Acrobat’s Adobe PDF Printer Replaced in Snow Leopard
You’ve purchased a copy of the new Mac OS X version, Snow Leopard (10.6), and installed it on your computer. But the Adobe PDF Printer installed by Acrobat Pro isn’t working. For example, an early poster in the Adobe Acrobat Mac forum reported:
Attempting to print to PDF via Adobe PDF 9.0 printer/driver causes the printer/driver to fire up and the progress windows indicates that distiller launches, but after that, the prompt for where to save the PDF to never appears and the file in the print queue disappears.
What you need to know is that in Snow Leopard, the Acrobat team replaced the functionality of the Adobe PDF printer with an Automator function in the Print dialog called Save as Adobe PDF. It appears in the PDF menu at the bottom of the Print dialog.
Choosing this option opens a dialog where you can select an Adobe PDF setting and choose to launch Acrobat or another PDF reader. (When you used the Adobe PDF Printer, you needed to discover that you had to choose “PDF Options” from the unlabelled popup menu in the dialog to make these choices. Alternatively, you had to choose the PDF setting in Distiller ahead of time. Now the options are much more obvious.)
After making your choice, you’ll be prompted for a name for your PDF file and a location to save the file.
Why the change? An Adobe TechNote provides a brief explanation: “Mac OS X Snow Leopard (v10.6)’s enhanced security features prevent Adobe’s PDF Printer from functioning as it did in previous versions.” Leonard Rosenthol, Adobe’s PDF guru, provides additional details:
In a nutshell, Snow Leopard no longer supports the necessary OS features we need to install a Distiller-based printer. It’s just as well, as that print path (of PDF->PS->PDF) is REALLY SLOW and full of a HUGE number of bugs for many years now that we couldn’t fix due to how the Apple printing system works. With Snow Leopard, you now have a new PDF Workflow entry (the things in the PDF menu in the print dialog) called ‘Adobe PDF’ which will convert the Apple-based PDF into an Adobe-based PDF using your supplied/chosen Job Options. It does so via native PDF transcoding — no Postscript here!! So we still provide a method for creation of Adobe-quality PDFs, but it’s FASTER and MORE reliable!
A few more issues you should know about:
- For this new feature to work, you must upgrade to Acrobat 9.1.3, the current version (or at least Acrobat 9.1). Acrobat 9.0 and earlier didn’t have this new capability.
- If you upgrade from Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) to Snow Leopard (10.6), the Adobe PDF Printer installed by Acrobat 9 Pro is not removed. You’ll need to remove it yourself. To do so, choose Apple > System Preferences > Print & Fax. Select the printer “Adobe PDF 9.0” and click the minus (-) sign.
- If you install Acrobat 9 Pro new in Snow Leopard, and immediately upgrade to the current version (9.1.3), the Adobe PDF 9.0 print is not installed.
- Inevitably, since this is a new feature (and I suspect not very well tested), there are glitches. On one of my computers where I installed Snow Leopard, the feature worked a couple of days ago. Today, it’s failing in the PDF creation process with a crash. There are other reports of this in a thread on the Adobe Acrobat Mac forum. (If I get information on workarounds to solve these crashes, I’ll post it here.)
- If your printer requests that you use the largely outmoded workflow of creating PDF using Distiller, you’ll have to use the old method. First create a PostScript file, and then process it through Distiller to create the PDF file.