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Conversion Server

All of Visual Integrity’s products are built upon the same framework. Some are scaled for enterprise use and some are packaged for ease-of-use on a Windows desktop. No matter which product you use, it is built upon our proven and reliable engine, a framework which has withstood the demands of many of the world’s most respected companies for more than 20 years.

architecture

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No, neither Acrobat nor GhostScript are required. All of our products are standalone tools, completely self-contained, and based on our powerful engine developed, improved and extended over almost two decades. Our products are not based on print drivers as brokers so the conversions are more pure and accurate. Everything that you need to run them on your desktop or to use them for you development is included in your delivery download.

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PDF Conversion Options

Below is a summary of all PDF conversion options available in pdf2cad, pdf2picture and PDF FLY. These options and more are also available to developers via the PDF Conversion SDK/API or command line tools.

Conversion options - general settings

General Settings Tab

  • Characters as Strings Combines characters into words, and words into text strings, based on context.
  • Convert Characters to CurvesCreates a visual graphic match for text defined with unknown or unavailable fonts.
  • Rotate: Rotates drawing any degree in either direction.
  • Scale Text: Enlarges or reduces the size of the text in the converted file.
  • Emulate PDF cropping: Cropping removes unnecessary outer areas of a drawing. PDF supports cropping but some vector formats (WMF, CGM, DXF and HPGL) don’tWithout cropping, these formats would transfer unwanted elements during conversion. Activate ‘Emulate PDF cropping’ to ensue clean borders. Using this feature, the resulting file will match the original.PDF.
  • Show Font Warning: If the fonts in a PDF file are not installed on your computer, the text will not look right. Font mapping ensures the closest match possible. It also compensates for different font naming conventions across systems.
  • Ignore paths, text images: Turn certain elements on or off during conversion.
  • CAD Format: Choose your output format. DWG for AutoCAD, DXF for most engineering and technical programs and HPGL for plotter specific applications.
font mapping dialog

Font Mappings Tab

Text converts fine when PDF files use standard fonts. If text converts but doesn’t display right, you have a font mapping issue.
Fonts are a tricky subject. Installed fonts differ from system to system. Sometimes, the same font may even go by different names. For a perfect conversion, the same font needs to be on the source and target system. License agreements protect font vendors from illegal use of their typefaces. Embed only system fonts and permitted fonts. For more detail on font issues, read PDF Font Mapping When Converting Files and PDF Fonts: Embedding and Substitution from Adobe
Document fonts display based on comparing the font name in the PDF file with the font name on your system. If the fonts on your PC match the PDF, the file will look perfect. Often, the font names don’t match and the text looks ‘off’ . The first thing to check is whether you have a font name mismatch. Arial Bold, for example, may be “EHJPKB+Arial-Bold” in the original file. The same font is “Arial” on your PC. When you match the two, it’s known as “Font Mapping”. In this example, map “EHJPKB_Arial-Bold” to “Arial” with font style “Bold”. If you can’t make a successful match, we substitute the closest font. This is “Font Substitution” and is automatic.
PDF conversion page options

Page Settings Tab

The Page Settings control options that apply to all files. All of the other option vary depending on whether you choose a vector or bitmap output format.

Crop Picture: Remove Margin: By default, the margins of the PDF file are used. This setting can adjust or remove white space.

Page Size: pdf2cad will automatically figure out the page size. If you want to force a standard or custom page size, select it or enter dimensions.

Convert Range: pdf2cad, by default, will convert all pages of a file. You can set a page range if you only want selected pages.

Page Mapping: By default, a multi-page PDF file converts into a vector page for each PDF page. Other choices included include merging all pages into one file and applying horizotal or vertical alignment.

PDF to DWG DXF format specific options

DWG and DXF Format Specific Options

The PDF Conversion Options for DWG and DXF options apply to specific CAD drawing features.
Scaling Factor:  CAD programs define dimension in units. These units disappear when creating a PDF file but the scale remains. You can set a scaling factor for the x-y relationship during conversion. You can also set the units when you open the converted file in your CAD program. By default, pdf2cad uses 1mm (0,03937 inch) = 1 unit in the CAD output. To learn more about CAD units, read Units and Scales
 
Precision Factor: The default precision is set to 10. Sometimes, it will help increase coordinate accuracy to change this to 1 or to 100. If none of these settings provide desirable results, please send us the file to diagnose.
 
Paths as Polylines/Polygons: PDF doesn’t understand objects or their relationships. To compensate for this,, use our object recognition engine. It identifies lines and curves and renders them as shapes. Polylines are a connected sequence of lines and arcs that create a single object. Polygons are shapes with straight sides.
 
Layers: By default, all objects are on one layer. You can separate layers by color, line width, PDF layers, spot colors or a combination of color and line width.
 
Minimum line width: Defines the smallest line width for each vector object in mm. The default is 0.
 
Zero line width: Removes 3D effects
 
Dashed and Dotted lines as segments: PDF sees dashed and dotted lines as lots of individual lines. By selecting this feature, the lines will converted into whole lines with a pattern.
 
Fill option: Sometimes, white fills in a PDF file show up as black fills in a DXF file. If this is a problem, use this option to ignore white fills.
Advanced PDF Conversion Options

Advanced DXF and DWG Options

Recognize Circles/Ellipses: Our object recognition engine identifies closed polygons and circular paths. Convert them into circular and elliptical shapes.
 
Recognize Horizontal/Vertical Dashed Lines: Create one line object with a line-style attribute.
 
Error Tolerance: This is a tolerance level set for recognition of CAD objects. If one point on the closed polyline is outside of the specified range, it will remain a polyline.
 
Kerning Factor: This setting controls the space between letters or characters. Apply a kerning factor to make the space between characters wider or more narrow. A factor of 1.2 would increase the space by 120%, Important Note! A spacing problem may not be a kerning issue at all. It may be due to a font mismatch and is best solved through font mapping.
 
Compound Objects: A compound object is a group of objects that make up a discreet item. The object recognition engine identifies objects to group into compound objects. If you want all graphics to remain as singular objects, turn this off.
 
Convert Hidden Text Objects: PDF files can have transparent text or text hidden under an object. This PDF Conversion Options converts all text on the page, including hidden text.
 
Fit Drawing: This option scales the converted PDF to be fully visible on the page when opened in a CAD program.
 
Include AI Prologue File: Early Adobe Illustrator files (v8 or earlier) need an AI prologue file to convert. Only use this option if needed. Starting with Illustrator version 9, the AI file is PDF compatible.
 
Custom Line Styles: Map line styles in the PDF to custom line styles in the CAD file.
 
Use True Color: Uses RGB true color values in the CAD file. By default, files use an indexed 256-color table. 

expert options

Expert CAD Options

Password Protected PDF. If the PDF file you are converting has a password, enter it here.
 
First Page Number. When unchecked, the first converted page will be the same as the file name. For example, page one of myfile.pdf becomes myfile.dxf. Checking this option adds a numeric suffix. In our myfile.pdf example, the first page comes out as myfile-1.dxf (followed by myfile-2.dxf, etc.). 
 
Number of Digits. If you choose the ‘First Page Number’ option, enter the number of digits for the suffix. A value of 0 makes page 2 of myfile.dxf will come out as myfile-2.dxf; page 3 as myfile-3.dxf, etc. Setting this option to 4, will add a 4 digit suffix (myfile-0002.dxf). Using this feature ensures logical alphanumeric listings in document management systems.
 
Filename is directory. When checked the file destination is a new directory. The directory is the chosen output name with no file extension. The converted files save to this directory using only their page number.
 
Show image warning. Check this option if you want alerts when the input file (PDF, EPS or AI) contains images. Images appear in the CAD output as non-editable IMAGE objects.
 
Z-Order Image Objects. Z-Order refers to the order of overlapping objects. The order in the PDF file is the default. You can place images at the back or reversed at the back of the drawing. This is useful when PDF images are transparent since IMAGE objects in DWG or DXF are opaque. 
 
Convert cropped images to color lines. DWG and DXF don’t support image cropping. Using this option is useful with small cropped images. It converts them to color lines and crops them that way.
 
Ignore Image Objects Size Less Than. This option strips small image objects during conversion.

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FLY Batch is for process automation, integration and server-side automation. The powerful batch executable allows you to invoke the DLL engine via the command line. The functionality is embedded in the standard PDF FLY and META FLY downloads for evaluation.

In order to enable the batch conversion engine for use via the command-line, you must add the installation path for the software to your %path% variable. This can be done via the Control Panel -> System -> Advanced->Environment
Variables:
%path% variable

By default PDF FLY is installed in C:/Program Files/Visual Integrity/PDF FLY
This installation path must be added to the %path% directory.
On the command line you can do this by:
Set path=%path%;”C:/Program Files/Visual Integrity/PDF FLY v__” (fill in version number)

FLY Batch for PDF and PostScript (Adobe PostScript, EPS and PDF input)

  • To convert PDF files, run pdf2xxx. Settings for pdf2xxx are defined in the pdf2xxx.ini file.
  • To convert PS or EPS files, run ps2xxx. Settings for ps2xxx are defined in the ps2xxx.ini file.

FLY Batch for Metafiles (WMF and EMF input)

  • To convert WMF files, run wmf2xxx. Settings for wmf2xxx are defined in the wmf2xxx.ini file.
  • To convert EMF files, run emf2xxx. Settings for emf2xxx are defined in the emf2xxx.ini file.

General Usage:

  • See the “options” PDF file for an overview of the variables and their use. You can open and edit the .ini files with a text editor like Notepad. The pdf2xxx.ini file is used for PDF and the ps2xxx.ini file is used for PostScript and EPS.
  • The extension of your source file determines which conversion filter will be invoked.

So, for example, to convert myfile.eps to myfile.svg run: ps2xxx myfile.eps myfile.svg.

To convert myfile.wmf to yourfile.jpg run: wmf2xxx myfile.wmf yourfile.jpg.

To convert foo.pdf to for example foo.gif run: pdf2xxx foo.pdf foo.gif

Need help? Call us or email support@visual-integrity.com.

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pdf2cad will convert a “batch” of files when requested by the user. It’s as easy to convert an entire directory of files as it is to convert one file. That said, sometimes, companies want to use a watch folder or use scripts to automate conversion. When this is required, you’ll want to use FLY Batch. PDF to DXF is one of the modules in FLY Batch, a command line driven batch conversion engine that’s easily scripted for automated, central, high-volume or real-time processing. It runs on Windows, Mac, Linux and UNIX platforms.

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PDF Fonts Not Displaying Correctly?

Using the perfect font can make or break the impact a document has. Fonts are also complicated. If you have a PDF file which is not displaying well, it’s likely that PDF font mapping is the culprit.

A PDF document expects to have its fonts installed wherever it’s viewed. When it’s opened, the PDF matches its referenced fonts to the local system’s fonts. If all the fonts are available, the document looks great. Success relies on the set of fonts available of the viewing PC. Using standard system fonts as much as possible will help prevent font mismatches. An exception is branding, where the font used is a valuable, recognizable asset. It should never become compromised.

Listing of standard fonts by system

Top 5 Reasons Fonts Don’t Display Right

1. Font Substitution

When the PDF file can’t find the same font on the reader’s PC, it will choose the closest substitute. This may be almost impossible to see or very obvious. It all depends on the font chosen as a substitute. There are three basic options when dealing with font substitution:

  • Accept the substitution if it’s a minor difference
  • Buy the missing font and install it on your system
  • Define a font-mapping (see below) if possible

Example of a font substitution with a minor difference.  Adobe does a very good job when substituting fonts. They get close in most cases. Close enough that there’s no need to purchase fonts or spend a lot of time troubleshooting. In the example below, substituted text (yellow) is placed over the original embedded font text (red). The visible red marks show where the substitution deviates from the original font.

font mapping example of embedded text

Example of original embedded font text

font mapping comparison of substituted text to embedded text

Yellow substituted font text is placed over original red embedded font text.

2. Embedding Fonts to Avoid Font Substitution not Possible

Several PDF creation tools allow you to embed fonts or font subsets. Embedded fonts travel with the PDF file and ensure accurate display on any system. Be careful because they will increase file size, usually at least doubling it. Due to license restrictions, embed fonts at your own risk. You can only embed fonts with permission. Even free, open source fonts can have restrictions. Example of Adobe’s Font Embedding Policy

A note about Visual integrity Software and Embedded Fonts. In compliance with font rules, our programs do not embed fonts by default. We reference the fonts by their names. If fonts, with the same names, are on the target PC, the file will open and display as intended. If the same fonts are not on the PC, which is much more likely, the text includes the closest allowable font. If you need fonts embedded for a project, we can do that for you as a custom service, with proof of license.

How to see what embedded fonts your document contains.
Open the PDF in either Reader or Acrobat. Bring up the document properties (Ctrl-D or Cmd-D), then go to the Fonts tab. Here, you can see the state of each font. The two examples below show the same font when it’s embedded and when it has been substituted.

embedded font

Embedded Font

Substituted Font - Adobe Sans MM

Substituted Font – Adobe Sans MM

3. When PDF Document Font Names Don’t Match PC Font Names, Use Font Mapping

For fonts to display as intended in a PDF file, the same font with the same name must be on both systems. Unfortunately, the exact same font may go by several different names. Arial Bold on your system, for example, may be “EHJPKB+Arial-Bold” in the original file. Even though these are identical fonts, the PDF does not know it because they have different names. You have to tell it with a PDF font mapping. In this example, map “EHJPKB_Arial-Bold” as “Arial” with font style “Bold”.

font-mapping

Mismatches are common. Resolve them whenever possible through font mapping. If mapping the font is not possible, it’s substituted as described above.

4. Unknown Font in the PDF Document

Ensure an exact match by converting formatted text to bezier curves. When you need a precise match, but the source font is unknown or not available, it’s best to convert the text to a graphic. This is an excellent approach for logos and other brand assets. It’s also recommended for technical text like equations and formulas. Once converted to graphics, they are no longer editable and there’s no possibility to introduce error during font substitution.

A note about Visual integrity Software and Text as Curves. Our programs offer a “Characters to Curves” option. Using it, each character renders as a bezier curve object. This graphical representation of the character uses font information stored in the PDF. If the font was not embedded in the PDF, we refer to the /fonts/ directory in the installation folder. Add Type 1 or TrueType fonts to this folder as needed to ensure a perfect match. To outline specific fonts during conversion, contact us.

5. It’s a Kerning Issue, Not a Font Issue

When PDF is converted into vector formats such as SVG or EMF, kerning may be the culprit if the text doesn’t look right. Kerning is the process of adjusting space between characters to make the text more visually appealing.  This feature is only available for use with proportions fonts; not fixed width fonts. Please contact us if you need more information how to configure thus. Turning this option on could improve the WYSIWYG matching of the text strings.

In Summary….

Look for Font Warnings. Many programs that output PDF produce error and warning logs. Check these if you create or receive a PDF file that doesn’t look right.

Contact Us. We have 25+ years of expertise built up around PDF, file formats and fonts. We may be able to help you make sense of your font issues.

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It is easy it is to create a PostScript file from virtually any application on a PC. Most PC’s are likely to have a PostScript printer driver configured in its printers settings. If not, you must Install a PostScript Printer Driver before going any further.

  1. Open your file within your application and then select “File…”, “Print”
  2. Choose your PostScript printer. Note that you can use any PostScript driver included with Microsoft Windows without having the actual printer since you will simply be printing to a file.
  3. Press “OK”  to print to file. Note that the PostScript tab under Properties should be set to Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) for best results.
  4. You will be prompted for a file name and location. If you do not assign .ps as the extension, the default in Windows will be .PRN. Both are valid input extensions.
  5. Open your Visual Integrity software and when prompted for a PostScript file to convert, go to the location chosen in Step 4 and select the new .ps or .prn file for conversion.

TIPS:

  • The extension does not matter – Some systems give printer files a default extension, like .prn or .plt. This does not matter. If the file has been created using a PostScript printer driven, the result will be a PostScript file that Visual Integrity software can convert.
  • Watch out for PCL: Most HP printers use a printer language called PCL. The default mode on HP PostScript printers is usually PCL. PCL can not be converted by TGC. Be sure that your HP printer is in PostScript mode to ensure a successful conversion.
  • Save directly as PostScript or EPS files – Many applications allow you to save your files as PS or EPS through their “Save as…” menu. A few even produce PostScript by default. This results in good input for our conversion engine.
  • Fonts – Try to use standard PostScript fonts like Helvetica and Times New Roman. Non-PostScript fonts, such as Type 1 fonts and TrueType fonts should be embedded so that the text data is available in the PostScript file. This gives our software the best chance to preserve the fonts during conversion.

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The font glyphs of the 13 standard PostScript fonts are included.

If you need to convert to an image format or the text to curves/polys (= emulate) in a vector format either the font must be one of the 13 standard fonts or the font should be embedded within the PDF or PostScript file. Contact support@visual-integrity.com if you want to add font glyphs.

13 Standard PostScript fonts:

  • Courier (Regular, Oblique, Bold, Bold Oblique)
  • Helvetica (Regular, Oblique, Bold, Bold Oblique)
  • Times (Roman, Italic, Bold, Bold Italic)
  • Symbol

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