Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Creating PDFs in Ubuntu

In my previous posting, I outlined a method for creating PDFs in Windows using PDF Creator, which works as a PDF printer.

This idea of creating PDF by printing to PDF is also the basic way for creating PDFs in Ubuntu. Earlier versions of Ubuntu use the cups-pdf option to print PDF (cups = Common Unix Printing System).

In Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid) and 9.04 (Jaunty), the "official" or "preferred" option is to select print, and then the "Print to File" option, which in turns opens up a dialog box. In the dialog box, under the "Output Format" click the radio button for PDF. You can also select the name of your file and the folder where you want the PDF file to be "printed" or "saved" to.

If you are a diehard fan of cups-pdf, you can still manually install cups-pdf as follows:
  1. Install cups-pdf (use the Synaptic Package Manager if you aren't comfortable using the sudo command line in terminal mode).

  2. Under System>Administration>Printing, select "New" and "Printer" and add the cups-pdf printer (for driver, select the "Generic Postscript Printer driver.")

  3. Finally, you have to create a PDF folder (all caps) in your Places>Home (the PDF folder is the fixed output folder for the cups-pdf printer). Ubuntu 8.10 and newer no longer automatically provide the PDF folder, as was the case in Ubuntu 8.04 and older. I would also recommend that you consider creating a shortcut/alias/link of this folder to your desktop for easy access.
Unlike the "Print to File" option, the cups-pdf printer option does not give you the ability to name your own file name for the pdf output file. Unless you are a diehard cups-pdf fan, I think the "Print to File" option is the preferred way to go for Ubuntu 8.10 and newer.

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