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A Method for Exporting *.nwc Files to the *.pdf (Adobe) Format

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User Tip #: 50
Offered By: Fred Nachbaur
Last Modified: 2003-07-23 21:34:05

(Last Updated July 23, 2003)

There's been some discussion on various aspects of printing, both here and on the newsgroup, so I thought I'd detail a method for exporting NWC score files to the popular PDF (Adobe) format. The idea is to use NWC to create a PostScript file (with the help of the suitable Windows driver), then use GhostView to convert the resulting *.ps file into *.pdf.

Here are the gory details (you might want to print out this message). Looks scary, but once you've got it set up, it's a piece of cake. If you haven't got a PostScript printer driver installed in Windows, do so first. In the Control Panel applet select Printers, and click on Add Printer. Select the AppleWriter printer. Follow the dialog as required to copy the drivers from the original Win diskette or CD. Optionally, you can at this time specify "Print to File" and give a generic filename (since these will only be intermediate products.

Win 3.11 users: if you haven't installed Win32s yet, get it now. (It's available for free from Microsoft.) This will let you run the 32-bit version of GhostView (at least twice as fast as the 16-bit version, and not as buggy.)

Then get GhostScript and GhostView. Go to Ghostscript home page and download the following files:

Download both into the same temp directory. First run the Ghostscript setup program, and when done install GSview. This will set up both GhostScript (a command-line PS file manipulator) and GhostView (a GUI Windows shell for GhostScript).

Familiarize yourself a bit with GSview, then go into NWC and find a file you want to convert to PDF. Select your PostScript printer driver, select "print to file" if you haven't done so already (use the .ps extension), and let 'er rip.

Exit NWC, bring up GhostView, open the *.ps file you just saved. Then go to File: Print. and select the "pdfwrite" print device, select resolution (300 dpi recommended), and again "print to file" (this time with .pdf extension). Print the file, exit Ghostview, and bring up Adobe Acrobat viewer to verify that the magic worked. Voila!

Some additional notes:

It should be noted that current versions of GSview are now registrable, and even though the license still allows you to use the program for free, it's at the "expense" of clicking past a registration screen. The older (and perfectly functional) versions are still out there, but are a little hard to find. As of this time, check out my Ghostscript/GSview info page for links to the programs, and further information on installing them. More tips are available at my PS Tips page.

As a final note, here is an extract from this last page, to help in setting up GSview for optimal screen display:

"Click on Media --> Display Settings. Set Resolution according to your display resolution: suggested values - for 800x600 use 96. For 1024x768 use 120. For 1280x1024 use 144. Set Text and Graphics Alpha to 4 bits. Set Depth to 8 bits, or leave at default."

Yet another update - 23 July 2003

Regular contributor and all-round good guy Robert A. sends an endorsement for PDF Creator, which automates the whole installation process (including the installation of Ghostscript) and results in an easy-to-use "virtual printer". One minor drawback is that it embeds all fonts (including the ubiquitous Times, Arial, etc. fonts) so the resulting PDFs may be a tad larger than using other approaches. However, it's easy, and bulletproof.

User Comments

From: Ertugrul iNANĒ
When: 14 Years Ago

FreePDF -together with Redmon- is a wonderful complementary tool for this method. It skips, or rather, automatizes the .ps phase and lets you directly save as pdf.

From: Robert A.
When: 13 Years Ago

Windows XP users: The method will also work for you. As I write this, I am using Ghostscript 8.0, Redmon 1.7, and freePDF_095 to automate the process.

If you do use freePDF_095 (the 098 version is not as useful), keep in mind that the configuration instructions are obsolete. They refer to filenames and paths that are different in newer versions of the programs. However, you can figure it out! The printer driver setup panel also looks different in XP than it did in older versions of Windows, but you can figure that out, too.

If you are using freePDF_095, its *.ini file looks for file names and paths that are obsolete. Manually edit the *.ini file, using Notepad, to provide the correct names.

From: Marsu
When: 13 Years Ago

Could you please update the URLs you give upthere? Both of them are now of the 404 type (I'd prefer 409, as the Beach Boys).

I was searching for it in a hurry last friday (I had to get an NWC file of mine into PDF to be able to print it on my wife's Mac, since I can't (yet) share the printer), and I didn't succeed. I just re-searched tonight, and here it is : Ghostscript/GSview info page for the first, and PS Tips for the 2nd one.
(In between, I just used Broadgun pdfMachine, which is not bad as an emergency solution --i.e. if you don't care about having a watermark with "pdfMachine Trial Version" on every page).

This said, thank you so much for this, as it saved me hours many times!!!

NWCly yours,

From: Francis Beaumier
When: 13 Years Ago

updated FreePDF link:

From: Fred Nachbaur
When: 13 Years Ago

Links updated 22 July 2003

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