to be worked with. You use the source file for that (.docx, .pages, .indd etc.)

PDF's have always been writable (by using Adobe Acrobat), you can however make PDF files that are signed, thereby confirming to you (the end user of the document) that de PDF document has been authored by the person/business/government you received it from. So, this changes nothing

XerXis said,

PDF's have always been writable (by using Adobe Acrobat), you can however make PDF files that are signed, thereby confirming to you (the end user of the document) that de PDF document has been authored by the person/business/government you received it from. So, this changes nothing

Also you can put security restrictions like no printing. Think they might have one for "no editing" with office suite. haha?

Morden said,

you can (for more than 10 years) read and print docx FREELY by downloading Word Viewer from Microsoft

I think the move here is that almost no-one has Word Viewer installed... whereas many PCs come with Adobe Reader pre-installed. There's no need for another reader, Adobe has it done. Wherever people are - at work, at school, at the library etc. they probably have Adobe Reader but they're unable to install Word Viewer.

They could pre-install a reader with Windows 8 but it would be years before it got the coverage that Adobe Reader has.

lt8480 said,

They could pre-install a reader with Windows 8 but it would be years before it got the coverage that Adobe Reader has.

WordPad can open .docx files. And for Windows 8, the pre-install the Reader metro PDF reader app, so both are covered.


Wherever people are - at work, at school, at the library etc. they probably have Adobe Reader but they're unable to install Word Viewer.

I'd guess most workplaces, schools, and libraries have MS Office installed, but obviously not all - very small businesses probably being the most likely exception.

lt8480 said,

For example for Adobe Illustrator you can work exclusively with PDFs that are also AI editable. (Basically an .ai and .pdf file combined as a .pdf).

But by combining those two files you basically aren't you basically tarnishing the PDF spec thereby making it irrelevant as an universal document?

xendrome said,

I dunno isn't the purpose of PDF (Portable Document Format) meant to be so that it cannot be edited and only notations/redacts can be seen. I don't think this is what the spirit or purpose of the file format was meant for..

Well, that's one of the main effects of the PDF format, especially for people attaching forms, like soccer team signup sheets, just as an example, when they'd prefer not to have edits.

But the main purpose by Adobe has always been to preserve layout and content display and stuff across all platforms and printers.

.Neo said,

I can't imagine editing an elaborate PDF file from InDesign in Word 2013 will give much desired results. PDF is meant to distribute finalized documents with layout preserved regardless of the device you open it on. It's just not mean to be tampered with in this fashion You have the source file and corresponding app for that. I might proof to be useful for small corrections though.

Ok, you are NOT understanding what PDF actually is.

If it was NOT meant to be edited, then Adobe would not sell software to 'edit' the format, which is how they make money off of Adobe Acrobat.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PDF

PDFs are a document variation of the Postscript language, focusing on the basic features.

PDF was designed for Documents, not graphical output, even though Apple helped shove it into the printing industry, which Adobe didn't even support due to its limitations that have created several variations of PDF that are a nightmare for preservation of artwork quality.

Using PDF for printing/press output is highly problematic because of the various versions and what usually happens is the PDF content is often rasterized to preserve quality. Which then it just becomes a container for high resolution TIFFs.

If you go back and loop up XPS/XAML from Microsoft, it was designed as the Vista/Win7/Win8 screen/printer language, replacing GDI+.

The reason partners like Xerox wanted XPS to replace PDF is because of the features and consistency. XPS has more functionality than PDF and even Postscript, which PDF doesn't even fully support all the Postscript technologies.

People in the printing/press industry wanted to move back to a output technology that was a true vector and 'description' technology, instead of what PDF has become a simplistic Font embedding document and using rasterized images for complex output.

There are newer revisions to PDF that expand the vector description technologies, but it still lacks when even working with output from Illustrator. In contrast XAML/XPS could handle everything created in an Illustrator document without the need for rasterization.


PDF got a big boost from Apple, as they used it in OS X, actually they are using a variation (again) of Display PDF that doesn't have all the features or functionality, as even though PDFs are limited, vector and description can be put in a PDF, especially the newer formats that OS X cannot display on the screen properly.

Apple tried to sell the world that Display Postscript, Display PDF, and Postscript were all the same and just worked together seamlessly. They don't. This sent a lot of graphic designers and printing/press companies down a really sad road.


When you think PDF, you should think of a Form or Document or Brochure, but not press/printing/artwork output.
(Especially if you are shipping a non-rasterized content in a PDF to a digital press, as your output can vary from marginal errors to horror stories.)

So PDFs are glorified forms and documents and brochures, and were designed to Edited, unless 'locked' and designed to use 'forms' and fonts and simplistic graphical elements.

This is why Editing them in Word is not any different than buying Adobe Acrobat, except Word will have limited functionality compared to Adobe Acrobat with regard to signing and other 'premium' services that Adobe offers.

Microsoft and Adobe have always worked well together, and with Windows 8, Adobe has handed over the Flash code to Microsoft. Adobe will appreciate Word's support, as it will boost user's using and depending on PDF functionality and then bigger customers will move up to need the premium features Adobe offers.