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PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?

GUEST,Bob Jones 14 Apr 10 - 06:44 AM
Midchuck 14 Apr 10 - 06:47 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 14 Apr 10 - 06:50 AM
treewind 14 Apr 10 - 06:54 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 14 Apr 10 - 06:55 AM
Will Fly 14 Apr 10 - 06:57 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 14 Apr 10 - 07:01 AM
Jack Campin 14 Apr 10 - 07:20 AM
Dave the Gnome 14 Apr 10 - 07:22 AM
GUEST,Richard Bridge on the dark side 14 Apr 10 - 09:07 AM
Tootler 14 Apr 10 - 09:08 AM
beardedbruce 14 Apr 10 - 09:37 AM
Penny S. 14 Apr 10 - 09:57 AM
buddhuu 14 Apr 10 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,PeterC 14 Apr 10 - 11:24 AM
Paul Reade 14 Apr 10 - 11:42 AM
beeliner 14 Apr 10 - 02:02 PM
Weasel 14 Apr 10 - 03:49 PM
Brian May 14 Apr 10 - 04:08 PM
Acme 14 Apr 10 - 04:18 PM
Acme 14 Apr 10 - 04:24 PM
Bill D 14 Apr 10 - 04:26 PM
MMario 14 Apr 10 - 04:37 PM
MMario 14 Apr 10 - 04:48 PM
mrmoe 14 Apr 10 - 05:05 PM
Bill D 14 Apr 10 - 06:28 PM
Nick E 14 Apr 10 - 07:38 PM
JohnInKansas 14 Apr 10 - 07:39 PM
Nick E 14 Apr 10 - 07:43 PM
Nick E 14 Apr 10 - 08:05 PM
ichMael 14 Apr 10 - 09:03 PM
Geoff the Duck 15 Apr 10 - 02:58 PM
Newport Boy 16 Apr 10 - 06:18 AM
MMario 16 Apr 10 - 12:14 PM
MMario 16 Apr 10 - 12:55 PM
GUEST,999 16 Apr 10 - 09:40 PM
GUEST,tony 30 Dec 10 - 07:51 AM
JohnInKansas 30 Dec 10 - 10:16 AM
GUEST,Charlotte 31 Dec 10 - 02:38 AM
DMcG 31 Dec 10 - 03:36 AM
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Subject: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: GUEST,Bob Jones
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 06:44 AM

I need to convert a PDF file to text urgently. Adobe won't let me save the document to text, it won't let me copy and paste, and the help facility doesn't seem to work.

Can anyone assist?


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Midchuck
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 06:47 AM

I, also, would like to be able to do this. But I think the whole PDF thing was expressly designed to prevent people from doing so.

I'm sure someone, somewhere, has hacked it. but I'm not sure they're on this list.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 06:50 AM

Try another PDF reader - I've never heard of not being able to copy & paste, and my Adobe ones always have worked fine for me. Do you have a Mac or a PC? There are free downloads of PDF readers for each of them, and the Apple machines come with "Preview" which I like better than Adobe anyway. There's also an excellent downloadable Apple programme called Skim. But you can get PC downloads too - there's a website called something like "Free PDF Reader" that has a bunch of them. Google around, but if I can find it quickly (working right now) I'll do a clickie.

Surely you should be able to do SOMEthing - lots of tech wizards on this forum who can give you superb advice.


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: treewind
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 06:54 AM

Adobe reader has a button for selecting text, if the document will allow it.
If you can't select, copy and paste, either it's been disabled when the PDF was created, or it's actually a graphic (maybe a scan).

Solution: Convert to graphics and use OCR software?

Anahata


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 06:55 AM

You might try Sumatra PDF viewer:

http://blog.kowalczyk.info/software/sumatrapdf/download.html

Probably a dumb question, but did you try copying through the keyboard commands Control C and Control V ?


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 06:57 AM

It all depends on how the creator of the PDF has saved it. There are various levels of of security that can be set, including a "no save/copy/paste" level. If you can't highlight the text and copy it to, say, a Word file, then it looks as though that security level has been set.

There may be some wizardry that can get round this but, alas, I know not what it might be...


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 07:01 AM

This link is also worth a try, though if the original doc has been encoded NOT to copy, then these may not work either. Can you scan it into a JPG or something?

http://www.pdfreaders.org/


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 07:20 AM

Sometimes it can't be done, if the PDF is just encapsulating image files - in that case there is no text to export.

Do you have the full paid-for version of Acrobat?


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 07:22 AM

If the worse comes to the worse do a screen capture and then try an OCR program on the resultant image. Plenty of free ones about and the text should be recognisable.

Cheers

DeG


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: GUEST,Richard Bridge on the dark side
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 09:07 AM

I sent links to a number of possibles.

Apparently the post fairy has eaten them.


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Tootler
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 09:08 AM

The Gimp, which is an image editor, is able to import PDF files and treats them as images. You can then export as an image format that your OCR can read.

The Gimp is open source and is available for free download for Windows as well as Linux. Just Google "Gimp".


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: beardedbruce
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 09:37 AM

They should attend religious classes, and have discussions with knowledgable elders of the Faith.


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Penny S.
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 09:57 AM

I have just edited a pdf file in Serif PagePlus - though I don't think it was exported with any degree of security.

Penny


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: buddhuu
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 10:28 AM

Photoshop will also open PDFs and allow conversion to other image formats for use with OCR.


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 11:24 AM

PagePlus will deconstruct a PDF file but can do funny things to the layout and sometimes images won't display properly.


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Paul Reade
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 11:42 AM

If you Google "PDF to Text", "PDF to Word" or "PDF to Excel" etc. a long list of products comes up. I was talking to someone who bought one, and he said it was quite expensive and ran very slowly on large files. If this is a "one-off" exercise, for some of them you could download a "free trial" copy.


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: beeliner
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 02:02 PM

Foxit Reader has never let me down, and it's free.


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Weasel
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 03:49 PM

I hate to suggest this, but you could copy it out.

Weasel, (who once, in a school was asked by a teacher what was the best way to draw a particular simple diagram on her computer so that she could project it onto a screen for the kids. She'd tried everything she could think of. I took a piece of chalk and drew it on the blackboard for her. Sometimes the simple solutions are easiest.)


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Brian May
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 04:08 PM

You could email me the file.

I'll decode it and send it back.

Reply here if you want to do that.

Brian


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Acme
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 04:18 PM

With PDF files you don't just cut and paste or you collect all sorts of information from the page that a text editor doesn't recognise.

You use the need to select the copy you want (use your left mouse button to do this) and then use the icons on the top of the PDF viewer page to "copy text" (or some similar verbiage) and from there you should be able to paste it into a text editing document.

SRS


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Acme
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 04:24 PM

Should have proofed my answer:

You use the need to select the copy you want (use your left mouse button to do this) and then use the icons on the top of the PDF viewer page to "copy text" (or some similar verbiage) and from there you should be able to paste it into a text editing document.


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 04:26 PM

Using the free PDF-Exchange viewer, I just opened a large PDF file, used what they call the 'highlight tool' (under 'tools'-> 'basic tools'), copied a highlighted section and pasted it into a regular text editor.

There was a warning in my text editor that there were some characters that couldn't be represented in the default character set, but it made no difference in the basic process.


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: MMario
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 04:37 PM

Many PDF files prevent copy and paste by PDF readers; but sometimes will allow it if it is opened in a full featured pdf creator.


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: MMario
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 04:48 PM

*phew* I just tested PDF-exchange viewer, and thank goodness, it doesn't work on my files.


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: mrmoe
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 05:05 PM

I always thought a pdf file was an image file.....if that's the case, than any decent ocr application should be able to convert the image of text to actual text.


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 06:28 PM

One 'can' take a screen shot of a PDF and then use OCR on it. That always involves some editing of errors, but as a last resort it can help.

Not sure what MMario's files are, but files of mostly text in PDF can be done as I said.


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Nick E
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 07:38 PM

Some text in PDS can be copy and pasted elswhere by most browsers, it depends on how the PDF was constructed. Sometimes it behaves like an image file and you can not select the type. Acrobat reader only lets you read the file, you may have a shot at extracting text that browsers cant disect if you have, or have acess to Acrobat Distiller.


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 07:39 PM

PDF = "Pretty Dangerous Format"

[quote]
Hypponen's blog post on the subject goes into detail; here are some of the highlights. PDFs can contain embedded videos, music, and 3D objects, with JavaScript for rendering. A form built into a PDF can send data to a remote server. The PDF format even includes an option to launch executable files. There's no way these features are necessary! As Hypponen says, "With specs like these, it's no wonder it takes ages for Adobe Reader to boot up and load all the plugins. It's no wonder there are regular security problems with PDF readers in general." To highlight the problem, researcher Didier Stevens recently created an alarming proof of concept PDF file that executes arbitrary code when you view it.
[end quote]

I'm afraid I must agree with this blogger's opinion that most of the "extra features" are unneeded and dangerous, but it's apparent that PDF has too much "momentum" to be stopped now.

Several people above have suggested that PDFs are just graphic pictures, while others have argued that you should always be able to copy text and paste it elsewhere. The answer lies somewhere in between.

A common form of PDF consists of a visible top layer that may be a "picture." A "hidden layer" underneath the visible one may or may not be present, but if it's there the under-layer often contains a text version of the document. If the PDF was made directly from a text program, using only "standard fonts" the top layer may, itself, be plain text.

When you choose the "text" select tool, you highlight what's on the top (visible) layer, but when the PDF is a multi-layer one, the under-layer is what gets copied1. If the PDF was made directly from a "textish" program file, you'll likely get a fairly clean copy of the text; but it will paste into your other program using "nearest equivalent" fonts resident on your computer. If the font you have is different than the one used originally to make the PDF, you may get lots of lost formatting and some things may be pretty badly scrambled.

If someone really wants to let you copy the text, the font they used can be embedded in the PDF file, but thus far I've never seen a PDF where that was done, with the exception of a very few "rare foreign language" (to me) documents intended for distribution for multi-national use.

If the second layer (with text) doesn't exist in a PDF, some converters will simply "print" the visible layer to a temporary file, run an OCR program on the file as it's converted back to a text program like Word. Results of any OCR translation are "spotty" at best, although the best programs do a pretty good job if the original is really "clean" — and you sometimes get fairly good results after you clean up format mangling and edit out un-recognized characters.

While it is possible to block printing of a PDF document, this is seldom done so far as I've seen. Often though the "print" button is hidden, usually along with other toolbar features. Sometimes you can toggle the toolbars back on, but the keys to do it may be different for different readers. Usually you can use the "Windows Universal" Ctl-P to print even the reluctant ones.

If you can't select and copy text but can print the PDF; and if you have a scanner with auto-OCR capabilities, just printing and scanning to a "searchable PDF" may re-create a text layer that you can copy from to paste into a text-based program. You can also use some image processing programs to extract a graphic that you can run through a stand-alone OCR program; but most such extractions treat each page as a separate graphic, so a long document is pretty tedious to process.

1 The "double layer" PDF construction was the source of an embarrassing "leak" by the US DOD recently. Several documents were "redacted" by blacking out text on the visible layer, but several people quickly found that "copying the text" (from the underlying text layer) and pasting it into a wp program eliminated the black marks.

John


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Nick E
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 07:43 PM

And not to start an issue but pretty sure mrmoe is not right about converting an image file to text. It's like saying you can copy a picture of a daisy and paste it in a word processor and it will say "Daisy"


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Nick E
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 08:05 PM

Thread creep I realize, but as I used to for a newspaper advertising art department for over two decades (laid off in November) I can tell you that the PDF format allows graphic designers to convert large files to a size that can be emailed. These files imbed multiple images and fonts that the recipient may not have formatted by a program they do not have and still have the recipient be able to have the file print exactly as the designer intended. To call it a "Pretty Dangerous Format" may be true but it is ignores what all the major designers know. For output, PDFs work across all platforms and eliminate so many headaches, I would call that "Pretty Darn Fabulous!"
Reader is one thing, Distiller is the real deal.

Perhaps the DOD should just flatten the image! ;)


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: ichMael
Date: 14 Apr 10 - 09:03 PM

Nevermind my advice...just looked and it's all covered. Select on the top toolbar. Good luck.


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 15 Apr 10 - 02:58 PM

Sometimes a PDF is "locked", by the document's creator, so you cannot edit it.
If it will output to a printer, tere may be a way to circumvebt the lock.
It is possible to install a PDF "virtual printer", which is designed to create a PDF file from word processed documents or artwork. You can print your PDF via this to create a new PDF file which is not locked.
The process is not foolproof. Sometimes the new file will read the original text and re-write it as text you can copy. On other documents, the new file will treat the original text as a graphic, so you will not end up with text to copy.
As has been previously suggested, unless the original document was extremely large, it would have been quicker to read the document and re-type the text into a word processor or text editor than wait for our suggestions.
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: Newport Boy
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 06:18 AM

I've only just seen this thread. I seem to be able to copy text from any PDF - at least, I haven't failed yet. Viewing a PDF file in KPDF (Linux), click on the Select tool, drag a rectangle around the text and choose between copying text or image.

I used to do something similar with Foxit in Windows.

@JohninKansas: If someone really wants to let you copy the text, the font they used can be embedded in the PDF file, but thus far I've never seen a PDF where that was done, with the exception of a very few "rare foreign language" (to me) documents intended for distribution for multi-national use.

I regularly send out certificates in PDF format, and embed the non-standard display fonts used - it's very useful.

Phil


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: MMario
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 12:14 PM

I have embedding the font set as default on my pdf converter.


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: MMario
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 12:55 PM

I guess part of the reason I have run across so many print blocked and copy blocked and save blocked pdf files is that I read a lot of knitting patterns; and knit designers make the music industry look like pikers when it comes to copyright issues.

( I kid you not, I have been censored for quoting ONE instruction line of a pattern that included over 700 instruction lines of text!)


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 16 Apr 10 - 09:40 PM

Pat Robertson might help with this one.


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: GUEST,tony
Date: 30 Dec 10 - 07:51 AM

Considered as the best PDF Converter for you, this 4Videosoft PDF Converter Ultimate is capable at converting PDF to Word, PDF to .txt and PDF to image successfully. You can easily enjoy or edit the converted files as you like after having finished the conversion program. The output formats - TXT, Word, RTF, JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, PCX, TGA, TIFF format are available, so you can choose any one you need.

For more: http://wannasoft.com/4Videosoft-PDF-Converter-Ultimate/


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 30 Dec 10 - 10:16 AM

GUEST,tony -

You don't say by whom the Videoesoft Converter is "considered the best PDF Converter for you." I suspect it's "by Videosoft," and must warn you that you can't necessarily believe everything an advertiser says about a product.

Since the query was relative to converting from PDF to text, it should be noted that the only text formats listed are TXT and WORD. All the others are graphic formats that will only get you "pictures" of the pages that are useless for creating text unless you have a very good OCR program as well.

Adobe has offered a PDF converter that you can use a few times for free. You email a PDF to them, and they email a text copy back to you. I haven't looked at whether that offer is still available, but I would expect that you should be able to find it at the Adobe website.

A "best" converter, should do something like the OmniPage/Nuance PDF Converter I use, that takes either a file in any format it can read, or output directly from a scanner, and allows you to save as PDF, XPS, Word Doc, Word Forms, Excel Spreadsheets, Word Perfect Docs, Power Point Presentations, or Simple TXT, all of which are "text" files, or as JPG, PNG, or TIFF graphic files. It should also be capable of producing a "fully searchable PDF" by running full OCR, indexing all the recognizable words, and embedding the "search index" in the PDF. It should also allow you to add, remove, sort (change page order), rotate individual pages, and split documents (any of its formats) into multiple separate files, or merge multiple files in mixed formats into a single document.

Unfortunately it cost me about $90 on an "upgrade offer" from the basic "PDF maker" that came with my latest monster printer. List is at least twice that, I believe, although Nuance offers frequent "special deals." For my requirements, it was a bargain; but others may be quite satisfied with something that does only the fewer things they specifically need; and there are numerous freeware/shareware programs available to do various of the useful PDF conversion functions.

Of course you can also do nearly all of it with the Adobe Distiller, but it was around $400 the last time I looked some time ago.

John


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: GUEST,Charlotte
Date: 31 Dec 10 - 02:38 AM

I partially agree with John. True,any pdf to word services online are free, but I can't believe in this way our privacy can be protected, so I would prefer a desktop converter. I think the one I'm using is good. It's called anybizsoft pdf to word converter. Free licenses are availble on their page on Facebook.
http://www.anypdftools.com/pdf-to-word.html#261


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Subject: RE: PDF Files. How Do I convert Them?
From: DMcG
Date: 31 Dec 10 - 03:36 AM

Sometimes a PDF is "locked", by the document's creator, so you cannot edit it.
If it will output to a printer, tere may be a way to circumvebt the lock.
It is possible to install a PDF "virtual printer", which is designed to create a PDF file from word processed documents or artwork. You can print your PDF via this to create a new PDF file which is not locked.


I had occasion to try this a few months ago, and it doesn't work (at least on Windows 7). My brother-in-law is doing a distance learning course and all material is sent in PDF books each of around 500 pages, but locked so that you can only print the document once. That meant that you had to print the whole kerfuffle in one go, and if there was a bad paper jam, or you ran out of ink, or somesuch, you had quite a problem to sort it out. The virtual printer seemed a good solution, but there seem to be attributes attached to the printer so that Abode can detect it it not a physical device and won't print protected documents to it. Unprotected documents are fine.


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