The properties page in Adobe Acrobat Standard (Professional) is a powerful but often under used tool that can be used to speed up categorization and tagging (adding Metadata) of electronically published articles. What is Metadata? Metadata is the data about the data. In other words, it is descriptive information about your data. For this article, Metadata is information about an electronic article or e-book.
This morning I found the article, How to Write Better Copy, online. I clipped it as a Simplified Article using the Evernote Web Clipper, adding it to my Favorite Blog Posts notebook, and tagging it with relevant tags. The Web Clipper makes this easy, and it’s something I really like about Evernote.
However, another way to save an article, especially for later reading is to follow these steps.
First, while on the Webpage, right click then choose “Print”, in the printer page that comes up choose Adobe .pdf, rename the page to something practical (such as the article title, or a summary of the article title if it is very long), and save it. When saving, as with any download, be sure to save it to a location you know so you can find it later. If you have Adobe Acrobat Standard installed on your computer, this option “Print to .pdf” should also be installed as a plug-in to your browser.
If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat Professional installed, you can still turn a webpage into a .pdf with a freeware program such as Bullzip.
Once you have downloaded the article as a .pdf, open it in Adobe Acrobat Standard. Go to File → Properties.
This is what the Properties Page looked like without any updates.
The program is randomly pulling some information, while leaving other information blank. Fortunately, this can be changed. Simply click in each line, erase the bad information and type in the correct information.
This is the corrected properties page.
As you can see, I’ve added the first half of the title, the article author, the general subject (writing), and several keywords (Social Media, Website Design, Business Writing). The keywords will automatically become tags when the article is uploaded into Calibre. The last keyword is the website address to be used as the Publisher in Calibre. You will need to update the publisher manually, but the rest of the information will automatically be populated as metadata in Calibre.
Note that you can also update other information by switching to the other tabs in the Properties page. The Initial View tab for example, allows you to specify how the .pdf will look when opened – single page, bookmarks and pages, pages panel and page, etc. You can also specify the magnification level and other options. You may or may not want to make updates to Initial View (in general for e-books, it’s not necessary). There’s also a security panel for specifying passwords, certificates, etc – do not use this unless you really need to – it’s a good way to make your article or e-book inaccessible.
Once you have updated the properties page, save the .pdf. Note that you must have Adobe Acrobat Standard (Professional) installed in order to update the Properties Page. You cannot change it in Adobe Reader.
The next step in turning this web page article into an e-book (article) you can read on most e-readers or on an e-reader app on any tablet involves using the free program, Calibre, which is a e-book management system, download Calibre here if you haven’t already, and install it. Open Calibre and click “Add Books”.
Navigate to the location of the article, highlight it, and click “open” to add it to Calibre. Note that you can add several e-books or articles at the same time.
This is how it will look in Calibre when opened:
Note that the Title, Author, and Tags have imported with the book.
Now click on “Edit Metadata” to make any updates.
This is the Edit Metadata dialog:
Note that the Publisher is blank.
This is the updated Metadata Dialog Form, changes are highlighted in yellow.
Here, I’ve removed Searchenginewatch from the tags and entered it in the Publisher section. If the Publisher already exists in your library you can choose it, using the select arrow on the Publisher line. If you want to use a generic term like, “Webpage”, as the Publisher, you can do that as well. Once you’ve made your updates click “OK”.
This is how the article now looks in Calibre:
There is one final, optional step. At this point the article is still a .pdf. You will need Adobe .pdf Reader, or another program that can read .pdfs (such as the Android app, Aldiko E-Book Reader) to open and read the .pdf on a tablet or e-reader. However, using Calibre, you can also convert the .pdf into any other e-book format you want, such as EPUB.
First, with the article or book highlighted, click the “Convert Books”, icon.
This will open the convert books dialog.
Here, the dialog is already set to convert a .pdf to EPUB (see highlighted button), all you need to do is press “OK”, and Calibre will automatically convert the article to EPUB for reading on an EPUB device.
And that’s it.
Why bother? Well, it’s neater to have your .pdf properly labeled. If you were creating a report or project for a client, having the properties page filled out with the article name and the author at the very least will make the .pdf more professional-looking and appealing. Whereas, if you are downloading something for personal use, adding tags and a subject, helps to keep track of the article. Doing this consistently for all your other professional articles, when adding them to Calibre creates an organized, searchable library of professional articles and books. Adding the title, author, subject, and metadata tags in Adobe Acrobat Standard means the information will be there when you upload the book or article to Calibre. If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat Standard, however, you can fill in (and even correct) the information in Calibre’s Metadata Dialog.