[Solved] Difference between Export to PDF and print to PDF?

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[Solved] Difference between Export to PDF and print to PDF?

Postby prr » Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:35 am

To those of you who have used your operating system's print to PDF function, as well as AOO export to PDF: have you found any difference in results?

I earlier tried MS Office' export to PDF, and found that the PDFs were not always displayed properly (or at all) when web browsers were trying to view them. So I stopped using this, and went back to the OS print to pdf in the printer.

How does AOO PDF export do? All I would be doing would be taking files that are primarily text, with perhaps a small picture---one to ten pages of text, max---and saving them as PDF. I'd hate to use this, saving dozens of files, only to find later on that they aren't being displayed properly.
Last edited by Hagar Delest on Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: tagged [Solved].
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Re: Comparisons between Export to PDF and print to PDF?

Postby RusselB » Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:48 am

I've used the Export to PDF many times, with no difficulties, even when the recipient was using very old PDF readers (ie: Adobe Acrobat 5.x)
I hadn't even thought of doing Print to PDF until I read your post. After a quick check, I find that my system doesn't have that option installed, thus, for me, there is no way to easily make a comparison.
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Re: Comparisons between Export to PDF and print to PDF?

Postby prr » Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:03 am

I mentioned Print to PDF as an OS operation; until Windows 10, I've actually had to install utilities that do that (10 came with one), so I didn't mean to imply that it came pre-installed.
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Re: Comparisons between Export to PDF and print to PDF?

Postby keme » Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:39 am

In my experience (having used PDF export quite a bit in OO, and only a few times in MSO):
  • Virtual printer solutions (print to PDF), whether OS-integrated or installed, tend to do a better job with graphics (color separation) and text alignment (in particular if you use "flaky" fonts) than PDF export does.
  • PDF export from the Office apps tends to do a better job with document structure (bookmarks, sectioning, clickable cross references) and file properties/hints (selecting PDF-reader interface, "open with bookmarks", font embedding) than virtual printers do.
So...
  • If you are publishing online for download, use PDF export from the application.
  • If you are submitting your work to a print shop, try virtual print first.
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Re: Comparisons between Export to PDF and print to PDF?

Postby abeylord » Tue Apr 05, 2016 11:38 am

Using InDesign CS6, I regularly create booklets of anywhere from 8, 12, 16 to 32 pages for offset printing.

For this I typically use the Print Booklet module, set to create a PDF file at Press Resolution.

Occasionally I have a single or double-sided insert for which I generate a separate PDF, using the Export to PDF module, with the same Press Resolution setting. I noticed that these 'single page' PDFs look markedly different than the PDFs created with the Print Booklet function - which are far superior in terms of contrast.

To make things even stranger, the Print Booklet function generates files that are significantly smaller than the Export function PDF files.
http://www.pass4sureusa.com/itilfnd-exa ... dumps.html
My workaround has been to create a 4-page "booklet" with the same material on each of the pages, and then delete the superfluous pages from this booklet. This does not make any sense.
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Re: Comparisons between Export to PDF and print to PDF?

Postby prr » Tue Apr 05, 2016 1:39 pm

keme wrote:In my experience (having used PDF export quite a bit in OO, and only a few times in MSO):
  • Virtual printer solutions (print to PDF), whether OS-integrated or installed, tend to do a better job with graphics (color separation) and text alignment (in particular if you use "flaky" fonts) than PDF export does.
  • PDF export from the Office apps tends to do a better job with document structure (bookmarks, sectioning, clickable cross references) and file properties/hints (selecting PDF-reader interface, "open with bookmarks", font embedding) than virtual printers do.
So...
  • If you are publishing online for download, use PDF export from the application.
  • If you are submitting your work to a print shop, try virtual print first.


Very interesting. As I said I'd be making short documents/charts, that others would be downloading or viewing in their browser. I'd definitely be interested more in graphics and text, than I would in bookmarks or clickable cross references---I don't recall putting any of those in these PDFs that I'm making. But it also sounds like you have gotten good results from both. I'm just trying to avoid a goofup where i post a file online, and then a month later, hear that because of some glitch or another, someone can't view it in their browser.
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Re: Comparisons between Export to PDF and print to PDF?

Postby John_Ha » Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:31 pm

In Windows, the File > EXport, and the icon to create a PDF, are the same, except File > Export ... gives you access to the settings which you can change. The settings revealed by File > Export are used by the icon Create PDF.

In Apple Mac there are differences. I forget exactly but it seems as though one gives a standard, Windows like PDF, whereas the other uses glyphs? ligatures? so the two characters "if" or the three characters "iff" are replaced by the single character "if" or "iff" respectively. I suspect this harks back to Apple being used by designers in the early days.
Last edited by John_Ha on Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Comparisons between Export to PDF and print to PDF?

Postby John_Ha » Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:35 pm

Also note that if you don't embed the fonts in a PDF, and the user does not have font which is being used, then her PC will use a substitute font, and the result will look different to her. Embedding fonts increases the PDF file size.

Have you thought about the PDF/A-1a option which creates an archival quality PDF (perhaps with fewer functions??), with fonts embedded, which should always be readable on any system.

PDF/A-1a
Converts to the PDF/A-1a format. This is defined as an electronic document file format for long term preservation. All fonts that were used in the source document will be embedded into the generated PDF file. PDF tags will be written.
Last edited by John_Ha on Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Comparisons between Export to PDF and print to PDF?

Postby prr » Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:41 pm

John_Ha wrote:Also note that if you don't embed the fonts in a PDF, and the user does not have font which is being used, then her PC will use a substitute font, and the result will look different to her. Embedding fonts increases the PDF file size.

Have you thought about the PDF/A-1a option which creates an archival quality PDF, with fonts embedded, which should always be readable on any system.


I just checked, and didn't see where I could enable that option (to embed the fonts, or to use the /A-1A options).
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Re: Comparisons between Export to PDF and print to PDF?

Postby John_Ha » Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:43 pm

prr wrote:I just checked, and didn't see where I could enable that option (to embed the fonts, or to use the /A-1A options).

File > Export as PDF ... see my earlier post.
Last edited by John_Ha on Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Comparisons between Export to PDF and print to PDF?

Postby RoryOF » Tue Apr 05, 2016 2:44 pm

On the first page of /File /Export as PDF dialog, on the right.
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Re: Comparisons between Export to PDF and print to PDF?

Postby prr » Tue Apr 05, 2016 6:48 pm

Got it. I had only accessed the export feature by clicking on the button in the toolbar. I have it now.

Thanks.
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Re: [Solved] Difference between Export to PDF and print to P

Postby John_Ha » Wed Apr 06, 2016 5:35 pm

... and there are "virtual printers which write PDF files" like PrimoPDF which have lots of controls and differing qualities of output PDF.
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Re: [Solved] Difference between Export to PDF and print to P

Postby prr » Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:43 pm

John_Ha wrote:... and there are "virtual printers which write PDF files" like PrimoPDF which have lots of controls and differing qualities of output PDF.


My concern really wasn't with tinking with settings. I've always had great luck with virtual printers making PDF files. I was just wondering if my experience with MS Office export to pdf function was mirrored by folks here with the AOO equivalent. It appears that it wasn't.
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