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Catalogs, brochures, promotional materials and other before-the-sale documents should be easily available to the customer, and are best distributed electronically on the Web or on CD-ROM using standard, HTML-driven Web pages. Manufacturers use attractive, dynamic Web sites or easily distributed CD-ROMS to attract and inform customers. Web sites should display products in an easy-to-navigate showroom environment, and provide detailed specifications to the comparison-shopping, potential machine buyer.
Clearly, the Web is changing the way business is done. Below are some basic HTML Web publishing capabilities which can allow companies to participate effectively in e-commerce:
Support documentation like parts drawings and manuals often include high-resolution images. Their original appearance may need to be preserved for easy printing by site visitors. (It is difficult to view or print high-resolution details found in many technical documents directly from low-resolution Web pages using browsers like Internet Explorer or Netscape.)
Adobe Acrobat can convert nearly all electronic documents into Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format) files which can be viewed and printed using Acrobat Reader. This program is available without charge to anyone with Internet access, and can be used on any late-model Windows, Unix or Macintosh computer. Acrobat Reader displays and prints word processing files, press-ready desktop publications, high-resolution CAD drawings, spreadsheets, and virtually all other documents that can normally be printed from a Mac or Windows environment. Adobe Acrobat files can also be e-mailed or faxed yet retain their ready-to-print characteristics.
Becoming skilled in Adobe Acrobat will further enhance companies' e-commerce success, allowing them to:
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