Word 2004 makes bad PDF?
November 11, 2005 12:14 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone experienced Word 2004 on OS X generating malformed PDF? I have a friend who constantly has difficulty printing documents (that typically have a lot of equation editor objects in them.)

If you try to print directly from Word to our (somewhat old) LaserJet 4, the printer tries to process the job, but fails, printing nothing. I can save the file as PDF from Preview, then use ImageMagick to convert it PostScript; the resulting ps prints fine, and the converter points out that there were errors in the source PDF (eg, "Warning: File has an invalid xref entry: 55. Rebuilding xref table.")

I'd be happy if anyone can simply, confirm experiencing similar problems, and delighted if there's a fix. There is an Office 2004 service pack available, but I intend to hold off on installing that until I gather a little data here.
posted by Wolfdog to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
 
(Incidentally, the PDF that Word generates displays OK in Preview, but the printer chokes on it.)
posted by Wolfdog at 12:20 PM on November 11, 2005


My email is in my profile. Feel free to send me a sample document under 1 MB or so and I'll be happy to test it out for you under Office 2004 SP 2, Mac OS X 10.4.3.
posted by Rothko at 1:09 PM on November 11, 2005


If I'm not mistaken (and I might be) the PDF converter that comes with OSX sucks. I use the Adobe Professional application and have no problems. Is it possible that your problems are related to that?
posted by crapples at 2:46 PM on November 11, 2005


I think it more likely that your LaserJet can't handle the version of Postscript generated by OS X PDF engine (which is actually quite superb). Using a lower version of Postscript should do the trick. I *think* you can simply print to a Postscript file using a PPD for a very old printer (such as a Laserwriter II) to generate older Postscript. To print it, open your printer application by double-clicking on the name of your printer in the Print/Fax preference pane, then drag the Postcript file into the printer application. No guarantees on this process, but it would only take a minute to try.

You can open the file with a text editor to see which version of Postcript is being used; in the terminal, just type "less" without the quotes, drag the file into the terminal window, then hit return, then type "y" when it asks if you're sure you want to look at the binary file. Should be in the first few lines, but not the first. Hit Q to get out of the "less" program.
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:40 PM on November 11, 2005


I'm sorry--I'm not sure that advice works for Word, since it doesn't give independent printer control like InDesign or Quark do. Changing the PPD would amount to changing it in the Print/Fax pref pane.

So: if you can find a way to generate older Postscript, I think that's your best bet.
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:50 PM on November 11, 2005


Yes, I can convert it to a format that works on the old LaserJet, and I can also print it without trouble on a newer one. I still have to make it "just work" for the guy in question, but at least I've got a better sense of the problem now. Thanks, folks.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:26 PM on November 11, 2005


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