Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Tue Mar 4 09:30:36 EST 2008

Le 4 mars 08 à 14:04, Herbert Schulz a écrit :

> A temporary work around is to print the files that crash Preview  
> (actually a lower level print facility which then crashes Preview,  
> TeXShop, etc.) using Adobe Reader. I choke every time I have to say  
> that. :-(

Warning: following is entirely OT stuff.

Regarding Adobe software, I have just last week been faced with  
another flaw, though to be fair one must admit Microsoft is at least  
as much to blame as Adobe on this issue.

Imagine you collaborate with several other people on a document (say a  
research proposal), for which a template is provided in Word DOC  
format and the completed document has to be submitted in PDF format  
(these document formats are mandatory and cannot be negotiated). So  
you prepare and polish the document using Word, in its latest Office  
2008 for the Mac incarnation, taking care to insert a table of  
contents, bookmarks, navigation through hyperlinks.

At the end of the process you attempt to create the PDF file:

- Using Save As from Word, and choosing the PDF format: one PDF file  
is created per section of the document (some were portrait and other  
landscape), and all hyperlinks, bookmarks and navigation is lost.

- Printing to PDF file from the Print dialog: same as above.

Thus you go back to Adobe Acrobat Professional, and go to Help >  
Repair Acrobat Install (approximate translation from the French) to  
install in Office applications the PDFMaker toolbar. Then start Word  
again: the PDFMaker toolbar is nowhere to be seen.

After some googling, it turns out the sad truth is: the PDFMaker tools  
were Visual Basic macros taking care of all the additional post- 
processing that's required to transform an Office document into a  
fully functional PDF document (assembling sections, recreating  
hyperlinks as needed, etc.), but unfortunately Visual Basic has been  
dropped in Office 2008.

It's rumored that Adobe might be working on a re-implementation of  
PDFMaker in AppleScript for the next version of Acrobat, specially for  
Mac people (personally I doubt it, given Adobe's past record of  
seemingly considering Mac users as second-rate customers compared with  
Windows users), or that Microsoft might add Visual Basic back to  
Office 2008 at some point. Let's see!

Workaround for now:

- Ask a colleague with a Vista PC, Office 2007 for Windows and Acrobat  
Pro, to perform the PDF creation. That's what I did eventually, a few  
hours before the deadline, and it worked perfectly.

- Import the DOC file in NeoOffice and export to PDF from there. The  
PDF export works flawlessly, but the DOC import doesn't: some  
elaborate table design is a bit shaken, and because of slightly  
different font metrics probably the line and page breaks are also  

While we're at it, two other niceties:

- The project coordinator who performed the PDF submission at the end  
of the process, at the web site on which the submission ought to be  
performed, reported that submission using Mozilla failed (the PDF file  
was reported to be invalid) and it is only after a few hours of last- 
minute panic that he realized Internet Explorer was possibly required  
(suddenly with it the PDF file became valid). And that's for the web  
site of a governmental research funding agency. Shame on them!

- Disconnected from the above: to access online scientific periodicals  
through the local university library I have to set web browsers to use  
a proxy auto-config (PAC). With that setting on at the Network System  
Prefs level, so that Safari uses it, then when Adobe Updater launches  
automatically in the background it runs on and on for forever,  
apparently failing to contact Adobe servers, and eventually crashes  
(possibly crashing the Mac too, I don't remember). With the PAC proxy  
off, everything's fine. This on Leopard. Thus either Leopard's  
implementation of PAC, or Adobe Updater, or my university's PAC  
server, or several of them simultaneously, have a problem.

Enough OT for today!

Bruno Voisin

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