Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks.



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Find Text Leading from Acrobat PDF

Ever have to recreate a document from an Acrobat PDF? You can find out most everything about the text by using the Object Inspector, except the leading. Well, here's a cheesy way to figure it out. Open the PDF in Illustrator (you just need one page). Release any and all clipping masks. Draw a guide at the baseline of the first line of text, and one on the line below. Now, Option-drag the first line to make a copy, and position it exactly next to the original first line at baseline. Then put a return anywhere in the copied line. Now adjust leading of the copied lines, so that the second line of copy rests on the baseline of the second line of the original. Now you know your leading.

Or you could buy expensive software to find the leading. Your choice.

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Submitted by
Greg Ledger



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Take Control News: 50%-Off Sale to Celebrate 5th Anniversary

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It's almost hard to believe, but we're coming up on the 5th anniversary of the Take Control ebook series. To celebrate, we're offering a 50% discount on all the ebooks in our catalog - just use this link to browse through our titles (check all the tabs!) with the necessary coupon code pre-loaded; the discount appears once you add items to your cart. The sale will continue through Tuesday, 14-Oct-08. (The sale is only for ebooks, though once you buy a Take Control ebook you can get a print copy - discounted by the full cover price - via the Print link on the first page of the PDF.)

We started Take Control back in October of 2003, publishing our first title - Joe Kissell's "Take Control of Upgrading to Panther" - simultaneously with Apple's release of Mac OS X 10.3 Panther. By the time Tiger rolled around in April of 2005, we were ready with four ebooks for what's called in the industry a "day and date" release, and we repeated that feat with five ebooks for Leopard in October of 2007.

Over that time we've published 58 Take Control titles, more free updates than I have time to count, and a slew of new editions that we've always offered at a discount to owners of previous editions. Added up, that's nearly 8,000 pages of text! All 58 books, combined with the ebook versions of my iPhoto Visual QuickStart Guide and the Macworld Superguides that we resell, have sold over 155,000 copies. That may not be Harry Potter territory, but it's done a bang-up job of helping us and our authors pay the rent and keep the lights on.

But the real story here is the confidence you, our readers, have shown in us. Back in 2003, an electronic book that existed only in PDF format was an oddity at best. While we worked hard to address the criticisms of PDFs in general, and ebooks in particular, you trusted us enough to buy those first titles and to come back for more (some readers have complete collections!). There's little more terrifying than starting a business with a product that almost no one has ever purchased before. The initial success of our first books and your words of support gave us the incentive to publish more titles and devote more time and resources to improving Take Control. That has resulted in some of our most popular titles, like Joe's "Take Control of Mac OS X Backups" and Glenn Fleishman's books on AirPort networking.

Not everything we've tried has worked out so well. We had high hopes for translations, but the difficulty of marketing in multiple languages and markets proved overwhelming. Our furthest foray from the computer industry - Joe Kissell's "Take Control of Thanksgiving Dinner" - is an excellent book (and we still rely on it every year!), but has been a commercial failure. And despite constantly beaming powerful mind rays at Cupertino, Apple still hasn't released an iPod that's ideal for reading PDF-based ebooks (the iPhone and iPod touch can be made to, but it's not yet the experience we want).

Nevertheless, stay tuned, because we're always working on new and updated ebooks, and we have a number of other ideas that we're trying to implement, ideas that might change the world of electronic books as much as Take Control did back in 2003.


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