Re: Post Script vs. PDF

Subject: Re: Post Script vs. PDF
From: "Gutierrez, Diane" <Diane -dot- Gutierrez -at- WESTGROUP -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 08:48:16 -0600

Sean is correct in what he says about PS and PDF files. There is no
competition--just different applications for different needs. PS is used to
output to trade devices, such as imagesetters, DocuTechs, PS printers, wide
format printers, and are put through RIPpers before these devices. It
speeds up and simplifies printing the file, but can be problematic if strict
guidelines are not followed in constructing the file--mismatched fonts,
missing graphics, illegal extensions of copy over printable areas.
Sometimes these problems are so subtle that it is not simple to
On the other hand, PS output carried a step further to the PDF format often
solves problems right there. It can embed fonts, locking up the format so
that various printers don't cause reflow or font problems, keeping a
consistent look and feel no matter the viewer or printer. It is easily
ported. Its disadvantages are that it is not easily edited, color palettes
are reduced, and printing resolutions and sizes are inflexible. One has to
have Reader installed wherever it is viewed or printed. So the applications
have to be weighed and the one best fitting the situation is chosen.

In the past, print and then distribute was the rule, so PostScript came into
existence as a means to facilitate work at the printer's. Nowadays when
distribute and then print is common, the need for a system to make output on
different devices consistent brought about the PDF format.

-----Original Message-----
From: Brierley, Sean [mailto:Brierley -at- QUODATA -dot- COM]
Sent: Friday, February 12, 1999 9:03 AM
Subject: Re: Post Script vs. PDF


I am confused about why there would be a conflict over which one of these to

PostScript is a description of information to be printed. PDF is,
essentially, a picture of a print file. PostScript is interpreted by a
printer and used to output to paper. PDF is interpreted by a browser--sorry,
viewer--and output is sent to the screen.

In other words, if you want to print it, create a PostScript file and send
it to a PostScript printer. If you want to view it on-screen, create PDF.

I suppose it is also pertinent to say that service bureaus can use PDF files
to produce printed output, as well as using the standard PostScript.
However, this would not be something you would research, it is something
your service bureau would tell you. Also, PDF is created from a PostScript
print file.

Finally, whereas a PostScript printer is required to print a PostScript
print file, a PDF file should print on any printer. Again, no need for
research, to print to a PCL printer you would not create a PostScript file
(nor would you need to create a PDF).

What am I missing, why the competition between these formats?


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