[OS X TeX] dots in Texshop

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Wed Feb 16 15:25:20 CET 2005

Le 16 févr. 05, à 14:28, Peter Dyballa a écrit :

> So the best advice seems to be: if you have a Mac OS X with its own 
> distiller (Panther = Mac OS X 10.3), use it!

It depends on priorities and possibilities. On a matter of principle, I 
am the kind of guy who would always go the Apple way when there is a 
viable Apple alternative. However, as regards pstopdf (Panther's 
Distiller) against ps2pdf (GhostScript's Distiller) or epstopdf 
(teTeX's Distiller script based on ps2pdf), there may be situations 
when GhostScript seems definitely more appropriate, though Panther will 
always give the higher-quality result.

A real-life example: last night I finalized a research proposal 
including, for illustration, a figure taken from a reference article. 
The article was available electronically as a scanned PDF file. The 
page containing the figure was extracted from this file using Adobe 
Illustrator, and then cropped, to only include the figure, using 
Preview. However, the way Preview crops an image is simply by hiding 
the rest of the image (I think technically that's altering the 
MediaBox), but this rest stays here and may confuse XeTeX or pdfTeX 
when including the PDF file. Thus, I ended up using Adobe Acrobat to 
convert the cropped PDF file to EPS and fix the bounding box in the 
process. Only drawback: the cropped PDF file was about 100 kB, and the 
EPS file 10.6 MB!

Using finally epstopdf (GhostScript's Distiller) to convert the EPS 
result to PDF, I ended up with a 100 KB file, while using pstopdf 
(Panther's Distiller) I ended up with a 1.5 MB file. Which makes some 
difference indeed, though the visual quality of the two PDF files seems 

Of course there are counter-examples too: last year I wrote a paper 
with XeTeX, which contained some PDF figures resulting from the 
conversion of EPS files. I never could get a satisfactory result when 
using epstopdf for the conversion (I don't remember exactly how, but 
the figures were shaken up by the inclusion in the XeTeX file), while 
when using pstopdf the output was perfectly OK.

Thus I would recommend always trying the two alternatives, and see what 
comes out best. Which means, in practical terms, for those having 
installed TeXShop: take the original EPS file, drag it onto TeXShop on 
one side (this will use GhostScript to create a PDF version) and drag 
it onto Preview on the other side and save the output (this will use 
Panther to create another PDF version), try including both versions in 
your TeX document, and see which one comes out best.

Bruno Voisin
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