Hack 20 Printing to PDF or Bitmapped Image


Printing to PDF or bitmapped TIFF image under OS X is built right in, available to almost any application with Print functionality.

OS X's reliance on PDFs for everything from the Dock to Print Preview presents quite a boon when it comes to PDF viewing support and the creation of simple PDFs. While it's something that ordinarily requires specialized software, printing to PDF or bitmapped TIFF image under OS X is built right in, available to almost any application with the ability to print.

From your application, choose Print ? almost always File Print or figs/command.gif-P. In the Print dialog, select the application-specific settings from the pull-down menu (Copies & Pages should be selected by default) and make any adjustments you wish. These range from simple font selection to Internet Explorer's wide-page handling and control over the inclusion of headers and footers, images, and backgrounds. Some applications make their options available outside of the Print dialog via an Option button. When you're ready, rather than being tempted by the pulsating Print button, click Preview (see Figure 3-12).

Figure 3-12. Internet Explorer's Print dialog

If Print Preview's more visual way of adjusting options is more your game ? and is available to you in the application at hand ? go right ahead. When you're finished, click Print in the Print Preview dialog followed by Preview in the Print dialog and you're back with the class.

Previews are handled, appropriately enough, by the Preview application, the lightweight PDF viewer that comes with OS X. You'll see a fresh, piping hot PDF of whatever it was you were printing. To save the PDF, select File Save As PDF . . . , rename Preview of whatever.pdf to something nicer, select your preferred save location, and click the Save button. Don't worry about that .pdf file extension [Hack #6]; if you lop it off, OS X will kindly stick it back on for you.

If you prefer to save the preview as a bitmapped TIFF image, select instead File Save As . . . or the key combination Shift-figs/command.gif-S.

Of course, using a specialized application like Adobe Acrobat for your PDF creation and editing needs provides much more fine-grained control over text formatting, image scaling, margins, indenting, and the like. If, however, you just want to quickly package up a web page for offline viewing [Hack #86] or a rough cut of your latest brochure for a friend without needing anything but a PDF viewer, Save As PDF in Preview sure does the trick.