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Using Adobe Acrobat

Adobe Acrobat is a software package which creates PDF (Portable Document Format) files from PostScript files, or from the files typed in your PC word processing program. PDF is very important to us because NSF FastLane proposals now require this format. The initial setup on both Unix and Windows machines is the most important step. If you are not generating quality postscript the PDF files will be useless.

  • On Unix:

    The postscript files are generated from TeX sources using dvips. To configure dvips to generate the postscript we need, we add a printer definition file named config.pdf-file, this allows the user to give the familiar dvips command with a '-P' option as if they were selecting a printer. The new dvips command is:

    ssh r2d2
    dvips -Ppdf-file -o fragment.dvi
    And here is sample output:
    dvips -Ppdf-file -o fragment.dvi
    This is dvips(k) 5.78 Copyright 1998 Radical Eye Software (
    ' TeX output 1999.09.01:1114' ->
    This shows that the postscript definition for a rule has been modified (the file), and that fonts cmsy10, cmr10, cmbx10 and cmbx12 are embedded in the ps file. Now that you have a postscipt file with embedded fonts we need to get Acrobat Distiller to embed the fonts. To do this system wide edit the file
    and uncomment the line:
    << /EmbedAllFonts true /SubsetFonts true >> setdistillerparams
    Remember that this is a postscript file, so the '%' is the comment symbol

    If you want to leave the option to not embed all fonts then do not edit the file and add the commandline option '-embedallfonts on'

    Finally create a PDF file:

    ssh r2d2
    When asked about the compatability level choose #3, undefined.

    To check to make sure that the PDF file has embedded Type 1 fonts open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader and click on 'File' 'Document Info' 'Fonts' and look at the pop up window.

  • On Windows:

    1. Before installing Acrobat on the PC get the Adobe Postscript driver and unpack it. Run the install program and choose "YES" when asked if you want the install program copied. Install the generic postscript printer on port "File."

    2. Install Acrobat

    3. Rerun the Adobe PS program and this time install the printer using the Acrobat Distiller 3.0 ppd in Acrobat3\Distillr\Xtras. When asked for the port use   \Distasst.

      If   \Distasst does not appear in the choices then hit Cancel and go to the Printers Folder under "My Computer" and add a postscript printer. It does not matter which one, then reinstall Distiller and try this again.
      When asked for a name for the printer name it "Create PDF"

    4. In the Properties dialog box click the Postscript tab then choose Optimize for Portability from the postscript output format menu and select the Print PostScript Error Information option.
    5. Click on Advanced and select Pure binary data in the data format area. Also check to make sure that Postscript level 2 is selected.
    6. Click the fonts tab and click Send Fonts As. Choose type 42
    7. Click OK and then exit from the Adobe PS setup program.
    This will allow you to create a PDF file from any PC app that allows you to select a printer. When you want a PDF file just choose the printer "Create PDF" and the pdf file will be created for you. See the next section if you already have the PostScript file and need to convert to PDF.

    Converting From PostScript to PDF

    You will need to do this if someone uses LaTex on the Unix system to generate their document. They will give you a ".ps" file to convert to PDF. To do this :

    1. Click on :
      • Start
      • Programs
      • Adobe Acrobat
      • Acrobat Distiller (Choose carefully, there are 4 different programs with similar names)
      A new Dialog Box will pop up labelled Acrobat Distiller
    2. click on :
      • File
      • Open

    Now you should choose the ".ps" file and click on Open The Distiller will ask you for a file name to save to. The "ps" at the end of the filename gets changed to "pdf" automatically, so you can just click Save Then the conversion takes place, when it is done you can exit the Distiller and then open the new PDF document by double clicking on it. Make sure that you look the document over carefully. You will need to compare the PDF document with the original file to make sure that the correct fonts are used and that there are no strange substitutions. We have had some cases where certain combinations of letters were replaced with symbols becuase of a lack of memory or lack of fonts. If you have any problems at this point have Dan or Chandra come over and help you.

    If you are happy with the look of the new PDF file you are finished!