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Adobe Automates Snow Leopard PDF

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Q. Ever since I upgraded to Snow Leopard I have been unable to print Adobe PDFs. I print the file but I cannot find the PDF when it is done.

A. Apple’s latest operating system, Mac OS X 10.6 aka Snow Leopard, is an upgrade for Intel based Macintosh computers that uses 64-bit processing, which allows for faster and wider data processing. As a result the computing experience is much faster and seemingly gives new life to all compatible Mac desktops and laptop computers. While the upgrade has negatively affected some printing services, the refinements in Snow Leopard make it a welcome improvement.

In the case of Adobe’s virtual printers, Adobe PDF 9.0 et al, the method used to print a PDF contravenes Apple’s security protocols. In the past when you chose to print a PDF from a program you were actually printing a PostScript file using the LaserWriter print spooler, which was then silently passed to Adobe’s Distiller application. Distiller would actually convert the PostScript into a PDF and save the file to the location you specified.

That is a simplified explanation and there are more applications under the hood involved. Apple’s CUPS or common unix printing system handles most printing tasks and there is some issues with the permissions set by software manufacturers that is prohibiting successful printing. You may see a notice in a print spooler that warns that you need to contact the manufacturer for an update.

The method to print a PDF your self involves a few simple steps. You can print your file to PostScript which will result in saving a file ending with “.ps”. Next open Adobe Distiller and drag and drop the PostScript file onto the main window. Distiller will convert the PostScript file to a PDF and save it in the same folder as the PostScript file. In most cases you would choose “Standard” but if you want a PDF ready for press you can choose “High Quality Print” or “PDF-X1a” – check with the printer’s account manager. If you want the send the PDF by email choose “Smallest File Size” to create a compressed version.

The Acrobat Team has added an Apple Automator workflow to print PDFs. From the Print dialog you can choose “Save as Adobe PDF” from the PDF menu.

If you’re printing with the regular Mac OSX Print pane:
Choose Print from the File Menu.
This will open Mac OS X print dialog.
Choose the “PDF” button and select “Save as Adobe PDF”.
Click Print.
In a few seconds Automator will open and prompt you to choose what type of PDF
Choose Standard (see above).
On the next window, you will be asked where to save the PDF.
Automator will create the PDF.

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On January 19, 2010
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