Converting .PSDs to .PDFs while preserving layers
July 5, 2006 12:35 PM   Subscribe

Can I convert a multi-layer .psd to a multi-layer .pdf?

I have created a multi-layer .psd file in PS7 (Mac) that I'd like someone who isn't very computer literate to open and view (clicking on and off the visible layers to their heart's content) on a PC. Acrobat 7 allows layers, but I only have Reader. I'm hoping someone with familiarity with either product line can tell me if this is possible. Can I do it with what I have now, and if so, how? Do I need to upgrade Photoshop? Or buy a particular version of Acrobat? Or is there some other way around this I'm not thinking of?
posted by GhostintheMachine to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
In Photoshop CS2, there is an included script that allows you to export layer comps to PDF. I don't think it exactly does what you want - PDFs aren't really designed to be interactive documents like you are trying to create - but it should be something similar. I have no idea at all if this was available in version 7.
posted by robhuddles at 1:59 PM on July 5, 2006

Try exporting in .svg? I think there were a few photoshop -> svg interfaces. With some JS that'll do layers just fine.
posted by devilsbrigade at 2:44 PM on July 5, 2006

You can do this in Adobe InDesign, if you've got the time, inclination, and money.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:16 PM on July 5, 2006

Best answer: Great question! I love a challenge!

OK, so I got this to work, but only after jumping through a few hoops. First, I created a .psd with layers and saved it. Then I opened it up in Illustrator.

When you open up a .psd in AI, you'll get a dialog box that asks you, among other things, whether you'd like to flatten the artwork or retain the Photoshop layers.

Once I had the .psd open in Illustrator I checked to make sure that everything was where it was supposed to be, then I saved it as a .pdf.

Illustrator will give you a "Save as Adobe PDF" dialog, The most important one, in this case, is a check-box that says Create Acrobat Layers from Top-Level Layers." This will be grayed out until you select Acrobat 6 (or higher) from the Compatibility drop-down at the top right-hand corner of the dialog.

Thi should give you the ability to read layers in Reader 7 (and, presumably, 6) if you go to the View menu and select Navigation Tabs -> Layers.

Of course, this is assuming you have Illustrator.
posted by lekvar at 7:16 PM on July 5, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for the thoughts, everyone. Looks like I do need some extra software to do this; if comments are still open in this when I get it, I'll post results.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:11 AM on July 6, 2006

Response by poster: Found a friend with Illustrator, and lekvar's solution worked perfectly. Some of the others may have worked as well, but that's the first I tried. Thanks!
posted by GhostintheMachine at 1:05 PM on July 11, 2006

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