How To Sign PDF Documents With Google Docs & Offline

Sign PDF with Google Docs and PDF Editor Software

The business world is now a digital one. Professionals and users are looking to do and keep everything digital–even signing PDF documents. Users are turning to access a quick way to deal with e-signatures without having to print, sign, and re-scan contracts and forms.

There are a ton of services that can help you sign your documents, both online and offline.

In this tutorial, we show you how to sign your PDF documents offline using Able2Extract Professional PDF editor and online using Google Docs.

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PDF Usability And The Web: Is The Format Still “Unfit For Human Consumption”?

Portable document format

There has always been a well-documented love-hate relationship between users and the PDF format. You either love it when things go right or hate it when it doesn’t co-operate.

Yet for better or worse, the PDF document is in our daily lives. We convert and create PDFs, always emailing and reading them no matter how much we may complain about the format.

But think about what it was like before. Back in 2003, authoritative web usability guru, Jakob Nielsen, criticized the usability of the PDF on the web in his article PDF: Unfit for Human Consumption, in which he catalogs what he calls  the format’s “usability crimes.”

If you were an early PDF adopter in the late 90’s or early 2000’s, then you could probably relate very strongly to the article.  But would you still agree with it after more than 10 years? Probably not. You can’t deny the format’s improvement since then.

Despite the misgivings we have about the PDF, we can’t do without it. Because of large scale adoption, ISO standardization, and third party tools, the PDF format is a heck of a lot easier to work with. But it’s also due in large part, to the Internet itself and how it’s been shaping our user habits.

The State Of Our Online Behavior

Today we live in a highly technological world that co-exists hand in hand with the Internet. And whether we like it or not, our compulsion to stay connected online greatly influences our need to edit and work with documents on the web, including ones that weren’t meant to be edited.

We connect and communicate online.  Blogs, social media, and forums are endlessly engaged in discussion. Social networks are highly public, yet personal.  We need to access and do things online, to create an individual work space which we can control.

Connecting With The Internet
Photo Credit: Justin Marty via photopin cc

It’s no surprise then that because of this necessity, the digital documents we use daily are following this trend.  Our files have become part of the interactive and streamlined user experience.

Developers have been giving digital documents like the PDF a lot of integrated support.  Online app services like Google Drive, for instance, allow us to upload PDF documents for viewing, commenting, and sharing, all with a simple URL.  Desktop tools are also extending document sharing to real time collaboration over the web.

We can log in from anywhere and check in with our files on-screen.  Whether a professional on a tablet or a student enrolled in an online class, we can always connect with PDF contracts and research papers.  And on top of this, we can read and download PDF e-books from the web onto our mobile devices.

Using The Internet As A PDF Tool

Let’s not forget that Google has been able to index PDF files since 2001. Since then, the popularity of PDFs online has grown to such an extent that by 2013, 80% of non-html documents posted online were PDF files.

Admittedly, web browsers back in 2003 didn’t support PDF viewing very well.  However, browsers like Chrome and Firefox have begun including native PDF viewers. Add to that the ability to create a PDF for fast web viewing and your PDF documents are easier to go through than ever.

What’s interesting to note is that this online PDF viewing and sharing has gradually changed the role of the format itself.  Before, the PDF was considered only a final print format. But thanks to online services and advanced PDF creation and editing tools, it can be manipulated at any point in the workflow.

PDF In Document Workflows

Photo Credit: Saad Faruque via photopin cc

Consider how and when you’ve used online converters and web apps, or social networks and document search engines for a PDF. What did they do to help you with the file? Given the right utilities and extensions, we can interact with PDFs in our browser or annotate, highlight, and merge them instantly.

Truth is, it isn’t as hard to work with PDF files online as it used to be. In fact, presenting PDF content online is now perhaps the most basic thing you can do.

But what do you think? Is the PDF still hard for you to consume online–viewing, handling, or otherwise? It seems that with the way the Internet and the format are developing, there’s no better time to be a PDF user than now.

4 Great Ways To Make PDF eBook Navigation Easy

PDF eBook Reading

In this day and age of DIY e-publishing, the PDF is an invaluable format. If you’ve ever downloaded an eBook resource from a website or blog before, then you know how convenient it is to have all the information and content you need in one single PDF.  Yet sifting through all that content in lengthy PDFs can be a nuisance. 

PDF navigation may seem like a small issue, but believe it or not, there are PDF files that don’t come as well-structured as they should be.  Make it as easy as possible for your readers to navigate through your PDF eBook.

Here are a few quick tips to start you off.

1. Add Bookmarks 

Bookmarks are perfect for breaking up your PDF into manageable chunks. Your readers can get a visual overview before they even start scrolling through the PDF.  Most PDF creator applications will let you manually create bookmarks. In other cases, your PDF bookmarks will automatically be created if the formatting of your source document (such as MS Word) uses paragraph default styles, like “Heading 1,” to format your content.

PDF bookmarks for eBooks

For eBooks covering big topics that are broken down into smaller sections, create nested bookmarks. Nested bookmarks create a hierarchical parent/child list that can be easily expanded or collapsed, pointing your readers to even more specific locations in your eBook. Just remember to generate bookmark titles that are simple, consistent and descriptive.

2. Add Internal Links

Where possible and appropriate, insert links into your PDF eBook.  If done properly, a page link can be an extremely effective way of directing your readers to relevant sections. This is especially handy in eBooks that are dense with information. You can direct your readers to the necessary sections.

Whether it’s to a glossary, an illustration, or to related sections, a link in the right place can go a long way.  You can even use links within your Table of Contents and make it a one-click process to get to a section. Internal links are a great way to boost the organization and reading flow of your content.

3. Include A Table Of Contents

Depending on the amount and type of content in your eBook, a bookmark list might enough to guide readers along. But when in doubt, it’s always good publishing practice to include a Table of Contents where you’ll have more than 10 pages.

PDF Table of Contents Keep in mind that PDF files can be either viewed on screen or read in printed form. In cases where users wish to print up a 100 page eBook, they’ll need a Table of Contents page for off-screen reading.  Just don’t forget to include page numbers in the footers/headers of your PDF eBook!

4. Integrate Interactive Navigation

In addition to the default navigation controls of PDF readers, you can insert navigational controls such as page buttons directly into the PDF content itself.  Sounds hard, but with the right software you can create a navigable PDF button from linking a specified trigger area (button) with a target action to a page.

This is a perfect fit for eBooks containing multimedia and other dynamic content. However, just remember that what icons or controls may be intuitive to you, might not be to other users. Thus, if your navigational controls go beyond flipping from one page to the next, include a discreet legend.

In short, the easier it is to get through your PDF eBook, the better! What do you do to make your PDF eBooks easy to navigate?  If we missed a tip or two, share it in the comments!

How To View PDF Files In Mozilla Firefox

With over 80% of non-HTML documents on the web consisting of PDF documents, viewing PDFs in browsers has become a common user behavior among web surfers.  You can come across anything in the PDF format: manuals, quick start guides, white papers, ebooks—the list goes on.

So it’s not surprising that browsers are trying to fill that need with built-in PDF viewing features. We’ve already covered Chrome’s native PDF viewer when it first came out. And other browsers, like Mozilla Firefox, have since followed suit.

Thus, it’s high time we took a look at how you can use Firefox’s PDF viewing feature that was added in the latest version of Mozilla Firefox.

Getting Started

The convenience of these built-in PDF viewers like Firefox’s is that it allows users to open and view PDF files online without a plug-in. The viewer is on by default, so you don’t have to worry about enabling it.  All you have to do is click on the link of the PDF file. And just like that, you can view PDFs directly within the browser.

Viewing PDF In Firefox

Overall, the interface is sleek and simple, and the minimalist approach offers a clean PDF viewing experience.  Although Firefox PDF viewer worked well with the PDFs tested, it gave us a warning that “this PDF document might not be displayed correctly” and offers up a quick click solution to use a different viewer.

Firefox PDF viewer warning

Depending on the complexity of the PDF you’re trying to view, you might want to take advantage of this.  Otherwise, you can close this pop-up and continue to view your PDF.

PDF Viewing And Functionality

Once you have a PDF opened in Firefox, you can accomplish the most common tasks with the file from the toolbar.

Thumbnails:  Navigate through the PDF with the built-in viewer’s sidebar navigation.  You can toggle between a thumbnail or outline view

Page Up/Down: In addition to scrolling, you can manually go page by page through your PDF


Page Navigation: Jump to and from a specific page in the file

Zooming: For zooming in and out on your PDF content. Click on the drop down box and you can specify the page size and display

Firefox PDF Zooming Options

And like most PDF viewers, you get features to help you take that file offline or view it more easily:

Firefox PDF File Options

  • Full Screen Mode: View your PDF document in full screen mode
  • Printing: Print a copy of the PDF. From the Print dialog you can select the printer drive, the range of pages and the number of copies you want
  • Downloading: Download and save the PDF to your computer
  • Copy Current View:  Allows you to open the current view in another tab or window

Dealing With PDF Viewing Issues

Considering this feature is only a few months old, you may experience some bugs, slow rendering, or even blank PDF pages.  As such, you may want to use Firefox’s built-in PDF viewer sparingly or only on more simple PDF files.

You can also disable the viewer and resort to using your regular PDF plugins or PDF viewers to open PDF files. To do this, follow these steps:

1. In the Tools menu, select Options

2. In the Options dialog, go into the Applications tab

3. Search for and select Portable Document Format (PDF) in the Content Type list

4. In the Action list, click on the drop-down arrow. Here you can specify how you want Firefox to handle PDF files.

Adjusting Firefox Viewing Options

To try Firefox’s PDF viewer yourself, head over to the site to download the latest version.

How To Convert Your Facebook Data To PDF With Sonic PDF Creator 3.0

Facebook is the number one site where you probably spend most of your time online. Undoubtedly, the comments, messages, photos, and videos you post up end up accumulating into one big online scrapbook of your best and most memorable moments in life.  It isn’t any wonder then that you would want to preserve that content offline and onto your computer?

While the videos and photos you have posted up might already be on your computer, there are some related bits, like the notes, comments, Wall posts or Facebook messages, which aren’t.

In fact, one of our PDF Creator Facebook app users was wondering if there was a way in which she could download and get all of her Facebook messages into PDF format.

If you want to download your Facebook data into a PDF file, here’s a detailed and slightly altered step-by-step version of the solution we put together and which you can try out for yourself.

1. Log into your Facebook Account

2. Go to Account Settings

3. Under General settings, click on the “Download a copy” of your Facebook data link below your personal information settings.

Download Facebook Data

You’ll then get an overview of what information will be archived and which won’t. 

4.  Click on the Start My Archive button and confirm your download. This process may take a while depending on how much data you have. Facebook will send you a link to download your archive file via email.

 Facebook Data Notification

As Facebook notes, all the data contained on your Facebook profile will be downloaded into one single archive.  However, you will get the chance to choose which folder and data you can convert later on.

5. Check your email for the link and click on it to reconfirm your password. Download and save the zipped file to your computer.

Facebook Data Confirm Download

6.  Extract all files from the zipped folder into a folder or location you can easily access.  It contains the individual files of your data– photos, videos, and web-based content.

To access your messages, go to HTML> Messages file.

HTML file

Double click to open the Messages file in your browser to make sure all the content you want is there.

Facebook Data Massages HTML File

To convert this data into the PDF format, you can use Sonic PDF Creator 3.0 to convert  HTML to PDF.

7. Once installed or if you have the program already, open Sonic PDF Creator and click on the Create PDF From File icon on the command toolbar.

8. Click on the Browse button.  Select and upload your Messages HTML file.

9. Click the Create PDF button. This should start the conversion process.

Create PDF From File

Once your Facebook data conversion is done, you can then add whatever PDF features you want to the file. Add a password, headers, footers, watermarks or bookmarks. When you’ve added all you want, simply save your PDF file in a location of your choice.

This process can work for any of the HTML data files you have in your archive. It’s an easy way to keep or reuse your Facebook content in a secure manner while customizing the file to your needs. Give it a try.

If you have another way of saving and preserving your Facebook data, let us know in the comments below!