With technology moving so fast, it is difficult these days to keep up with the ever-changing ways to handle electronic files and transcripts. If you have ever received a transcript in a file type that your computer won’t open, you know how file types can be an obstacle. However, there is one type of file that is a clear winner in compatibility, the Portable Document Format, otherwise known as a PDF.
You likely are already reading PDF files on your computer. You can request your transcripts arrive in this file type as well. There are many reasons why you should request to receive your transcripts in PDF format.
The PDF format has been around for many years. Most of our computers come with the software Adobe Reader so that we can easily open PDF files that we receive. It looks like PDF files are popular and will continue to be easy to use for a number of years, so it is worth putting in the effort to begin using PDF documents more effectively. When you request a transcript be delivered to you in PDF format, you can rest assured that this file type will likely continue to be in use well into the future.
One of the strengths of a PDF file is that it can be opened on several different computers and devices. PDF files work well whether you have a Mac or PC computer. You can now put them on your iPad and easily take them with you. This is an important feature as computers and devices evolve rapidly. The iPad has been the latest devise to take the legal field by storm. Attorneys are looking for ways to use ipads in their practice. Being able to open documents on an iPad and all of your devices ensures that you will be able to work on files no matter which device you are using at the moment.
Most computers come already loaded with Adobe Reader, which allows you to open a PDF file. You may not even be aware of it, but your computer is most likely already using this program when you view a PDF file. Adobe Reader is a free software. If you’ve ever received a transcript that required you to download special programs in order to read them, you will appreciate the ease PDF brings. If your computer already has Adobe Reader or any version of Adobe, you will not have to download any other programs in order to read the PDF transcript.
Adobe also offers an advanced version called Adobe Acrobat. With the advanced version comes added features that allow you to do more than just read your PDF document. Here are some of the things you will be able to do with the Adobe Acrobat software.
- Insert new pages into a PDF and eliminate pages
- Reorder pages
- Rotate pages
- Add Bates stamps to documents
- Zoom in on small text
- Highlight important text passages
- Search for text
- Redact sensitive information
- Tag important pages so you can quickly find them later
- Make notes in the margins
O’Brien & Bails uses a program called YesLaw to create PDF versions of a transcript. This program allows you a few more very valuable features. We want to make our transcripts easy for you to use. YesLaw allows us to provide a PDF with the following additional features:
- Copy and paste from a transcript without affecting the official document
- Click a word in the index and be taken to that page in the transcript
- Click on any exhibit in the index and be taken to that page in the transcript
- Send and receive large transcripts by email with our smaller file sizes
Added Flexibility and Usability
PDF files can provide many benefits to you, making your transcript more valuable to you in your trial preparation. Ask yourself, are you using PDF files to their fullest potential? If not, you may need to do some reading and research to find out how to take advantage of these valuable functions.
We have found a few resources if you would like to learn more about using PDF files.
Key PDF Skills for Lawyers
In this 30-minute video tutorial, presented by Ernie Svenson, you
’ll quickly learn key PDF skills that every lawyer and legal professional needs in order to be more efficient and productive while working with digital documents. The video covers skills such as:
- How to quickly search PDF documents for key information
- How to navigate through any PDF quickly, zoom in, out, and around quickly
- How to tag key passages with underlining and comments
- Keyboard shortcuts that are most important to legal professionals
How to Work with PDFs on the iPad
Author Patrick Jordan, a technology blogger, explains some basics of using your iPad to work with PDF files. Tips include:
- Ways to get PDF documents onto the iPad
- Great apps for working with PDF files
Acrobat X Pro: PDF Basics Tutorial
LawTechnologyToday.com offers a video tutorial for Acrobat X Pro. If you have this version of Adobe Acrobat, you will learn:
- How to convert documents to PDF
- How to apply Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
- How to make changes such as adding, removing and rearranging pages
PDF files have become a standard in use with many programs and devices. By requesting transcripts in PDF format, you can take advantage of these features and benefits to work with documents more effectively in your law practice.