case study: files created for 2 different platforms

Posted on 2002-04-14
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-06
if i create pictographs using adobe illustrator 9 on the mac,

then what is the best way to put them into microsoft word documents...

...so that these files can be viewed, edited, and printed  by PCs if they don't have adobe illustrator (but have microsoft word)?


1) the reason we are not using PDFs is because the editing capacity is not enough for our company when sent cross platform

2) the microsoft word files have body copy in them

3) microsoft documents easily translates between platforms in our company

for the answer, please tell us your best three alternatives and within those, choose best alternative as your recommendation and state why

(ie- that is why this is 300 points and not simply a question but a full case study) ref: harvard case study method
Question by:jefhatfield
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LVL 30

Expert Comment

ID: 6940734
Ok, first off youre probably going to have problems importing illustrator 9 files into word. Second off word wont be able to edit them, at all. Ironically when you use Illustrator 9 files you ARE using PDF files. Illustrator 9's native file format IS PDF. If you change an illustrator files extension to .pdf it will open in Acrobat, and if you change a .pdf files extension to .ai it will open in illustrator. Theryre the same format.

It sounds to me like your biggest roadblock is word which is not designed for laying out copy with images nor is it designed for high quality printing. You should invest in something like Quark or InDesign which will import your Word copy, your illustrator, photoshop, pdf etc images, and export to cross platform formats.

Depending on your needs you could design your stuff in illustrator, rename the file with a pdf file extension and distribute them as PDFs. Everyone, on both platforms, can get at least Acrobat Reader to view and print them. Those with Acrobat or illustrator will be able to edit them.

Author Comment

ID: 6940952
This all sounds true-I am the mac user tryng to send the
files to PC's- I have InDesign and Quark-how could I
combine native Word files with AI graphs into InDesign and
then email them to a PC?? Also it is the type we would
like to edit- probably not the graphs.So are you saying
a PC can read an IN Design/Quark file without having it on
their system??
LVL 30

Accepted Solution

weed earned 1200 total points
ID: 6941197
You can import the AI graphs natively into InDesign, as well as create links to text documents which will update when the text file is updated. However, if the PC users could actually view these InDesign files we wouldnt need this step anyway because they could just edit it right in InDesign.

So, stuck between a rock and a hard place. The reality is that anyone who is to be editing these files should be using an app that is designed to merge these different types of media and to print them the way they should be printed. That being said, here's an ugly workaround that is somewhat less ugly than using word for layout:

Do all your layout in InDesign using a linked text file for the copy. Send the users a copy of the text file for editing. When they return it to you, replace the old text file with it (make sure you use the same name so the link still work) and open InDesign. It will detect the changes and update the file with the new copy. You could also send the users a PDF copy of the file just so they see what it looks like with the AI graphs in place.

Again, the reality here is that unless they have the tools to do the job properly, they cant do the job properly. You cant pick ice without an ice pick. Even using Acrobat (not acrobat reader) would be a step up since they could edit the text from within the actual file.

Author Comment

ID: 6942327
thanks a million...again

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