Creating .pdf documents from any application

If you find that you need to create .pdf documents from an application that does not natively provide .pdf output, and/or are migrating from Windows and have used and liked PDFCreator or a similar application, then you need to install the cups-pdf package. This is assuming, of course, that you are already set up to print (at least 9.04 and 9.10 have all the other required packages already installed with a standard installation.) To do this, simply go to Synaptic (in 9.04/GNOME, that's System - Administration - Synaptic Package Manager) and mark the package "cups-pdf" for installation, then hit "apply." Presumably if you do this and you do not have CUPS already installed, Synaptic will identify and prompt you to mark all the required packages.

This will install the package and also create a "printer" on your machine called "PDF." To create a .pdf of any document, simply format it as you like and then print as you would normally, selecting "PDF" instead of your usual printer. The output will be placed into a folder in your home directory called "PDF" - that is, /home/your_user_name/PDF. Any text in the resulting .pdf file will be selectable and searchable.

I have done the above procedure on two machines; one running Ubuntu 9.10 i386 and one running Ubuntu 9.04 64-bit. After doing the above the "printer" worked correctly with no additional steps on the 9.10 machine, however, on the 9.04 machine I had to create the /home/your_user_name/PDF folder manually for each user on that machine to allow the PDF "printer" to work. Before I did so, when opening the "Printer Properties" window for the PDF "printer" I saw the following:

Printer State: Idle - /usr/libs/cups/backend/cups-pdf failed

So if you can't find your output and see the above status, make sure that the PDF folder exists in the home directory of the current user.

As installed, the PDF "printer" defaults to a 8.5"x11" page and 300 DPI, but these settings can be changed. Go to System - Administration - Printing and double-click on "PDF" in the resulting window to access these settings.

PDFPrinting (last edited 2010-02-22 00:12:39 by njnagel)