Re: Postscript vs. PDF

Subject: Re: Postscript vs. PDF
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 1996 20:14:00 EST

At 12:30 PM 12/18/96 -0800, you wrote:

>We have not found Postscript files to be very portable. What printer driver
>do you use to create them? For our print vendor, we have to use a certain
>printer driver with certain print settings so that their Docutech can read it,
>but that same Postscript file will generate printing errors for most of our
>customers. We use a different printer driver (the most generic one we could
>find) and used the most generic print settings we could, and I still get
>complaints from a few customers that they get errors when they try to print
>it, especially European customers who use A4 paper. But the biggest problem
>our customers have is the size of the Postscript file. Most of the printers
>they are using to try to print out the document do not have enough memory to
>print a file that big. In fact, we can't print files that big on our in-house

>We've found PDF files to be a better solution. Even though the customer has
>to go through the extra step of downloading a (free) reader for them, they
>are far more portable. And, the customers can select a range of pages to print
>if their printer can't handle all the pages at once.

>Has anyone else had similar results with Postscript vs. PDF files?

Yep. PS files come in many, many flavors. The most vanilla driver I know is
the Seiko ColorPoint, but even that's not guaranteed. And PS files can be
gargantuan, often far too big for underpowered printers. You can spool them,
but that's often a pain. GhostScript can help, but only to a small degree.

PDF is indeed more portable and, unlike PS, it's compressed. Ironically, PDF
is actually closely related to PS. PDF has also become a favorite of many
printing firms, because it maintains good color definition along with font
and placement data. I use PDF often in Web pages, help files, and other
online applications when I want a single, minimized, compact file with
faithful reproduction. Sure, the reader has to be loaded, but that's a
one-time operation, and if you load Reader 3.0, you can plug it into
Netscape, too.

Tim Altom
Vice President, Simply Written, Inc.
317.899.5882 (voice) 317.899.5987 (fax)
FrameMaker support ForeHelp support
FrameMaker-to-HTML Conversions
HTML Help Consulting and Production

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