10 Replies Latest reply on Dec 10, 2010 6:51 AM by AugustOmalley

    PM 7/Distiller 5.0 suddenly not working!

    tkepner Level 1

      I've been happily using the combination of PageMaker 7.0 with Distiller 5.0 and Acrobat 5.0 for several years now, and a LOT lately. I'm generating books in PageMaker, printing them to a .ps file via "Distiller on Drive C:" (selected as the printer), then running Distiller 5.0 to create a .PDF file, and then using Acrobat to build the final book with with front and back covers and bookmarks. This works and delivers a product to the printer that never causes a problem.

       

      Today (!), after going through the normal "Security Updates" last night, the "Distiller on Drive C:" option was missing from the printer selection box in Pagemaker and instead was a "Print to PDF file" option. Using that gave me an absolute CRAP .pdf file with graphics that looked like they were done on an old Atari computer.

       

      I uninstalled and reinstalled Actobat 5.0 with Distiller, and there was my missing "Distiller on Drive C:", but it DOES NOT WORK. When I select it and hit print, it says starting printing, but nothing happens and I have to bomb out of PageMaker using Task Manager.

       

      What happened? How do I get back my working system? Spending hundreds of dollars on replacement software is NOT feasible for me at this point (and boy, do I resent having to spend money I can't afford to fix something that wasn't broken until someone else decided they would do something that was "for my own good"). Plus, there is no guarantee that the .pdf file will be to the specifications required by my printer and I end up wasting more money sending "update" files trying to fine-tune the output of the new program to deliver what I need (every update is a $$.$$ charge to my publisher account to pay for their people to process it).

       

      Thoughts, suggestions, anyone?

        • 1. Re: PM 7/Distiller 5.0 suddenly not working!
          CtDave Level 6

          "Security Updates" ??

           

          Last PageMaker update was late 90's & is a discontinued/no longer supported product.

          Last Acrobat 5.x update was 2002 or 2003. Also a discontinued/no longer supported product.

           

          Conceivably, an OS update could result in the problems you describe.

          But, such would not be an update from Adobe.

           

           

          Be well...

          • 2. Re: PM 7/Distiller 5.0 suddenly not working!
            tkepner Level 1

            I understand that, but that doesn't explain why reinstalling (and restarting the computer) doesn't restore everything to the way it was! Neither does it explain why things went bad in the first place. I mean, PageMaker wouldn't suddenly "uninstall" the "Acrobat Distiller on C:" and replace it with a "Print to .pdf file" option instead. Literally, the only change between a working PageMaker/Acrobat combination on Thursday (the last day I used the Print to Acrobat Distiller option) and this morning was last night's Microsoft update. That's what's so puzzling. The security update might have nothing to do with this problem, but it is a rather interesting point that before the update things worked and after they did not.

            • 3. Re: PM 7/Distiller 5.0 suddenly not working!
              CtDave Level 6
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              tkepner wrote:

               

              The security update might have nothing to do with this problem, but it is a rather interesting point that before the update things worked and after they did not.

               

              The only variable at play was this update.

              If possible, roll back/uninstall the update. Then test. Uninstall, install, walk through each application's available updates and re-establish custom configurations may be called for.

               

              Be well...

              • 4. Re: PM 7/Distiller 5.0 suddenly not working!
                ausiA

                The same happened to me, and it's still broken despite reinstalling.  I too am uninterested in paying several hundred dollars to replace a product that was working perfectly until a couple of days ago.  Try PDF995.  It's free and does perfectly well.

                • 5. Re: PM 7/Distiller 5.0 suddenly not working!
                  Bill@VT Level 7

                  Maybe I am missing something. The printer for AA5 is listed as the Acrobat Distiller printer. This is a print driver and not Acrobat Distiller itself. In newer versions of Acrobat it was renamed to be the Adobe PDF printer to probably reduce the confusion. I do not understand why you are producing a PS file and then using Distiller. If properly installed, you simply print to the Acrobat Distiller printer and you should end up with a PDF. The process uses AcroTray in the background to monitor the process and activate Distiller in the background to complete the conversion process to a PDF. Yes, a PS is produced in the process and then deleted. Since you have mentioned different names for the printers, I am not sure exactly what is going on. Prior to AA6, the printer was called the "Acrobat Distiller" printer. Maybe some of this helps.

                   

                  When uninstalling and reinstalling, be sure to use a registry cleaner (the one from MS is typically recommended, though MS no longer posts it) and delete the folders where the product was installed. Then reinstall. Often a repair will do the job.

                  • 6. Re: PM 7/Distiller 5.0 suddenly not working!
                    tkepner Level 1

                    Yes, you ARE missing something.

                     

                    > I do not understand why you are producing a PS file and

                    > then using Distiller. If properly installed, you simply

                    > print to the Acrobat Distiller printer and you should end

                    > up with a PDF."

                     

                    Sorry, but you are wrong. I've been using PageMaker since

                    version 1.0, and I started using Adobe Acrobat with Version

                    5, when it came out. Since then I have installed both

                    programs on multiple computer systems as I upgraded my

                    equipment, and every time the result was the same. So I

                    don't think I made a mistake in installation (once might be

                    true, but seven times?). I even tried a "30-day trial" with

                    Adobe Acrobat 9 and the process remained the same two-steps.

                     

                    The process for creating a PDF file when using PageMaker 6.5

                    and 7 involved TWO steps: First go to print in PM7, then

                    use the printer drop-down box to select "Acrobat Distiller

                    on C:foldername\filename.ps" (this creates a postscript file

                    on your HDD). Second, after that file is created, go into

                    Adobe Distiller, open and process that file to create a

                    finished .PDF file.

                     

                    I wish that I could have gone directly to PDF from PM5, PM6,

                    PM6.5, and PM7, but Adobe, not me, came up with this

                    two-step process. And it did (note the past tense there)

                    work. As I said, this isn't my solution, but the solution

                    provided by Adobe. If their solution is wrong, perhaps you

                    should tell them.

                     

                    If you want to go directly from PageMaker 7 to a PDF file

                    you have to choose Export, then PDF, from the PM7 file menu.

                    The problem here is that for some reason complex (read large

                    files with assorted graphics) tended to crash both programs.

                    Adobe technical support came up with the "use the

                    print-driver" approach.

                     

                    The last security update from Adobe changed that to Adobe

                    PDF. Choosing that resulted in a file that was unusable. The

                    graphics embedded in the file looked like hell.

                     

                    The problem is, with PM7 and AA6, I had a system that worked

                    perfectly for me. Adobe, for reasons that probably seemed

                    okay to them ("Ah, nobody uses those old programs, so we can

                    just render them unusable together") changed the way the

                    system worked and left me with a system that will not create

                    a usable PDF file, and will end up forcing me to spend

                    hundreds of dollars to buy a program I do not want.

                     

                    (unless there is some kind soul out there willing to sell me

                    their unused copy of InDesign 4 or 5 that they either no

                    longer need or have upgraded from...)

                     

                    Terry

                    • 7. Re: PM 7/Distiller 5.0 suddenly not working!
                      Bill@VT Level 7

                      > Sorry, but you are wrong. I've been using PageMaker since version 1.0, and I started using Adobe Acrobat with Version 5, when it came out.

                       

                      Ever since Adobe introduced the Acrobat Distiller printer (now listed as the Adobe PDF printer), If you use the print window to those packages and use as installed (it prints to the Adobe PDF port, not to file), then AcroTray that runs in the background will not the PS file produced and run Distiller in the background to complete the PDF. PM may do something a bit different, but that is the Acrobat process. I am not sure if the same process goes all the way back to AA1, but it was there with AA4 at least and I have been doing it that way for well over 10 years, or is it 20 years. Of course, printing to file as a PS (or PRN) file and opening the file in Distiller accomplishes the same thing, other than maybe a bit more automation in the location of files and deletion of the PS file on completion. I believe PM has an export process that may work differently, but I do not have PM to say one way or the other. The standard installation with AA5 installs the Acrobat Distiller printer (a print driver, not the Distiller program) directed to the PDF Port. It also installs AcroTray as a program running in the background (and part of the start up) that manages the use of the PDF Port to complete the print process. I was just mentioning this because a 1 step process makes it a bit easier.

                       

                      > The process for creating a PDF file when using PageMaker 6.5 and 7 involved TWO steps: First go to print in PM7, then use the printer drop-down box to select "Acrobat Distiller on C:foldername\filename.ps" (this creates a postscript file on your HDD). Second, after that file is created, go into Adobe Distiller, open and process that file to create a finished .PDF file.

                       

                      The default to print to the PDF Port, not to "C:foldername\filename.ps" unless you select print to file.

                       

                      > I wish that I could have gone directly to PDF from PM5, PM6, PM6.5, and PM7, but Adobe, not me, came up with this two-step process. And it did (note the past tense there) work. As I said, this isn't my solution, but the solution provided by Adobe. If their solution is wrong, perhaps you should tell them.

                       

                      There is a chance this is something to do with PM, but for Acrobat, it is a 1 step process unless you make a change (did PM?)

                       

                      > If you want to go directly from PageMaker 7 to a PDF file you have to choose Export, then PDF, from the PM7 file menu. The problem here is that for some reason complex (read large files with assorted graphics) tended to crash both programs. Adobe technical support came up with the "use the print-driver" approach.

                       

                      Large files with graphics can be a problem in any case if you are not careful about the amount of space in the TEMP folder (MS limits this). Large graphics are indeed printed to a PS file that can be huge before the conversion process to PDF. I do not know how the export works and won't go further on the issue.

                       

                      > The last security update from Adobe changed that to Adobe PDF. Choosing that resulted in a file that was unusable. The graphics embedded in the file looked like hell.

                       

                      The Adobe PDF printer name change was introduced with AA6 and there was some functionality change also. Now you can set the job settings and such in the application or in the printer itself. The standard job settings are not all that great, but should be adequate. Many of the Acrobat packages of problems with various types of graphics at times. I am not a graphics guy, but have noticed it. I do reduce my Display Resolution in the printer properties to 300 dpi (others recommend 600 dpi) to get around some sampling issues that I had with 1 pixel graphics that looked terrible with the default 1200 dpi.

                       

                      I will try to go back to your eariler posts and see if I have any ideas for your basic problem. Other than the selection of the job settings file, I am not sure what else at this point. You might try the Press or Print settings in the printer properties.

                      • 8. Re: PM 7/Distiller 5.0 suddenly not working!
                        Bill@VT Level 7

                        Trying on this original post. I am not sure what security update you did -- PM, Acrobat, or both.The last AA5 update was AA5.0.10 in 2004, though the program will still show AA5.0.5.

                         

                        The Adobe PDF printer is part of AA6 later. The way you are getting it, it sounds like PM is setting it up rather than using the standard Acrobat setup. If PM installed the Adobe PDF printer, that may be why you are having problems -- that is if Distiller is not compatible with the printer. The Distiller that goes with AA5 will also show up with the Acrobat 5.0.5 listing in the About Distiller screen. It sure sounds like something got changed with PM (also leading to a different 2 step printing process that is not normal for Acrobat, though can still be used by printing to file).

                         

                        Just to point out the settings I mentioned in my earlier post, I am including 3 graphics from the printer setup. The first shows the port; the second the diplay resolution; and the last the basic print screen.

                        ADprinter.jpg

                        DisplayResolution.jpg

                        Printer.jpg

                        I suspect that there is some selection of the job settings that is causing you grief, unless the printer module installed by PM has done some strange things.

                         

                        Hope these two posts help in some way. You sound a bit frustrated.

                        • 9. Re: PM 7/Distiller 5.0 suddenly not working!
                          tkepner Level 1

                          Yes, I am frustrated.

                           

                          Several things. First. Install PM7 on a computer, then

                          install AA5. Odd thing happens (according to what you say)

                          THERE IS NO PDF PRINTER LISTED IN THE PRINTER DROP-DOWN LIST

                          IN PM7! Got that? NO PDF PRINTER IS LISTED IN THE PRINT

                          OPTIONS OF PM7! the only thing listed there from Adobe says

                          "Adobe Acrobat Distiller on C:\Documents and Settings\All

                          users...." So, explain to me how I can "choose" the PDF

                          printer when it DOESN'T APPEAR! This was true for me when I

                          used WindowsME and WindowsXP, and includes the XP laptop I

                          bought two years ago with a 60GB HDD and 2GB of RAM, so I

                          don't believe Windows was interfering due to memory or disk

                          limitations.

                           

                          If you had PM6, PM6.5, PM7, etc., and you had AA5, the ONLY

                          way to get a viable PDF file is the process I've described

                          to you. You might not like this fact, it may not be what you

                          expect, but it is a fact. And telling me that what I've been

                          doing for almost ten years isn't the way the programs work

                          is not helpful. As I said, this is the solution given to me

                          by ADOBE TECHNICAL SUPPORT! So, if I was doing it the wrong

                          way, then so was ADOBE TECHNICAL SUPPORT.

                           

                          As to the issue of security upgrades, recently ADOBE

                          announced a security problem with Adobe Acrobat and PDF

                          files that goes back several generations of software

                          (perhaps back to the the PDF 1.0 standard), and that they

                          wouls soon make a security update to fix this problem.

                           

                          Not too long after that, the date of my first post will tell

                          you the exact day, on a Tuesday-night regular security

                          update, something changed. Whatever changed, it was global

                          in affect on Adobe products, not just recent versions (note

                          that neither AA5 nor PM7 are supported by Tech Support at

                          Adobe, so I can't go to them and ask how to fix things).

                           

                          I tried to use the Adobe PDF printer that suddenly showed up

                          in place of the normal "Adobe Acrobat Distiller on

                          C:\Documents and Settings\All users...." that I used to see,

                          but the finished file was unusable to me (page size was

                          wrong (8 1/2x 11 instead of the 6x9 I normally specify in

                          PM7, the graphics were terrible, etc.).

                           

                          Your screen shots are informative, but are not relevant

                          because they are not what you see from inside PM7. And

                          neither are they what you see when you load Distiller 5.0

                          and set up the specifications you want the job to follow

                          (font lists, Page size, compatibility, resolution,

                          compression, whethet you want the job ticket specs to

                          over-ride the Adobe 5 defaults you've set, etc). If the

                          defaults you show are correct, then the PDF Printer is

                          totally unsuited for my needs as it has far too few options

                          for my needs.

                           

                          I want my previous work arrangement back!

                           

                          Barring that, know anyone who has an old version of InDesign

                          that they want to sell cheap? Apparently, the only way I can

                          get the finished PDF files I need is with InDesign (and I am

                          NOT looking forward to the THOUSANDS of files I'm going to

                          have to convert to InDesign, and the weeks of time -- not to

                          mention lost income -- as I do that.

                           

                          Terry

                           

                          P.S., Despite of my pissy attitude here, I do appreciate you

                          looking at the problem. From emails I've received, I'm not

                          the only one with this issue.

                          • 10. Re: PM 7/Distiller 5.0 suddenly not working!
                            AugustOmalley

                            This issue may be dead, but having just encountered the thread I thought I would add some (hopefully) beneficial information.  I too have used the PM7 - Distiller 5 combination for many years as a two step process.

                             

                            Here are my thoughts:

                            1. The two step process may be rooted in the appearance that the version 5 distiller seemed to be written with a batch approach rather than a single file approach; I say this because the distiller uses a "watched" folder setting and will automatically take anything appearing in that folder and distill it.  It works well with .ps files as well as .rtf which is very useful if your source is MS Word.  I suspect that since the coding approach was with this batch mentality that it didn't seem necessary to install a "printer" item since the point was that files to be distilled would be placed in this watched folder.
                            2. My approach was this.  I set up an instance of an HP LaserJet 4 PS printer and set that printer's port to be a file.  I believe I got a better quality .pdf because of the print codes added by the HP Laserjet driver, which subsequently were incorporated into the final .pdf that the distiller produced.  Does that make sense?  My point, I think that the two step process did indeed improve my final output.

                             

                            This part is just about my particular implementation if you are interested, otherwise the only other thing I have to offer is a suggested fix at the end.

                             

                            How I used it:

                            I had VBA code in access that output my report (hundreds of them - customer statements) to this virtual LaserJet.  As each .rtf was generated in the "in" folder that the distiller was watching, it would get tranformed into a .pdf and distiller would automatically move it to an "out" folder (Distiller actually forced the creation of an "in" and "out" folder inside of what ever folder I defined as being the folder to watch); my code simply looked for the presence of the .pdf to know it was done at which point it moved the .rtf to an archive.  It took about 5 seconds per report and worked beautifully.

                             

                            My suggestion for a fix...

                            I hope this doesn't seem like I am trivializing the issue, I absolutely get the poster's pain... but having had to do this, I suggest the most simple of all approaches; why not just take a different machine, any old machine (if you don't have one, buy one used - you could probably get something to fill the need for under $50 out of the classifieds), then install your PM7-distiller 5 combo fresh and use it to create your final product?  Yes, you would have to move files from your "real" workstation to your "distiller" station everytime you were ready to make your .pdf, but you would probably be up and running in just an hour or two.