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About PDF files

Version: 3.x, 4.x, 5.x - Scientific WorkPlace, Scientific Word, & Scientific Notebook

Portable Document Format, or PDF, files, can be read across platforms with their original appearance intact. With PDF files, you can preserve the final appearance of your text, mathematics, plots, and other graphics. Particularly useful for sharing typeset documents, PDF files can enhance professional communication.

You can create PDF files in Version 5.x of SWP and SW directly from your document with no additional software required. With earlier versions of SWP and SW and with any version of SNB, you can create PDF files from your SWP, SW, and SNB documents as described here.

You can create PDF files of documents using non-Roman character sets, such as Japanese or Korean, using XeTeX, an adaptation of TeX that is available with TeX Live.

Adobe Acrobat Distiller

With Version 3 or 4, it is recommended that you use Adobe Acrobat Distiller to create PDF files from your SWP, SW, or SNB documents. Using Adobe PDFWriter can result in font problems and is not recommended.

You can find step-by-step instructions for creating PDF files with Adobe Acrobat Distiller on our website. You may also want to investigate alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Distiller.

Font issues

Note that special fonts used for math and other objects are not rendered properly when Acrobat PDFWriter is used to create a PDF file and Adobe Acrobat Reader 5 used to view the PDF files. The fonts are rendered properly using the same PDF file and viewed using Adobe Acrobat Reader 3. If Acrobat Distiller is used to create the PDF file instead of using Acrobat PDFWriter, the problem does not occur. This reinforces the recommendation to avoid using Acrobat PDFWriter to create PDF files from your documents.

The types of fonts used in the PDF file can be determined when the file is open in Acrobat Reader. Select File, Document Info, Fonts for the list of fonts used by the file and the font types. It has been observed that Type 3 fonts will be embedded when using Acrobat Distiller with the default resolution. Increase the resolution, for example to 2400 dpi, and then Type 1 fonts will be embedded in the PDF file.

Benedikt Halldorsson from SUNY at Buffalo reports that after trying various things, the best solution was to print the document to a file using the DPM2000 print driver and then distill the file using Acrobat Distiller. Fonts are rendered correctly, as are graphics.

The NSF website provides a useful FAQ concerning embedded fonts. An error message stating that the font "cannot be embedded due to a licensing restriction" is specific to Adobe Acrobat 4.0, which restricts font embedding unless the font explicitly allows fonts to be embedded Acrobat 4.05, the update to 4.0, is less restrictive. It restricts font embedding only for those fonts that explicitly restrict their fonts from being embedded. Adobe 4.05 ships free of charge to registered Acrobat 4.0 users. Adobe Acrobat 3.x does not check for licensing restrictions.

For additional information about this problem, see PDFZone.

NSF grants

If you're preparing a grant for the National Science Foundation, you must create PDF files that use only embedded Type 1 fonts. In SWP, SW, and SNB, you can accomplish that by using a typesetting style that uses the Times New Roman font. You can either use a Style Editor style that uses the Times New Roman font scheme or you can add the times and/or mathtime packages to a document that uses a standard LaTeX typesetting style.

The NSF suggests that you use Adobe Distiller 3.01 or higher instead of Adobe PDFWriter. If you're using Adobe Acrobat 4.0, you must choose the compatibility option for the lower version, that is, 3.0x, within the setting for Acrobat 4.0. Use the profile file suggested by NSF. See for more useful hints.

Alternatives to Acrobat Distiller

You may also be able to create PDF files using the software listed below; many other similar products are available. Note that we haven't tried the products mentioned, but they may work successfully with your files.

  • Ghostscript

    You can find instructions on the Computer Support Page maintained by Philip A. Viton from Ohio State University Department of City and Regional Planning.

  • PDF Writer Pro

    The program installs itself as a Windows printer driver so that Windows applications running on Windows 98/Me/2000 and XP, such as SWP, SW, and SNB, can create PDF files from any document.

  • pdfFactory

    The program creates PDF files without Acrobat.

  • PDFcamp(pdf writer)

    The program operates as a printer driver and converts any type of printable Windows document to a universally accepted PDF file.

  • deskPDF

    The program creates PDF files from any application that supports Windows printing.

See also

Last revised 07/09/07

The information in this frame was created with Scientific WorkPlace.

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