[reportlab-users] PDFs generated by ReportLab not printing

Andy Robinson andy at reportlab.com
Fri May 22 06:48:58 EDT 2009

2009/5/22 King Simon-NFHD78 <simon.king at motorola.com>:

> I don't really understand why someone would be able to open a PDF file

> in Acrobat Reader (for example), and yet be unable to print it. I'm

> assuming that printers don't generally understand the PDF format

> directly, and that Acrobat converts it to Postscript before sending it

> to the printer driver. Is that too simplistic a view?

It's exactly right.

Acrobat Reader was deliberately forgiving in the early days and could
recover from small errors in the graphics codes; everybody wishes they
hadn't been, though i suppose it's better than the history of web
browsers ;-)

If you're using a typical Windows PC or some printing technology which
rasterises on the computer like Mac's preview, and/or a typical inkjet
or a cheap laser, the viewer sends an image to the printer. But if
you're using a Postscript printer, it exports postscript. In this
case a small bug like a missing graphics state operator in PDF can
transfer the same bug to Postscript; and Postscript interpreters can
then choke.

The test for this is to export a Postscript file from Acrobat Reader;
then run that through Distiller, and see the offending commands. In
my experience the error messages are pretty much the same as the ones
that come out of a good printer on the error page.

- Andy

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