Friday, August 08, 2008

Converting Word docs to the Sony eBook format

Hi, my name is Ivan and I'm a gadgetholic. It's been 15 days since my last gadget purchase. Of course, I'll argue that each one of those purchases represents an enhanced quality of life, a way to streamline my day-to-day activities, thus freeing me up to...well, go out and buy more gadgets I guess.

Take this one time earlier this year when I was in the United States. I happened to be passing the Fry's electronics store in Seattle, so I popped in for a browse. I left with the Sony electronic book reader. It's beautiful – it uses one of those special e-ink screens that looks almost like paper. It only uses power when changing the page, so battery life is very good (7,500 page turns in theory). My reasoning was that I have so much reading to catch up on, and this is a lot faster to "boot up" compared to my laptop.

The reader is capable of displaying PDF documents, the only problem is that scales them to fit it's screen size. So a document laid out for A4 doesn't look so good on the reader. I really wanted to catch up on all those SharePoint white papers and articles that I haven't had time to read, so I needed to figure out an easy solution for putting them on the Sony.

So I've put together a Word macro. This reformats a document to match the Sony screen size, adjusting both page dimensions and margins. I also adjust the dimensions of any images in the document so that they fit the page, its crude, but seems to work. Once it has been resized, I can save it as a PDF document and download it to the Sony reader. This also works for web articles – copy/paste to Word and run the macro.

I'm currently reading "The 01100 step programme to reducing technological dependencies".

You can download the macro code here