A lot of problems creating PDFs come from using the wrong printer to create the PDF or underlying printfile.
You should use Adobe's Distiller printer instance to create a PDF. This comprises the latest Adobe Postscript printer for your operating system plus the Distiller PPD.
Don't use an HP printer to create your PDF. PostScript, or otherwise.
Don't use a Xerox printer to create your PDF. PostScript or otherwise.
Note: If you are outputting to a service bureau, you might want to use something other than the Distiller printer instance. However, if you encounter problems with your particular PDFs, try using the official method with the Distiller printer to see whether any problems are limited just to your setup. If problems persist, you might have to create your PostScript output using one printer driver and the PDF using Adobe's Distiller printer instance.
Common problems include:
Black and white, or greyscale, PDFs created from color FrameMaker books and documents.
Distiller terminating the PDF creation process early, thus no PDF is created.
For lack-of-color problems, first check you don't have Spot as Black set in the Frame Print dialog.
Update the printer you are using to the latest Adobe PostScript printer driver version.
Uninstall the printer you are using to create PDFs and to reinstall the latest version from scratch.
Download the Adobe PPD. (PPD means PostScript Printer Description.) For Windows, this file is called Adobe.exe, because it is a self-extracting compressed file.
Uncompress/unzip the archived file to get the adistill.ppd file.
For FrameMaker 6 and Distiller 4, the ppd is on the FrameMaker CD-ROM, so insert the CD-ROM into your ROM drive. The Distiller file you need is adist4.ppd. On the FrameMaker Windows CD, this is in \Extras\Ppds\.
After you know where the ppd you need is (adistill.ppd for Acrobat 3 and adist4.ppd for Acrobat 4), install the latest Adobe PostScript driver for your OS.
Download the latest Adobe PostScript printer driver for your operating system.
After you download it, install the Adobe PostScript printer driver.
When prompted, select the PPD you found earlier (adist4.ppd or adistill.ppd).
When prompted set the printer you are installing as a local printer that prints to a file.
After you install the Distiller printer, you should be able to create PDFs from FrameMaker.
One final note. Trust me, if your PDFs are not color, and graphics in FrameMaker document were, and you want them to be color, you are probably using the wrong printer to create your PDF. Otherwise, Spot as Black in the Frame print dialog.
If you are having difficulty using FrameMaker's Save as PDF feature, try the printing method first. If the printing method works, then you are not setting a default up correctly for Save as.
Save as PDF works well but you must have your defaults set up before you run it. For example, the Distiller printer must be set as your default printer and Adobe Distiller must be pre-configured correctly.
These steps describe setting up the Distiller Printer *correctly* in Windows 2000. Use this printer (as the default or selected via File|Print) to make PDFs in Windows 2000. Thanks to Arnis for the lion's share of this info!
****Apply this technique and settings to your workflow.****
1) Uninstall the Distiller printer you have installed.
2) Insert your FrameMaker 6 CD. Cancel out of any autostart stuff.
FAQ: Creating PDF Files from FrameMaker Documents -- Why you should not use "save as PDF"! -- Windows & MacOS Only!
Dov Isaacs - 07:02pm Dec 6, 2001 Pacific
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:
(1) No PDF file is produced at all, possibly with a log file showing not-readily apparent PostScript errors during distillation.
(2) The PDF file "loses" color in images. All or some images (raster, bitmap images, NOT vector artwork) appear in the PDF file in grayscale.
(3) The resultant PDF file is on the wrong paper size, i.e., the document's logical page size does not match the output page size as seen in Acrobat or Acrobat Reader.
(4) Some or all text in the resultant PDF file is blotchy looking or overly bold.
(5) Some or all text in the resultant PDF file cannot be searched or indexed.
(6) Some or all text in the resultant PDF file appears in Courier or in some other substitution font.
(7) Interword or intercharacter spacing is a bit irregular in the resultant PDF file.
(8) Content is missing in the margin areas of the page, i.e. you cannot do full-page bleeds.
(9) Some or all page content is missing (other than margin areas).
(10) Relatively inefficient PDF is generated.
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:
Whether the printer supports color (Acrobat Distiller does)
What PostScript language level is supported (Acrobat Distiller 4.x and Acrobat Distiller 5.x are both PostScript language level 3)
Whether native TrueType support is available (Acrobat supports native TrueType as Type 42 fonts)
Available binary communications (Acrobat Distiller supports pure binary and ASCII, but NOT TCP, TBCP, or PJL)
Resident fonts (Acrobat Distiller doesn't really have resident fonts)
Available paper sizes and custom paper size availability (Acrobat Distiller supports a wide range of predefined sizes and continually variable "custom" sizes up to 200" by 200")
Margins / printable areas (for PDF and the Acrobat Distiller, there are no margins in which imaging is not permitted)
Device resolution (Acrobat Distiller can be set to any value from 72 to 4000 dpi; as a convenience, the Acrobat Distiller PPD provides a series of values for use by the driver. Since there is no inherent "resolution" of a PDF file, this parameter is used only for purposes of allowing PostScript programs that query for such a value to be satisfied and for the driver to be able to communicate this value to the operating system and/or application as required.)
Paper handling (totally irrelevant to Acrobat Distiller if input or output tray selection via "setpagedevice" is found in the PostScript stream, it is ignored by Acrobat Distiller)
Thus, if the wrong printer driver instance is selected (i.e., it isn't associated with the Acrobat Distiller PPD file) or that driver instance is improperly configured, improper PostScript will result and one or more of the symptoms described above can occur. As currently implemented, FrameMaker depending upon version will not necessarily choose the correct printer driver instance and/or correctly parameterize the print job via driver setup options. In fact, FrameMaker 5,5,6 might even try to generate PDF via calling a PCL driver, FAX driver, or even a non-PostScript inkjet printer!
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 joboptions 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 joboptions 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 joboptions 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.
Problems Creating a Single PDF from FrameMaker 6p405 and Acrobat 5.0.5
The problem is with Distiller 5.0.5 installed in Windows 2000 SP2 using the Universal installer 1.0.5.
From MS Word using PDFMaker and Distiller, all is well.
From FrameMaker 6p405, you cannot use Save as PDF at all, Distiller just fails to launch, and
File|Print _only_ lets you print separate PDFs; You cannot print the book as one PDF. Attempts to specify a printfile name in the print dialog box are met with a message box that says something like
"Cannot Print to Selected File."
The short of it is, for some Windows 2000 installations, the PDF port thing is broken. (I do have another Win2000 installation where it works well, I have no clue as to the differences.)
(2) There is a known problem with FrameMaker under Windows only in which text may disappear from the output page (i.e., selective text dropout) when printing to PostScript devices, including Acrobat Distiller. Unfortunately, the problem is NOT reproducible from system to system or document to document either user sites or within Adobe itself. What we do know is that the larger the logical page size in combination with higher resolution settings aggravates the problems (i.e., makes it more likely that you will actually see the symptom). It is for this reason that we most strongly recommend that you NEVER use a Windows PostScript printer driver setting higher than 600 dpi with FrameMaker. If necessary to print to a higher resolution device, create PDF first (with the Adobe Distiller / Adobe PDF PostScript printer driver instance set to no more than 600 dpi) and then do the final print from Acrobat / Adobe Reader to the actual print device. In the rare instances where there is still selective text dropout, set the driver resolution to 300 dpi. We know of no situations in which the selective text dropout persists at the 300 dpi setting. What are the ramifications of the lower resolution settings? The resolution of image data is not downsampled or degraded by this resolution setting. Nor is any damage done to vector graphics or the quality of text. What it does control for FrameMaker is the granularity of spacing, especially of text. Setting 600 dpi permits "only" 600 starting positions per inch and interword spacing in 1/600 inch increments. Images and vector graphics positioning is likewise limited to such increments. At 300 dpi, the value falls to 300 starting positions and 1/300 inch increments. Anything under 300 dpi is absolutely not recommended and could yield some rather gnarly text spacing. Again, we recommend you start at 600 dpi and stay with that if you have no problems. (Note also that 600 dpi gets around another Windows GDI bug in which text formatted in larger point sizes is converted to unhinted outlines. 600 dpi allow for text in pointsizes up to approximately 100 points to remain as text for printing purposes.)
(3) FrameMaker under Windows generates RGB PostScript via the Windows PostScript driver, based on GDI except for PostScript passed through from EPS (or PDF which is internally converted to EPS) placed in a FrameMaker document. There is NO standard method or available "plug-in" to get around this limitation and produce CMYK plus spot color PostScript. There are third party PostScript preprocessors and Acrobat plug-ins that can convert the RGB back to CMYK prior to or after distillation. Acrobat 7 Pro will provide you the facility to automatically convert RGB in your PostScript from FrameMaker or other GDI applications (such as Microsoft Office) to CMYK within the Distiller using ICC color management profiles.
(4) There is no such thing really as "Generic PostScript." PostScript as generated via the Windows PostScript driver is device dependent and specific. If you are generating PostScript for distillation, you should use the Acrobat Distiller (Acrobat 5) or Adobe PDF (Acrobat 6 and 7) PostScript printer driver instance generated by Acrobat when installed to print directly and automatically to the Distiller. In the worst case, you should be generating PostScript with a PostScript printer driver instance setup with the Acrobat Distiller PPD appropriate to the version of Distiller you are using. Otherwise, if you are printing PostScript "live" to a printer, you must use a PostScript printer driver instance configured with the PPD file specific to the device being printed to. That damnable "Generic PostScript" PPD in fact is for a brain-dead, PostScript Level 2, monochrome, 300 dpi device with limited page size definitions, no custom page size capability, large page margins, no TrueType support, etc. One of the largest sources of problems we encounter on this forum and on various e-mail lists I monitor are about problems with direct printing and/or PDF files generated using that $*&#(*$ "Generic PostScript" PPD. Make believe it doesn't exist.
Why using the correct PostScript printer matters from a post by Dov Isaacs on Nov. 20 2006 [Edited for audience by Sean]
On behalf of Adobe Systems Incorporated, printing to a PostScript printer driver instance based on some arbitrary PostScript printer model ([such as] a Tektronix Phaser 550J) redirected to the FILE: port is not recommended and highly discouraged for a number of important reasons.
PostScript as generated by the OS PostScript driver is highly device dependent with the device dependencies coming from the contents of the PPD file and any driver plug-ins provided by our OEMs for their model printers! You may end up with PostScript that will yield errors if redirected to another printer model, including the Acrobat Distiller, or with anomalies in the results, including bogus PDF.
Specifically, problems you can get into:
(1) Font Embedding. The printer model PPD files list upwards of 136 typefaces as resident in the printer. If you create PostScript for distillation that rely on this information, you may (but not necessarily) end up with weird font embedding problems, unexpected font substitutions, and/or PostScript errors.
(2) Color. Many of the OEM-specific driver enhancements (including those invoked in the PPD) yield results that are inappropriate for PDF files when such PostScript is distilled.
(3) Resolutions. The Distiller's PPD provides a range of resolutions by use of the driver that are appropriate for generation of PDF. A real printer's PPD gives either no such choice or limited choice.
(4) Page Sizes. The Distiller's PPD provides a remarkable range of available page sizes plus the ability to have custom page sizes up to 200"x200" (I think that is the limit with Acrobat 7). Such flexibility is not available when using a physical printer's PostScript printer driver instance and PPD (which limits you to paper sizes accepted by that printer model, including any manual feed trays).
(5) Margins. By definition, the entire physical PDF page may be imaged. This certainly is not true for the vast majority of actual printing devices for which the margins are set at anywhere from a few millimeters to up to a half inch around the page. Many of the my headers and footers are missing issues on this forum and on various Framer lists stem directly from attempts to print in these margins when using an inappropriate PostScript printer driver instance (especially the so-called Generic PostScript one). PDF doesn't have such margins and use of the proper PostScript printer driver instance assures that this particular problem does not occur!
[Nobody at] Adobe Tech Support [should] suggest that using a Tektronix Phaser 550J PostScript printer driver instance [or some other arbitrary PostScript printer model is] appropriate for generating PostScript for distillation into PDF. Such advice, if given, is absolutely wrong and not supported by Adobe Systems Incorporated.