Acrobat 6 and PDF Solutions: Creating the PDF You Want. Pt. 1, By Sybex | 4 | WebReference

Acrobat 6 and PDF Solutions: Creating the PDF You Want. Pt. 1, By Sybex | 4

Acrobat 6 and PDF Solutions: Creating the PDF You Want. Pt. 1

Managing Distiller Settings Files

Once assigned (default) or created (custom), Distiller settings can be saved, added, deleted, or shared. This functionality makes it much easier to use and reuse Distiller settings.

For all of these actions, you need to know where Distiller stores its settings. They’re found in the program’s Settings folder, located as follows:


   C:/Program Files/Adobe/Acrobat 6.0/Distiller/Settings

Mac OSX:

   ~/Users/Shared/Adobe PDF 6.0/Settings

Saving Distiller Settings

To save a Distiller setting, follow these steps:

1. Choose Settings > Edit Adobe PDF Settings (or use the keyboard shortcut z/Ctrl+E).

2. Click the Save As button.

3. Name the Setting; here, I’ve used “Taz Press.”

4. Locate the Distiller Settings folder (Figure 4.11) and place your new Distiller setting there. You will see the other settings already there, and this will make your setting available for use in Distiller.

Figure 4.11 Saving a setting to the Distiller Settings folder

Adding Distiller Settings

You may have created a Distiller setting in a location Distiller doesn’t automatically recognize, using Save As (as described in the previous section) or by receiving a file from someone else. To add such a Distiller setting to the Default Settings menu, do one of the following:

• Choose Settings > Add Adobe PDF Settings (Ctrl+Alt+E/z+Option+E). Then navigate to where a Distiller settings file has been saved on your disk (Figure 4.12), select it, and click Open.

• Or, as an alternative, you can copy the desired Distiller settings file directly into the Distiller Settings folder.

Figure 4.12 Opening a Distiller setting to add it.

Either of these methods will add the new setting to those already there (Figure 4.13), and this will make your setting available for use in Distiller.

Figure 4.13 The setting added to the Default Settings menu


To delete a Distiller setting from the list of Default Distiller Settings menu list, do one of the following:

• Choose Settings > Add Adobe PDF Settings (Shift+Ctrl+Alt+E/Shift+z+Option+E). Then navigate to where a Distiller settings file has been saved on your disk (Figure 4.14), highlight it, and click Open. You can, using the Shift and z (Mac) or Ctrl (Win) keys, click to highlight more than one settings file at a time.

• Again, instead of using the menu command, you can just delete the desired Distiller settings file directly from the Distiller Settings folder.

Either of these methods will delete the selected Distiller setting from the Default Settings menu.

Sharing Distiller Settings

Once created, a Distiller settings file can be shared with other users by moving the file to another computer. After it has been moved, this file can be added to another Default Settings menu using the methods described in the preceding sections.

Figure 4.14 The Remove Adobe PDF Settings command takes you to a dialog where you click the Open button, but what you’re really doing is deleting

Setting PDF Document Security through Distiller

One of the nifty features of PDF files is that you can control who has access to them and what can be done with them. You do this by setting PDF security options. There are two ways to assign and control the security of a PDF document: through Distiller when creating the PDF and in Acrobat after the PDF has been created. Here I cover controlling security during distilling.

To access the dialog where you assign security functions to a PDF file, first set the other options in your Distiller setting, especially the Compatibility setting in the General tab.

Note: The level of security offered will depend upon the Compatibility selected in the General tab: Acrobat 3 and 4 use 30-bit RC4; Acrobat 5 and 6 use 128-bit RC4.

Once your Distiller setting is arranged the way you want it, select Security from Distiller’s Settings menu (or use the shortcut F/Ctrl+S). A Security dialog will appear (Figure 4.15).

Figure 4.15 Distiller’s Security dialog

Password Support System

If you are going to use passwords to control access to your PDF documents, it is important to set up at least a minimal password support system. You need to:

1. Remember the passwords.

2. Set up a secure means of providing passwords to those who need to receive and use them.

3. Develop a system to protect those passwords.

If you create lots of passwords for many documents, then you will probably want to create a database or spreadsheet with documents, passwords, and people’s names so that you can keep track of them and recall them at a later time. Then, of course, you will want to protect your database with a password…and a safe place to store that…hmmm. Also, don’t go password-crazy and start assigning passwords to documents that really do not need them. Security is important for protecting sensitive information, but it can also inhibit free-flowing communication.

You control access to a PDF file by assigning a password, which will allow access to the document, and then determining what functions that password will allow the viewer to perform. Here is how to set up the security:

Require A Password To Open The Document Click this check box to activate the basic access security to the document.

Document Open Password Assign a password. The most secure passwords contain both alphabetic and numeric characters. You will need to decide how secure you need the document to be.

Use A Password To Restrict Printing And Editing Of The Document And Its Security Settings Check this box if you want to control what viewers can do with the PDF document once they open it.

Permissions Password Create a password for the control of the document. This password should generally be different from the one assigned in the Document Open Password field.

Printing Allowed Choose what kind of printing you will allow from this PDF: None, Low Resolution, or High Resolution.

Changes Allowed Select the level of editing you want to allow. Here are some examples of how I use these various choices:

      None I use this level when I send out samples of my books and/or seminar manuals to show the contents, which       will allow the viewers to see everything in the PDF but will not allow them to copy, edit, or print the document.

Filling In Forms And Signing I use this level when I create a PDF form that I want folks to be able to only fill out or sign. However, I often wait until I have created the form in Acrobat before I assign this choice, and then I assign this through Acrobat instead of in Distiller. (See Chapter 7, “PDF Document Management,” for more information on creating and using PDF forms, and Chapter 5, “Controlling Acrobat and Access to Your PDFs,” for assigning security in Acrobat.)

Commenting, Filling In Forms, And Signing This level adds commenting to the preceding setting and allows for feedback other than what is provided in a form.

Inserting, Deleting And Rotating Pages This is a good selection if you want to limit editing to pages only but not the content of these pages.

Any Except Extracting Pages This is the most liberal editing choice with the exception of turning off the password protection altogether, and it is the one I use most commonly when engaged in collaborative publishing where editing passwords are required.

Enabling There are two choices here: Deselect Enable Copying Of Text, Images And Content to protect your PDF contents. Check Enable Text Access For Screen Reader Devices For The Visually Impaired if you wish to allow this access. The screen reader option can be chosen without checking the first box, but if you activate “Enable Copying,” the screen reader option is automatically activated.

Controlling Distiller PDF File Location and Logging

By default, Distiller will automatically create and save a log of the distilled job and place the distilled PDF in the same folder as the PostScript file. You will probably want to change these default processes, which are controlled through Distiller Preferences. Here’s how:

Select Distiller Preferences (Figure 4.16): in Windows choose File > Preferences (Ctrl+K) or on a Mac choose Distiller > Preferences (z+K). You will notice that the Windows and Mac versions of this dialog have slightly different options. I recommend that you set the options in the Preferences panel as follows:

• Select the Ask For PDF File Destination radio button. Setting this preference will allow you to redirect the destination of your finished PDF file to a folder other than the one that contains the original PostScript file.

• Check Delete Log Files For Successful Jobs to remove the files that you will likely never pay attention to or need.

• Check Notify When Watched Folders Are Unavailable. This will let you know when a watched folder is deactivated, moved, or otherwise unusable. (See the next section for more information on watched folders.)

Figure 4.16 Distiller Preferences: (left) Macintosh and (right) Windows

• In Windows, check Notify When Windows TEMP Folders Are Available (this option isn’t available in Mac OS). Distiller will let you know if you are running out of room in the TEMP folder on your disk, which when full will prevent you from creating PDF documents through Distiller.

• Check View PDF When Using Distiller (another Windows-only option) if you want to view the PDF file once it is created.

Created: March 27, 2003
Revised: April 26, 2004