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Use Custom Distiller Settings in QuarkXPress

Answered by Jay Nelson, Editor and Publisher, Design Tools Monthly

We use QuarkXPress, but want to use the exact same settings in Adobe Distiller to create all our PDFs -- regardless of the authoring application. Is there a way to access our custom Distiller settings from directly within QuarkXPress?

Well, kind of. QuarkXPress has its own built-in PDF export feature, but it can't access Distiller's custom job options settings directly. You could always export your QuarkXPress file as a PostScript file, and then run it through Distiller, but that's not what you're asking. (The PDF area of Quark's Preferences lets you tell Quark to output a PostScript file instead of generating a PDF, into one of Distiller's Watched folders by default if you like.) If you have Distiller, then you also have Acrobat. And the Acrobat installer automatically installed the Adobe PDF print driver onto your computer. That print driver (or virtual printer) is available to all applications -- including QuarkXPress. You can accomplish what you want by "printing" with the Adobe PDF print driver and choosing your custom Distiller settings from within the Print dialog box. The Adobe PDF print driver uses Adobe Distiller to create the PDF, so the result is the same as exporting a PostScript file and dropping it onto Distiller -- except using just one step.

Here's how:

When you choose Adobe PDF as the Printer in the Print dialog box, you can choose one of the custom PDF Settings that you created in Distiller: just click the Printer button at the bottom of the QuarkXPress's Print dialog box. This will bring up your operating system's Print dialog box. Choose PDF Options from the pop-up menu in that Print dialog box and select the Setting you want.

It seems like a hidden feature, but it's actually rather logical. If you think of the Adobe PDF print driver as the front end of a "printer" named Distiller, then by accessing that area of your Print dialog, you're controlling the features (settings) on that "printer" (Distiller).

This question was answered by Jay Nelson, Publisher & Editor, Design Tools Monthly. We love DTM's tips and advice and think you will, too. For a free sample PRINTED issue, contact Design Tools Monthly at 303-543-8400, e-mail, or go to their website:

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