I’ve had a lot of people ask me about the Word & Excel documents we display in specific areas of our website. They look like they’re embedded in the page, and we’re able to share documents and spice up a page that has a lot of text.
It’s actually very easy and inexpensive to create these files. The secret: Macromedia Flashpaper, a print driver that lets me turn any printable document into a PDF or a Flash file.
The software was only $79 and it couldn’t be easier:
1. Create a document in Word, Powerpoint, or any other program.
2. Print the document and choose the Flashpaper driver instead of the normal printer.
3. When the document opens in the Flashpaper window, save it as a Flash document (.swf). (You could also save it as a PDF with the program.)
Then you can then add the Flash file to your website and the document will be embedded in the page. There’s also a toolbar on top that allows your visitors, prospects and customers to search through the document, open it in a new window, zoom and print.
However, what it WON’T let them do is save the document – perfect if you want to share a document but don’t want it downloaded and distributed over the web. If you want to offer a version that can be saved, you can also create a PDF and include it on the page or via email.
It’s also important to note that search engine spiders have trouble reading content that’s in flash, so don’t use Flash files to convey information that should be on the body of the page itself. It’s really a tool for sharing documents – work samples, white papers, etc.
One last how-to: How do you incorporate the file into your website? It’s just like any other graphic or flash file. Flash has additional coding to display properly, but your programmer should have no problems with it.
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