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Convert/Import from PDF and Keep the Formatting April 10, 2007

Posted by Carthik in applications, guides, microsoft, office, ubuntu.

I have often wanted to convert a PDF file to a MS Word (.doc) file or an openoffice.org file. Usually I just copy the text from the PDF file and paste it in the new word document. Soon, this gets pretty tiring.

Recently I found a way to convert a pdf file to other formats, including .doc and .odt which preserves the formatting of the text pretty well. It is not perfect preserved but it is way better than having no formatting at all.

The secret goes by the name KWord. KWord is a KDE application that has a pdf “import” feature which lets you import either entire pdf documents or just a few pages from a pdf document while preserving the formatting! Of course – this only works for pdf documents which are not scanned images of pages. I tried it out on files created using \LaTeX, MS Word and OpenOffice. The font sizes in the imported document are larger than they need to be, but at least the headings are heading, the normal text is normal text, and the bullets are bullets!


Sync Evolution Calendar with Google Calendar December 18, 2006

Posted by Carthik in applications, calendar, evolution, google, guides, office.

Not so much a detailed guide as a couple of links to help me out in the future:

How to sync your google calendar with Evolution
The access is “read-only” which means you cannot add events in Evolution and have them show up in your google calendar, but your events in google calendar will be available in Evolution for you to read.

To circumvent the problem of the sync described above not being a “true” two-way sync, one can use scheduleworld as a go-between. This way, Evolution and Google Calendar both sync to scheduleworld, and everything is hunky-dory.

A guide to sync Google calendar using scheduleworld is available, but the guide (unfortunately) deals with MS Outlook primarily.

Many of the concepts from the guide can be usd with Evolution. The missing link is the SyncEvolution plugin for Evolution. There is a thread at Ubuntu Forums that explains how to get going with SyncEvolution. So put it all together, and you can sync your Evolution Calendar with your Google Calendar.

Maybe we should all try and add a few million more users to Ubuntu, and then perhaps Google and everyone else will make it easier for us folks to sync and inter-operate seamlessly with their services. Googlers use Ubuntu – I wonder why a few of them won’t spend their quota of free/creative weekly hours to make things easier for us folks 🙂

OpenOffice.org Design Competition Winners Announced December 13, 2006

Posted by Carthik in microsoft, news, office.

The results for the OO.org template and clipart design competition are out!

LXer reports:

The contest resulted in some superior and innovative work. “Some of the templates show just how advanced and flexible Openoffice.org’s OpenDocument format is as both a Word and Spreadsheet ODF processor. The winning templates and many others breaks a myth that Openoffice.org cannot do advanced editing functions like Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel. It is obvious that Openoffice.org has come of age and is more than just a free alternative to MS Office but is an extremely worthy competitor” said Russell Ossendryver

All submitted entries, including the winners are available from the OpenOffice.org documentation gallery page

Winners include a thesis kit, a perpetual calendar, clipart for teachers, and entire sets of clipart for business and home users.

The sponsor, WorldLabel had enabled OO.org to offer $5000 in prizes! Russell Ossendryver wrote in to tell me about the results. What is interesting is that he adds, later in the email:

I received C&D letter “without prejudice” from the power house lawyers of Microsoft Corporation telling me that
Worldlabel.com is misusing the Microsoft Office Trademark and it must be removed to resolve the matter. The Logo link was on a page with free resources linking to a page on MS Office with free resources and has been there for 7 years. I have been wanting to remove it in any case and did. It seems like the more I will do for FOSS the more my company will get attacked.

He then goes on to say that his resolve to champion Open Source solutions has not diminished one bit. Thank you for putting your money where your mouth is, Russell.

Can someone tell me why Microsoft, which is obviously such a huge market leader has to behave like a braindead school bully? I used to read Scobleizer, the blog by a now-former-MS-employee and used to enjoy some of his stories about advocacy. How do they think actions such as this one would help, in any way (little or big) to improve the image of the company or its products? Maybe I am spoiled by openness and freedom — I just don’t get it.

Evolution for Windows- an Outlook Replacement July 21, 2006

Posted by Carthik in applications, news, office, ubuntu.

Evolution provides integrated mail, contact management and calendaring in one solid app. Sort of reminds one of Outlook on Windows, doesn’t it? Until now, there was no installer for Evolution in Windows. That just changed. Ubuntu users can now use their favourite mail+contacts+calender app in Windows too, if they have to at the office, or some other windows-only environment.

A new installer makes it possible to install Evolution on Windows
, to replace MS Outlook. Evolution is an MS Exchange client and should work with Exchange servers. If it does not do that perfectly, file some bugs and someone will fix it for you for free. Most of the windows-porting work seems to have been done by Tor, whose update informs everyone of the new installer for Windows.

Will Evolution be to Outlook what Firefox is to Internet Explorer? Time will tell.

Editing pdfs in Ubuntu September 11, 2005

Posted by Carthik in applications, office, ubuntu.

flpsed is a useful app that allows you to edit postscript, and by extension pdf documents in Ubuntu Linux. You could use it to add text to existing pdf documents, to fill out forms etc, without using Acrobat Distiller, or its equivalents available for Windows and Macs.
To quote the author of this tool:

flpsed is a WYSIWYG pseudo PostScript1 editor. “Pseudo”, because you can’t remove or modify existing elements of a document. But flpsed lets you add arbitrary text lines to existing PostScript 1 documents. Added lines can later be reedited with flpsed. Using pdftops, which is part of xpdf one can convert PDF documents to PostScript and also add text to them. flpsed is useful for filling in forms, adding notes etc. GsWidget is now part of flpsed.
flpsed is released under the GPL.


* Add arbitrary text to existing PostScript documents.
* Reedit text, that has been added with flpsed.
* The overall structure of the PostScript document is not modified. flpsed only adds the additional text.
* Batch processing (no X11 required) to modify tagged text lines that have been entered interactively with flpsed before. This is very useful for repeatedly filling in forms.
* Text lines can be imported from other flpsed-modified documents.
* Import and export PDF. Therefore it can be used as a PDF editor as well.

It is availabe in the “Universe” component of Ubuntu. I hope it is useful for those of you, who, like me, moved from Windows to Ubuntu recently.

Update: Also check out PDFTK – The PDF ToolKit – uber cool!