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Chapter 4. Creating PDFs > Using Distiller

Using Distiller

In some programs, and for greater control over the quality of your PDF, you will still need to create PDFs the old-fashioned way: by creating a PostScript (PS) or Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) file first and converting it with Acrobat Distiller. (Graphics professionals are usually the only ones who need to use Distiller.)

Distiller is a PostScript-to-PDF converter that is used behind the scenes by the Adobe PDF printer to make PDF files. You can also use it as a stand-alone application to make PDF files from your own PostScript and EPS files. You would do this when you need sophisticated control over the characteristics of your PDF file, such as the way fonts are embedded, or how images are compressed.

To distill a PostScript file into a PDF file

In Acrobat, choose Advanced > Acrobat Distiller (Figure 4.22).

Figure 4.22. You can still make a PostScript file into a PDF via Distiller.

From the Default Settings menu, choose from the presets depending on how your PDF will be viewed (Figure 4.23).

  • High Quality Print will create a higher resolution for the PDF than the standard. Grayscale and color images will print at 300 dpi and monochromatic images at 1200 dpi.

  • PDF/A will enable the PDF to contain only text, images, and vectors. It doesn't allow encryption, and embedded text must be in accordance with the PDF/A compliance.

  • Press Quality creates a file ready for press printing with grayscale and color images at 300 dpi and monochrome images at 1200 dpi.

  • Smallest File Size creates a file specifically for viewing on the Web. It makes the file size as small as possible by using compression, downsampling, and low-image resolution.

  • Standard creates a PDF that is to be printed on copiers or desktop printers or sent as a proof. It doesn't create a high-quality print, like those from commercial printers, but a good desktop-printer quality print.

Figure 4.23. Under the default settings, you can select a preset.

In Distiller, choose File > Open.

Navigate to the PostScript file you want to distill and then click the Open button (Figure 4.24).

Figure 4.24. Navigate to the file you want and open it in Distiller.

The file appears in the list in the Acrobat Distiller dialog box (Figure 4.25).

Figure 4.25. See your file in listed in the Distiller window.

Select the file you want to distill from the list and click the Resume button.

The Acrobat Distiller window shows the progress of the distillation (Figure 4.26). You'll notice that Distiller has created a new file in the same place where you have stored the initial file.

Figure 4.26. Watch the progress of your file.

When the process is finished, you can close the window or choose Quit from the File menu (Ctrl+Q/Command+Q) to exit Distiller. Use Acrobat to open the file.

✓ Tip

  • As a PostScript file is being distilled, notes that you might find useful show up at the bottom of the Acrobat Distiller window below the Progress bar. These notes include the name of the file, when the distilling process started, the location of the original PostScript file, the destination folder or directory of the new PDF file, and font substitutions (if any).

To change Distiller preferences

In Distiller, choose Distiller > Preferences (Ctrl+K/Command+K) (Figure 4.27).

Figure 4.27. Under the Distiller menu you can set Preferences for Distiller.

The Preferences dialog box appears (Figure 4.28).

Figure 4.28. Use the Preferences dialog box to set how you want Distiller to perform.

To turn each option on or off, click the appropriate check box.

Here are the options you can set:

  • Notify When Watched Folders Are Unavailable will make a dialog box appear if a “watched” folder is not available. Unless Distiller is being run on a server, keeping this option checked is a good idea. (Watched folders are discussed later in this chapter.)

  • Notify when Windows TEMP Folder Is Nearly Full tells Distiller to prompt you when the TEMP folder is almost full so you can rearrange files to make more room, by moving files out of this folder (Windows only).

  • Ask for PDFFile Destination tells Distiller to prompt you for the location to save the PDF file.

  • Ask to Replace Existing PDFFile makes Distiller ask you for permission before overwriting a file with the same name.

  • View PDFWhen Using Distiller causes the newly created PDF to be displayed as soon as Distiller finishes its job.

  • Delete Log Files for Successful Jobs means that Distiller will remove the log file for jobs that were distilled with no errors.

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