How to use your Mac to turn a PDF into a online digital flip book publication

Thursday 22nd May 2014

Today I want to focus on the A to Z on how to install and publish your digital documents online with realistic page turning animations using a Mac computer. For this demo I have selected a product catalogue to demonstrate a few of the customisation possibilities FlexPaper offers. 

I have used FlexPaper Desktop publisher to do all the customisations in this publication. Click on the screenshot below if you want to jump straight to the live demo.

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1. Getting started:
Once you have opened the desktop publisher, use the open PDF button to browse through your files. Select the PDF you want to publish and click the open button.

If you already have a PDF that you previously worked on that you want to edit, open the original then press the “import settings from previous publication” and browse through to the folder where you have previously published your document. Select the folder and click open and the desktop publisher will import any previous settings. 

2. Technical features:

Decide what technical features the PDF need. The left hand section in the publisher is where the unseen user experience gets decided and other behind the scenes goodies like Google analytics tracking.

Because the features I have added to this demo are on page 8-9, I have selected this to be my start page. 

I have also chosen to select HTML5 as primary format with a fall back to flash if the device my PDF is displayed on doesn’t support HTML5. 

To learn more about browser coverage for HTML5 and flash, click here: http://flowpaper.com/html-flash-or-html5.jsp

3. End user and visual features:

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On the right hand side in the publisher you enhance the visual and end user elements. I added a product video to emphasise features for one of the products. I have also added a special prize image on top of one of the products with a link that takes the reader to the website product page. I added another link to the same page on the website on top of the product heading. 

To emphasise my brand even more I have created a background image that ties in with both the brand and the product catalogue. 

4. Preview and Save:

Now that I am happy with my document I click the Publish and View button. Once you click the publish button, the document is converted and a folder is created in the FlexPaper folder in your documents folder on the Mac. The folder created will have the same name as your original PDF.

Upload to the web:

So, now it is time upload your document onto your website or blog. You will need to upload all the content in the folder that FlexPaper has created to your server. There are various ways to upload content to a web site. You can find a range of options on how to upload your publication in the publishing dialog.

To finish this tutorial off I would like to have a quick recap. In here I have demonstrated how to customise technical and visual elements to the product catalogue PDF. I have added an image background that ties in with both brand and product catalogue. I finished the tutorial off with an explanation the final steps to publish your online publication.

The last tip I want to add in this post is that if you have access to the original PDF, you can add pages and publish an updated version of your product catalogue, add videos or prices specials, as you need them. No need to wait for the next print run to display your products.

Here is a link to more example documents to give you more inspiration on what you can do with your digital publication:
http://flowpaper.com/demo/ 

Good luck,

Camilla

FlexPaper Team

Copy & paste – a must in any serious digital publications viewer

Thursday 8th May 2014

If you like me like to copy and paste text from one website or digital publication (mostly a PDF) into a chat window or another document, then you also know the annoyance you feel when you can’t select anything from the document or website. Inside you groan a little over the fact that you have to retype it all.

In truth, this fortunately doesn’t happen to often, but if you frequently visit the same website and want to use their content, your user experience get affected by this annoying itchy little problem. It is one of the basics that just has to work.

The feeling is the same for your customers if your digital publications won’t allow the user to select and copy text and of course you don’t want that. No matter the technology you choose to operate FlexPaper viewers in (HTML, HTML5 or Flash), they all support the full range of copy and paste commands. It might seem small, but this function is one of those that people never think about until it doesn’t work and they are left annoyed over such a basic function failure.

Here are some examples in FlexPaper viewers for you to check out and test the different technology modes:

http://flowpaper.com/demo/

If you have material you don’t want people to select and copy, FlexPaper viewers come with the ability to make this feature inactive.

Camilla

of the FlexPaper Team

Online and offline digital publishing options with FlexPaper viewers

Thursday 1st May 2014

Today I would like to highlight three publishing options FlexPaper offers to comply with different needs of our customers.

If you follow our blog, you probably already know how to publish using our Desktop Publisher (but you might have missed option two within it).

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Using our desktop publisher is the easiest way to publish your digital PDF magazines or other documents. Good news is that in more recent versions of our desktop publisher you also have the option to publish your digital documents offline onto CD, DVD or USB.

The different options is available in the publishing destination window that appears once you click the publish and view button.

The last option for publishing your digital online PDF document is by downloading one of our web server packages to use on your server. This option suits a more technical person but have the advantage of enabling the user to solely publish on his or her own server. We provide easy to use sample scripts how this can be done in ASP.NET, Java and PHP.

Camilla

FlexPaper team

FlexPaper 2.2.5 Release Notes

Tuesday 29th April 2014

We have started rolling out version 2.2.5 today. This version mainly contains minor bug fixes and a couple of enhancements for our desktop publisher.

How to update:
This release does not require you to republish any of your documents so if you want to install the update without republishing your documents then simply copy and replace the following resources from the distribution file that you are using:

  • FlexPaperViewer.swf
  • js/ (directory)
  • css/ (directory)

Changes in this release:

  • A number of minor bug fixes. See changelog.txt included in each release for full details. 

  • Improved fallback on when failing to draw images with mudraw in desktop publisher
  • It is now possible to configure the alpha level of links (from 0 to 100%) in desktop publisher
  • Additional optimizations for disposing the viewer in all modes
  • Improved retina icon set added for the flat UI design in mobile
  • Additional checks added to avoid very complex documents from timing out when being opened inside desktop publisher

How to promote your online publications on your website using FlexPaper Zine

Wednesday 23rd April 2014

If you are using FlexPaper Desktop Publisher together with FlexPaper Zine viewer to generate your online publications then here is handy tip for you to create great previews of your publications. (This is a really good way to promote your publications on landing pages without claiming the whole page.) 

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When you are working with your PDF document in the desktop publisher you will find the publication preview option under the publication settings menu on your right hand side. It gives you 3 options to choose from.

  1. None (default) – your publication will be displayed in full size.
  2. Interactive miniature – this generates a complete interactive miniature thumbnail version of your finalized publication. One click will open the publication in real size.
  3. Front page – a thumbnail preview of the front page of your publication. One click will open the publication in real size. 

The interactive miniature preview is great for when you want to promote your publication on your home page. Both preview thumbnail options are suitable for any directory containing your published documents. It will help you visualize your content.

If you have selected a start page for your publication, the miniature thumbnail will mimic your selection.  

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You can publish and preview your work at any stage. Just hit the publish button in the top right corner and select the preview mode you want once the publication is generated.

When you are happy with your publication and you are ready to publish a HTML code snippet will be generated for you to copy and paste into your website admin tool. If you are more technical savvy, you have the possibility resize your preview. 

Regards,

 The Flexpaper Team 

Yes – our online PDF document viewers include full touch gesture support

Wednesday 9th April 2014

A worry for publishers today is how well their publications will display and act on different devices, especially on touch-enabled ones such as tablets. Many online documents viewers don’t support most of the “must have” such as pinch and zoom function for an example.

The FlexPaper Zine viewer, the classic viewer and our annotations plug-in all comes with full support for touch and gesture based interactions. Let your end user swipe through the publication, activate a video or make a comment while using the annotation feature directly in the tablet. 

Last but not least, the viewer adapts and change layout when you turn the tablet from landscape to portrait, just as it should.

Happy reading!

How to make changes to your published online PDF document

Tuesday 1st April 2014

Today we want to highlight an added feature in our latest version of Flexpaper Desktop Publisher that we started rolling out earlier this week. We have been getting queries from our customers to be able to import previous settings to an already published PDF. 

It is now available (in version 2.2.4) and this means that you can go back and edit or update a publication whenever you want without having to redo all the work.

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To do this, start with opening the original PDF in Desktop Publisher (1). Once this is opened, click the “Import settings from previous publication” button located to the upper right hand side in the publisher (2).

A new browser window opens and here you will have to select the previously generated directory from your published PDF (3). If you haven’t changed the default settings, you will find this file in the FlexPaper folder located in your documents directory. Click the corresponding filename and then hit the select button. All your previous settings are now being imported into the publisher and you can edit or add after desire.

Don’t hesitate to email us your thoughts and ideas as we are constantly working to improve our products. 

Regards,

The FlexPaper Team

FlexPaper 2.2.4 Release Notes

Thursday 27th March 2014

We have started rolling out version 2.2.4 today. Our Zine viewer is the first viewer to be updated. The main enhancement this month is the ability to create notes with associations in our annotations viewer as well as the ability to reuse publication settings from a previous publication in desktop publisher.

How to update:
This release does not require you to republish any of your documents so if you want to install the update without republishing your documents then simply copy and replace the following resources from the distribution file that you are using:

  • FlexPaperViewer.swf
  • js/     (directory)
  • css/    (directory)

Changes in this release:

  • Compatibility changes to the Flexpaper html5 & html4 viewers to make them fully compatible with Twitter’s bootstrap framework.

  • Improved pinch/zoom support for Android devices in Classic viewer
  • Issue fixed where IE 10+ would fail to use worker threads in some scenarios causing the viewer not to render properly
  • Extra checks added to the Zine flash & HTML5 viewer to avoid texts from appearing in search abstracts that were not part of the visible area of a publication
  • Korean and Japanese language translations added
  • onDocumentLoaded event correction for Flash Zine viewer
  • Additional security checks for search engine indexing scripts added
  • Fixed an issue related to signing and password protecting documents when in flash mode
  • Improved PHP version compatibility with our password & signing scripts for desktop publisher
  • Social sharing now disabled by default. Can be enabled through the desktop publisher style menu
  • Issue fixed where links were not repositioned properly when going into full screen in Zine when using HTML5 and HTML4 for some scenarios
  • Issue fixed where onCurrentPageChanged was not fired properly in FlexPaper classic on touch devices when wiping left and right
  • Regression issue fixed where IE9 would use an incorrect canvas library version in the annotations viewer
  • Issue fixed in our classic viewer where the full screen mode would not resize the viewer properly if percent had been used in the style attribute of the viewer container
  • Issue fixed where removing annotations would not work in some scenarios through the API if only id is supplied
  • Further optmizations on how events are unbound when disposing the viewer
  • Height adjustments to our UI customizable annotations viewer to better fit with actual specification
  • Improved consistencies between flash and html5 for annotations when using Sticky Tools
  • Improved positioning of controls in the customizable annotations viewer
  • Print dialog in HTML5 viewer now defaulting to English if the locale isn’t found
  • Size corrections for swipe detections on phone devices in our classic viewer
  • onDocumentLoaded now fired in split mode accross the viewers. This should make binding annotations easier to handle
  • Fixed an issue in our flash viewer where notes could not be dragged properly in split mode on some pages
  • It is now possible to allow the image to be changed when a user is hovering an image in FlexPaper Zine. This setting can be done in dektop publisher (add image button)
  • Issue fixed in desktop publisher where modifying an image in some steps would cause an extra image to be added
  • Split functionality implemented for our java package (for the HTML5 rendering mode)
  • Issue fixed where it wasn’t possible to annotate over links in HTML5 mode in some scenarios
  • Link color corrected for Flexpaper Classic
  • Issue fixed where the text layer was incorrectly unloaded when scrolling fast in some scenarios
  • Issue fixed where firefox was firing an error when clicking on the highlight button in HTML5 mode when using annotations
  • Issue fixed where clicking on the zoom slider’s slider did not result in zooming into the document
  • Desktop Publisher now allows settings from old publications to be imported including link, video and image elements. It does not save these elements when saving settings as a template
  • HTML5 rendering routine updated (0.8.1277 build #cebf783)
  • Minor build issues corrected in the ASP.NET sample scripts for the customizable classic viewer
  • Fixed an issue where some publications would be incorrectly cropped to include bleed in HTML5 mode and size optimizations for Zooming into HTML5 publications in MixedMode
  • Fixed an issue where link highlighting would not highlight links when rolling away from them
  • Fixed an issue where many links to a page could cause some links to be incorrect in size
  • Improved support for Android pinching in FlexPaper Classic
  • Safari 7 and above now uses zoom transitions. The early versions of Safari 7 had issues with this but this seems now to have been resolved by Apple and this can therefore be enabled again
  • Our alternative flat design has been included in our customizable annotations build
  • Fixed an issue where the viewer was unintentionally stealing focus in Internet Explorer 
  • Optimizations and fixes for highlighting (the .highlight method) in HTML5 mode

Full text search in a online PDF flip book publication

Thursday 27th March 2014

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Today’s blog will explore the full text search function within the FlexPaper classic viewer and the Flexpape Zine viewer. Being able to do a text search in a published document is a basic functionality that is a must in any page flip publication you find online no matter what software you use.

There are two problems that can destroy your user experience, the first is if the uploaded document consists of scanned images making it impossible to do any text search at all. The other one is when you are searching through a large document, slowing the search and browser down because it has to download the whole document before a full text search can be done. 

 Both FlexPaper viewers let your readers do a full text search without needing to download the whole document. They even handle OCR scanned documents. Your search result will be clearly displayed in the document in a search abstract in the search index to the left of the browser as seen in the top image.

Online PDF viewer with full touch support and crisp output

Wednesday 19th March 2014

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Today, customers expect to be able to view your publications on mobile devices and this means that the software you use to publish your PDF documents will need to be able to detect what device your readers use. It also means that it needs to have touch gesture touch support.

FlexPaper Zine viewer includes a adaptive user interface that not only detects what type of device your readers are using, it also switches to full gesture support and enables pinch zoom. Another beautiful feature you will get is the crisp result when you zoom in really close into the publication. Forget pixilation and get the same sharp out put on retina displays.