Acrobat 6 and PDF Solutions: Creating the PDF You Want. Pt. 2. By Sybex | 4 | WebReference

Acrobat 6 and PDF Solutions: Creating the PDF You Want. Pt. 2. By Sybex | 4

Acrobat 6 and PDF Solutions: Creating the PDF You Want. Pt. 2

More Techniques

Many other applications have PDF export functions similar to those I’ve discussed within QuarkXPress and InDesign. Some, like InDesign, have built-in PDF creation capabilities. Others, like QuarkXPress 5, ultimately use Distiller as the PDF creation tool. While their specifics may vary somewhat from what I have covered here, the general processes, procedures, and settings will be similar. Refer to the manuals that come with your specific applications and versions for any application-specific detail you may need.

That said, here are some notes about alternate methods of creating PDFs: directly through a PDF printer driver or through Adobe’s PDFMaker plug-in for Microsoft applications.

Creating PDFs through PDF Printer Drivers

In Chapter 3 we discussed in detail how to create a proper PostScript file, which will be used to create a PDF. This is still the preferred method for many, but there is also another approach. Instead of creating an intermediate PostScript file using a PostScript printer driver, you can select a printer driver that will print directly to a PDF. Doing this incorporates the creation of the PostScript file and the PDF file into one step. Here, we will use InDesign as the original page layout document creation application, but these steps will apply to any application, such as QuarkXPress, which will allow you to use a PDF printer driver. Here’s how (but also see my note at the end of this section):

1. When you select your printer/printer driver, select one that is labeled Adobe PDF (Figure 4.31). (If you are creating many PDFs, you may want to consider making this your default driver.)

Figure 4.31 Printer/printer driver selection

2. Inside your page layout application (InDesign here), select the Print command (usually from your File menu). A Print window will appear, similar to the one in Figure 4.32.

3. Configure this dialog box to suit your output purposes. Confirm that the printer driver is set to Adobe PDF (near the top here). In this Print window you will see six different sets of settings to configure, from General down to Advanced. Your dialog will vary depending upon your application and version.

Figure 4.32 Setting up the Print dialog to print to PDF

4. At this point you can just hit the Print button (in the lower-right corner here), and a PDF will be printed to the last folder into which you saved or printed a file.

5. If you want to rename or redirect the location of the PDF file you will be creating, click the Printer button (lower left here). Another dialog will appear, possibly named Print or Printer.

6. Click the Save As PDF button. Another dialog will appear, probably named Save To File or Save As PDF.

Note: This same Save As PDF button may be available if you select either a standard PostScript or a specific PDF printer driver.

7. Assign a name and location for the PDF file, and click Save. Often the original Print window will reappear.

8. Click Print, and the PDF file will be created with the name and in the location you specified.

The actual number and appearance of the dialog boxes will vary depending upon your application and version. But any application that allows you to use an Adobe PDF printer driver will allow you to create a PDF in this manner. It is worth noting that you will not have the level of control over the distilling PDF file that you have when you go through Distiller.

Note: I would be remiss if I did not mention that I personally never use this Save As PDF method to create PDF documents from QuarkXPress, because the result is often large and/or unreadable PDF documents. I have included the method here for those who would like to try it in their applications, with the hopes that this method might work better with other applications or will become less stricken with problems in the future. As I have said before, I prefer printing standard PostScript files to watched folders.

Creating One-Button PDFs with PDFMaker

Acrobat technology, or at least the PDF document portion of Acrobat technology, has become so much a part of computer-based communications that the ability to create at least some kind of a PDF documents increasingly is being incorporated in many types of applications. Acrobat 6 includes the ability to quickly create PDF documents from a wide variety of Microsoft Office applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and even Outlook.

When Acrobat 6 is installed, an application called PDFMaker is automatically installed and linked to all currently installed Microsoft applications. After installing PDFMaker, whenever you launch a Microsoft application, two Acrobat technology icons will be available in your floating tool palette in your document window: one to create a PDF and one to create and e mail a PDF file .

These are called “one-button” PDFs, although there are still two or three steps involved.

Note: If you install a Microsoft application after you install Acrobat, you may need to reinstall Acrobat in order to have PDFMaker available in that new application

I’ll use Microsoft Word as the example. Here’s how to quickly create a PDF using PDFMaker:

1. Create and edit a document in Microsoft Word. Save the document when you have finished.

2. Click the Convert To Adobe PDF button in the floating tool palette of the document window.

3. Assign a name to the PDF file and select a location to save it in. (By default it will use the last location where you saved this document.)

4. Click Save. A progress window will appear.

5. Wait for this progress window to complete; when it’s done, you can either click the View button to view the PDF or click Done to complete the process. (I always view the PDF to make sure everything looks okay and that I didn’t do something silly like having a Landscape orientation when I should have had Portrait!)

Creating and e mailing a one-button PDF is just as easy. Follow all the preceding steps. Then, after the progress window is done and you click the Done button, your default e mail program will be automatically launched, with a new blank message begun and the PDF included as an attachment. That’s it, you’ve finished!


Choosing a PDF-Making Method

The decision of how to create a PDF file used to be easy: Distiller was the only choice. But now we have many ways to create PDF files. In this chapter I covered four major methods:

    • Using a PostScript file and Distiller

    • Using an Export function

    • Printing directly to a PDF using an Adobe PDF printer driver

    • Using a Save As PDF button with a PostScript or PDF printer driver

    • Using the “one-button” PDFMaker through Microsoft applications

Any of these methods may work for you. You have probably noticed that the PostScript and Distiller method provides you with the most control and PDFMaker the least. Also note that some methods (such as Save As PDF) might have well-documented problems.

The more demanding your output, the more control you will want to have. I typically create PDF files for high-quality output, so I normally choose the PostScript file and Distiller route. But if all you need to do is just share a quick letter with someone viewing your PDF over the Internet, and you have no images or image quality is not a key concern, then a one-button PDFMaker PDF may be all you need. Indeed, PDFMaker has been optimized for creating PDFs with the associated Microsoft applications.

I suggest that you use a method that will work for all of your PDF creation needs and stick with it. This way you become very familiar with all the settings and dialog boxes, and they will be second nature to use and you will make few mistakes. For those of you who want the ultimate in control, speed, and consistency, be sure to become familiar with the earlier section on “Putting It All Together.”

Created: March 27, 2003
Revised: May 03, 2004