Is there anything equivalent to Print2Pict for OS X?
April 27, 2004 3:35 PM   Subscribe

I've got a Mac with OS X 10.2.8 that used to run OS 9. I have this one job I do for a friend that required me to use Print2Pict with this one app in order to generate a PICT file that I could then cut pieces out of. Just this week, the app (Finale Notepad) was updated to run on OS X. I still need the ability to generate an editable PICT file, but Print2Pict is not available. Is there anything equivalent to Print2Pict for OS X?
posted by tommasz to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
You could print it to a PDF file, then export it to PICT in Preview.

Side note: I have been searching for a Print2Pict replacement for its print-to-text function to no avail. The closest I came was a "print-to-file" backend system that I was never able to get working. I ended up borking my whole CUPS printing system and reinstalled the OS rather than attempting to fix it by hand, but that was more due to my inability to read directions than any intrinsic flaw in the program.

If you do find a Print2Pict replacement that handles printing to text, I'd love to hear about it, as would several dozen FileMaker users who I've emailed back and forth about it over the last year and a half.
posted by bcwinters at 3:52 PM on April 27, 2004

Response by poster: Unfortunately, the PICT files that Preview generates from PDF is just one big picture. Print2Pict's files were Ungroup-able into the individual elements and that's what I was cutting and pasting. From the sound of things, it's not just me. Any Mac developers reading this?
posted by tommasz at 4:03 PM on April 27, 2004

Best answer: What are you doing with the PICT file after you edit it? Perhaps there's a better way to go about this. Using the vector PICT format has always been kind of frustrating--sort of like using EPS' shabby cousin. And with OS X, I think that both vector and bitmap PICTs have been deprecated.

Although it would be a big PITA, you could print to PDF in OS X, open the file in Illustrator, and export to PICT--it'll be a vector PICT with editable text blocks and such the next time you open it. I just made up a test file to confirm this.
posted by adamrice at 4:26 PM on April 27, 2004

Response by poster: Finale Notepad generates musical scores. It's fine if you just want to print the entire sheet but I'm usually only using a measure or two. What drives all of this is that you can't Copy/Cut from FN and Paste into another app.

What I've been doing in OS 9 is printing to PICT and then copying the measures I need and pasting them into another file. Because Print2Pict's output was something you could "Ungroup", I was able to select only those parts I really needed. The other nice thing is that the parts then print at printer resolution (the notes are in a TT font and the measure lines are just vectors).

I don't do this very often, so I can handle a complex workflow. I don't have Illustrator, so that's not an option.
posted by tommasz at 4:36 PM on April 27, 2004

And, in fact, that's going to be the only way you can go. "Print2Pict" works in Mac OS 9 because, in the older OS, all applications print essentially by letting the printer driver capture a QuickDraw 'PICT' of the page being printed. (The applications just draw their text and graphics as usual; the printer driver captures all those commands in a 'PICT'.) Print2Pict simply captures the same 'PICT' as most other drivers and saves it to disk instead of rasterizing it and converting the data to printer commands. (The LaserWriter driver captures a 'PICT' to use as the preview for any EPS files you save.)

Mac OS X applications do not have to use that printing path, and can even hand off PDF files directly to the printing system. If they do that, there is no 'PICT' to capture - there's no requirement to redraw advanced Quartz presentations with QuickDraw just to make a 'PICT'. Everything has to eventually go through PDF, but only a few applications still use the older path that could generate a vector-based 'PICT'.

Applications that draw various objects to print will make object-based PDF files just like older programs did with object-based 'PICT' files. Applications that just draw giant bitmaps won't make object-based PDF or 'PICT' files no matter what you do. But 'PICT' printing is the old way - apps that don't support it now never will. PDF is the new 'PICT'.
posted by mdeatherage at 4:39 PM on April 27, 2004

You could use a recent version of Adobe Illustrator, which can load PDFs and can manipulate/crop/copy them just like any other vector format like EPS. Granted, it's not a cheap solution.
posted by zsazsa at 6:26 PM on April 27, 2004

Is upgrading your OS an option? In OS X 10.3, Preview can crop images or PDFs. (Just select, copy, then use the "New from clipboard" command, or paste directly into your other application.)
posted by teg at 8:24 PM on April 27, 2004

Plus there's the ability to take screenshots of simple cropped sections, if that helps.

Apple-shift-4 and click/drag around the area you want. There are a lot of other options, but that looks like the one that's closest to what you need.
posted by jragon at 9:16 PM on April 27, 2004

Would SnapzPro do what you want?
posted by jazon at 9:06 AM on April 28, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions. Panther is not an option for me on my old Beige G3 (upgraded to a 500 MHz G4) and Illustrator is too expensive for occasional use so I'll see what I can with Preview. I can still run Classic apps, so that's still an option and the one I'll probably use in the meantime.
posted by tommasz at 9:09 AM on April 28, 2004

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