Why you should not use "save as PDF"! (Windows & MacOS)
by Dov Isaacs
An issue that has come up over and over again on several FrameMaker and Acrobat/PDF email lists as well on the corresponding Adobe User-to-User forums is that of creation of PDF files. FrameMaker 5.5.6 and 6 have what looks like a convenient feature that is supposed to allow you to create PDF files via simply saving the document as a PDF file. I have gone on record as advising end-users not to use this approach for reliable creation of PDF files from FrameMaker documents under Windows and MacOS with FrameMaker 6 and earlier. Why do I most vociferously offer this advice and why doesn't the problem get fixed? And how SHOULD you create PDF files from FrameMaker?
I will start with the good news. The "next major version" of FrameMaker will indeed have "save as PDF" re-implemented in a manner that it will be as reliable as printing to the "Acrobat Distiller" printer instance under Windows or the "Create Adobe PDF" desktop printer under MacOS. I am personally working with the FrameMaker development organization to make sure this really happens and is fully and properly tested and debugged!
Furthermore, this next major revision of FrameMaker, unlike FrameMaker 6, will come with a Distiller installer that will properly install the "Acrobat Distiller" printer instance under Windows and the "Create Adobe PDF" desktop printer on the Macintosh (of course assuring that the latest PostScript driver is also automatically and correctly installed).
DON'T USE "SAVE AS PDF"
But what's wrong with "save as PDF" as currently implemented? The following are some of the SYMPTOMS reported over the last few years by FrameMaker users that were traced back to use of "save as PDF" under FrameMaker:
If this list by itself isn't enough for you, please note that some of these symptoms are very subtle and may escape attention when the PDF is first viewed or printed. Oftimes, it is when one attempts to manipulate the PDF file in Acrobat or repurpose its content or even view or print on a system other than the one on which the PDF file was created, that some of these symptoms make themselves obnoxiously visible (or invisible in some cases ... I won't make any bad jokes here about graphic examples!).
It is important to understand that FrameMaker does NOT have its own native ability to create PDF. Any and all PDF created from FrameMaker documents is actually done by creating PostScript via the PostScript driver and having the Acrobat Distiller create PDF from that PostScript. The only exception to this is creation of PDF via the Acrobat PDFWriter driver, which is likewise not recommended (see below).
In order for "save as PDF" to work correctly, FrameMaker must do the equivalent of calling Printer Setup and selecting the "Acrobat Distiller" printer instance under Windows or the "Create Adobe PDF" desktop printer under MacOS followed by setting the driver's options correctly for paper size, page range, etc., followed by sending the proper commands to the driver to create PostScript.
Contrary to popular belief, PostScript as generated by the Windows and MacOS PostScript drivers is VERY device-dependent. The information in the PPD file associated with a printer driver instance provides critical parameters for generation of PostScript including:
DON'T USE PDFWRITER
The Acrobat PDFWriter is a relic of older versions of Acrobat. In fact, it is no longer installed by default in the "easy install" or the "typical install" of Acrobat 5. It hasn't really be updated since Acrobat 3 and only supports PDF 1.2. It is a GDI (Windows) / QuickDraw (MacOS) driver that directly generates PDF without any intermediary PostScript. Since it is not a PostScript printer driver, applications cannot pass through EPS graphics and/or PDFMark information (used for a wide variety of purposes by FrameMaker). For EPS graphics, most applications will send the low resolution TIFF (or PICT) EPS header in lieu of the PostScript text, if they send anything at all, to the driver.
Forget about links, structure, or any other PDF "goodies." Expect that PDFWriter will fully "bite the dust" in the next major version of Acrobat.
SO HOW DO I GENERATE PDF FILES FROM FRAMEMAKER 6 & EARLIER?
The ONLY method that is really reliable for producing PDF files with FrameMaker 6 and earlier requires the generation of PostScript via a properly set printer driver instance associated with the Acrobat Distiller PPD and distillation of the resultant PostScript by Acrobat Distiller.
Case 1: FrameMaker and the Full Acrobat 4.05 or Acrobat 5.0x Products
PDF file from a "chapter" -- print directly to the Acrobat Distiller printer instance (Windows) or the Create Adobe PDF desktop printer (MacOS) already installed by Acrobat. If you check the "Acrobat data" option, then make sure to UNcheck the "print to file" option that gets set at the same time. As a result, the driver will automatically send the generated PostScript to the Distiller for you and delete the intermediate Postscript when done.
PDF file from a "book" -- print directly to the Acrobat Distiller printer instance with the "print to file" option checked (Windows) or the Virtual Printer desktop printer (MacOS) associated with the Distiller PPD (see details below under Case 2/MacOS). You will need to manually process the resultant PostScript file through the Distiller (or use a "watched folder" arrangement).
In both the above sub-cases, the default driver options generally will be OK, but check on paper size and communication protocol (Use pure binary, not ASCII, for optimal performance AND no CTRL-D characters under Windows. Make sure to set Level 3 only and Binary under MacOS. Font inclusion "All" for Acrobat 4.05 and "None" for Acrobat 5 under MacOS.). With Acrobat 4.05,make sure you preset the Distiller to use the job options you want. With Acrobat 5, you can set this on a job-by-job basis via the driver printer setup interface (or print dialog on MacOS).
Case 2: FrameMaker 6 and the Bundled Acrobat 4.05 Distiller
Windows -- Create a new printer driver instance using the latest version of the Adobe Universal PostScript Driver Installer, downloadable from Adobe's web site AND the Acrobat Distiller PPD file (located in the XTRAS subdirectory of the Distiller directory). This driver instance should be set to print to the local port named "FILE:". Name this driver instance as "Acrobat Distiller". The default driver options generally will be OK, but check on paper size and communication protocol (use pure binary, not ASCII, for optimal performance AND no CTRL-D characters). Make sure you preset the Distiller to use the job options you want. Print directly to this Acrobat Distiller printer instance. Make sure that the "print to file" option is checked. You will need to manually process the resultant PostScript file through the Distiller (or use a "watched folder" arrangement).
MacOS -- Install the latest version of AdobePS 8.7.x, downloadable from Adobe's web site. In FrameMaker, go to Page Setup and select the "Virtual Printer" and go to the "Virtual Printer" window pane. Select the Acrobat Distiller PPD file (located in the XTRAS subfolder of the Distiller folder).
Print directly to the "Virtual Printer" (Make sure to set Level 3 only, Binary, and font inclusion "All".). Make sure you preset the Distiller to use the job options you want. You will need to manually process the resultant Postscript file through the Distiller (or use a "watched folder" arrangement).
Case 3: Acrobat 3
Acrobat 3 is not officially supported for the latest OS versions and I personally would no longer recommend its use for generation of PDF files given that Acrobat 5.0.5 is the current version of Acrobat.