Saturday, May 06, 2006

Recuenco: Convert PDF to HTML and Save Paper: 58 Pages to 8

Thanks to SCOTUSBlog and Sentencing Law & Policy, I saw that the the transcript of the Recuenco argument has become available. I read some things on a screen, but I really prefer to print things on the unused sides of all the drafts, duds, and bad copies that I seem to generate.

But the Recuenco argument is 58 pages in monotype, double spaced. That's ridiculous.

Recently I just happened to stumble upon a little service Adobe provides: web-based conversion of PDF files to HTML or text files. The PDF transcript is site is here. Just pop the address of the Recuenco transcript (here) into the form box, choose HTML or text, click on a couple of annoying radio buttons, and finally submit the thing. Quite quickly you will have an HTML version of the transcript that runs, without any additional formatting, to 29 pages. Half the original--in quite large type.

If your printer will do two pages to a page--mine will--you're down to 15 pages. And it's still quite readable.

If your printer will do two-sided printing, you're down to 8 pages from almost 60. And it's not in monotype.

A word of caution: my experience so far is that the Adobe service handles documents with footnotes very badly. At least in converting to HTML. I have not tried text conversions--yet.

I was very unhappy when the Indiana appellate courts switched publishing their opinions in HTML to PDF. Very bad for reading quickly, copying and pasting, and printing. Just awful, actually. The web is done in HTML. HTML is the true portable document format: text files with fancy codes tellling machines how to display the text files. PDF may go; text files will live forever.

There's also the relatively expensive option of WordPerfect X3--which I have tried and which imports wordprocessor generated PDF files very well.

If anyone has other solutions to PDF conversion to HTML, text, or even wordprocessor formats, please comment. I'm still looking for something simple that will handle footnotes better than the Adobe service. There is a lot of footnoted PDF out there.

So now to actually go read the argument--after the next installement for my six-year old of The Hooded Hawk Mystery--a very topical Hardy Boy book--all about smuggling illegal aliens from India with a kidnaping thrown in for good measure.