Installing Adobe Acrobat and related files, including the Distiller PostScript Printer.
What does Adobe Acrobat Comprise? Adobe Acrobat comprises four critical components.
1) The Distiller printer. This virtual printer that only ever prints to file installs in your Printers and Faxes folder. When printing to PDF, this needs to be your default printer or the printer you choose. This printer creates a device-independent PostScript file.
2) Acrobat Distiller, the software. Distiller, the software, takes the device-independent PostScript file created by the Distiller printer and makes the PDF.
3) Adobe Acrobat, the software, lets you view and edit PDFs, and create PDF forms. Acrobat is not publishing or word-processing software, so wholesale edits should not be attempted in Acrobat; you should keep your source files for such work (source files being those files from which you printed the PDF).
4) PDFMaker is a macro that installs a menu and two buttons in Microsoft Word and other Microsoft Office products. This macro is the only way to create bookmarks in a PDF from Word documents.
What about PDFWriter? PDFWriter is junk. Dont install it. It is non-PostScript technology based loosely on Acrobat version 3 technology. PDFWriter does not install by default in Acrobat 5. The only thing PDFWriter is good for is some automatic, programming-based PDF generation.
Why the Distiller PostScript printer? Well, creating PDFs is not a conversion process, it is a PostScript-printing process. The Distiller printer creates device-independent PostScript, whereas the PostScript printer driver that came with your HP, Canon, or other real printer is device-dependent; that is, it has built-in limitations that pertain to the device in question. Device-dependent PostScript can cause issues when printed from other printing devices and can cause other problems, like color shifts, lack of color, lack of hypertext, etc. The Distiller PostScript printer is a virtual printer, it only ever prints to file. The Distiller Printer is the only printer supported by Adobe for printing PDFs.
2) Set up your Acrobat Distiller job options. You need to set up job options in Acrobat Distiller to tailor your PDF for your intended audience. Read the Acrobat documentation for more on these options, but for general use, these should do fine:
a) Open Adobe Distiller.
b) Choose Settings > Job Options.
c) In the General tab, set the following:
Compatibility is your call. I use Acrobat 4.0
Select Optimize for Fast Web View
Auto-Rotate Pages = Individually
Resolution = 600 dpi (this might change if you go to press, for example)
d) Click the Compression tab.
e) For Color and Grayscale Images, set the following:
Clear the check boxes for Downsampling
Use ZIP Compression
Use 8-bit Quality
f) For Monochrome images, set the following:
Use Bicubic Downsampling to 300 dpi for images above 450 dpi
Use CCITT Group 4 Compression
Clear the Anti-Alias to Gray check box
Select the Compress Text and Line Art check box
g) Click the Fonts tab, and set the following:
Select the Embed All Fonts check box
Select the Subset embedded fonts . . . check box and set the value to 100%
Select Cancel Job in the When Embedding Fails list
Delete any and all fonts from the Always and Never Embed boxes
h) Click the Color tab and set the following:
Choose None for a Settings File
Choose to Leave Color Unchanged with an Intent of Default
Select Preserver Overprint Settings
Select Preserve Undercolor Removal
Clear Preserve Halftone Information
i) Click the Advanced tab, and set the following:
Select all check boxes except ASCII Format and Log DSC Warnings; those two options should be deselected.
j) Click Save as and save your joboptions file for future use.
3) Select the joboptions file in the various locations that it needs to be used:
a) Open Microsoft Word. Click the Acrobat menu and choose Change Conversion Settings. In the Conversion Settings list, choose your joboptions file.
b) Open Control Panel > Printers and Faxes. Right-click the Distiller printer and select Properties. Select General tab > Printing Preferences > Adobe PDF Settings, and choose your joboptions file from the Conversion Settings list. Click Apply and OK.
c) Select Advanced tab > Printing Defaults > Adobe PDF Settings, and choose your joboptions file from the Conversion Settings list. Click Apply and OK.
d) You are done setting up the Distiller printer; click OK to close the printer properties.
e) Open Acrobat Distiller, the program, from your Start > All Programs menu.
f) Make sure your joboptions file is selected in the Job Options list.
g) Use File > Exit to close Acrobat Distiller.
Note: If you change your job options, remember there are four locations you need to check the change: Acrobat Distiller the program, Microsoft Words PDFMaker, and two locations in the Distiller printer properties.
A PPD is a PostScript Printer Description file. It is used to tell the PostScript printer driver the options a PostScript printer has. That is, all PostScript printers use the same PostScript driver with a PPD file to differentiate them and add specific features. Such as, the PPD for a color printer permits printing in color, whereas the PPD for a monochrome printer does not. The Distiller printer you must use to create PDFs uses a specific PPD: the Distiller PPD.
The Distiller printer you must use to create your PostScript, from which the PDF is created, comprises the correct Adobe/Microsoft PostScript driver for your operating system plus the Distiller PPD. For Acrobat 5, this file is called Adist5.ppd.
For Acrobat 5, the correct PPD is set up automatically by the Acrobat installation--but the selection of Adist4.ppd was manual in Acrobat 4.
For Acrobat version 4.x (4.05 is required for Windows 200, btw), during the Distiller printer installation, you are prompted for the PPD . . . and are presented by default with the "Generic" one.
Instead of making that wrong selection, you have to browse your FrameMaker or Acrobat CD for Adist4.ppd.
For Acrobat version 3 (3.02 and 3.01RA were the last versions of that old product), the PPD was downloadable from
In Win2k/XP, you can find which PPD you are using by opening your Distiller printer properties.