Okay, first post. I’m Cyndy Wessling, and I’ve been at Microsoft for eight years and have been a program manager in Office for the past four years, with the last year or so spent working on the Save As PDF feature among other things. This topic has already gotten off to a great start on Brian Jones’ blog, and I’m looking forward to addressing some of the questions and comments I’ve seen posted there.

For me and many of the people on my team (all of the Office teams, actually), this has been a long-standing customer request that we’ve been wanting to satisfy, and we are excited to hear your thoughts about Save as PDF, so please let us know.

To expand a bit on Brian’s introductory PDF post, the addition of Save as PDF to Office “12” supports overall themes of content sharing and workflows and supporting complete customer scenarios around content. Office-generated PDF fits into these scenarios in a couple of ways: distribution and sharing, where customers can easily create PDF versions of their Office documents for distributing broadly, either online, via e-mail, or printed, and archiving, where customers can preserve their work for later retrieval and reuse. And, as Brian points out, this fits in well with the overall direction we’ve been heading with the Office file formats. It’s why we decided to move to Open XML formats as the default formats, and it’s what motivated us to build PDF support directly into the products.

In order to support these scenarios, our goals for PDF generated by Office “12” are that it: maintains fidelity to the original, is printable, is accessible, is navigable, and supports the PDF features important to the success of these scenarios.

Here is a quick overview of features in Office-generated PDF:

Native PDF creation—Saving as PDF is supported from within Microsoft Office “12” applications Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Visio, Publisher, InfoPath, and OneNote.

Quality/intent settings—Most applications include support for two “intent” settings: Standard, for publishing files online and printing, and Minimum Size, for online sharing. The intent settings control the level and type of image compression for various image types and font embedding and subsetting options. Publisher has additional intents for commercial printing, and I will devote at least one future post to discussing Publisher’s commercial printing capabilities.

Internal and External Hyperlinks—PDF documents preserve internal and external hyperlinks assigned to text and other objects in the original file.

Tagging and accessibility features—PDF for most applications includes basic document structure with tagged content elements. The tags support logical reading order, alternative text on images and on text that is represented as an image in the PDF output, and Unicode representation for nonstandard glyphs.

Document outline—AKA “bookmarks” used for document navigation in PDF viewers.

Document properties—Metadata properties associated with the file.

Future posts over the next few weeks will go into more detail in these areas, as well as some of the specific questions I’m seeing on Brian’s blog. Of course feel free to post comments with anything else you’d like to see here.

-Cyndy