Adobe PDF Workflow under Snow Leopard

My partner is a mad keen Macromedia Freehand user. This is one of the reasons she has been able (and prepared) to stick with her trusty old G4 iMac until now. It is also the reason our brand new iMac won’t be running Lion anytime soon.

So, when we got the new iMac, I had to setup Freehand so it worked. The next thing was to bring across all of her thousands of fonts. Tip: if fonts look jaggy, force the font cache to rebuild and restart.

Finally, we got to the stage where she was trying to create some PDFs. And since Adobe is not always the best OS citizen, we found the old way she used to create them no longer worked under Snow Leopard. Using the system PDF generator resulted in far inferior PDF quality: jaggy fonts, lines within curves.

Now, I get the feeling that the system isn’t at fault here, as it is very capable of creating PDF files of correct quality. Indeed, I was able to get high quality PDFs generated from other programs (and as we’ll see in a minute, even from files generated from Freehand). So, it seems that Freehand ‘knows’ this is a ‘preview’ version, and cuts the quality of data it sends.

Eventually, after much work, I found that creating a PostScript file worked okay, but the page size was incorrect. At this stage I had installed the printer driver for our old Epson Stylus PHOTO EX, which resulted in the print dialog box no longer showing all of the Freehand MX settings.

The final solution was to create an IPP printer, to localhost, that is called Adobe PDF. This is set to use the generic PostScript driver. All of a sudden, we are able to access the Freehand MX advanced settings in the print dialog, and create PostScript files that are the right size, and of suitable quality. She then either uses Preview or Acrobat Distiller to turn these into PDFs.