[pdftex] pdftex line-drawing specials

Prof Brian D Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Wed Jan 31 07:37:38 CET 2001

On Wed, 31 Jan 2001, Avery Andrews wrote:

> Hello,
> I've presently got some postscript specials (for dvips) for drawing
> lines and arrows for linguistics diagrams (originally by Emma Pease, with some
> enhancements by me), and from what little I've learned about the pdf
> format it seems like it might not be too difficult to produce a pdf
> version of these for use with pdftex; it would be very helpful if
> somebody could point me gently in the right direction for how to do
> this, at least two things I think I need to know being:
>  a) how to put a pdf special into a latex document, similarly to a
>     postscript special
>  b) a manual of pdf commands.
> I've guessed that replacing \special{ps: with \special{pdf: would be
> the answer to (a), and that seems to work but then the actual specials
> crash because acrobat doesn't like the `@beginspec' commands that these
> specials start with.

I think you want to use \pdfobj commands and related things: see the pdftex

> It's been a long time since I've seriously messed with this kind of
> thing, so I've likely forgotten important stuff.

The answer to (b) is the PDF Reference Manual (search for pdfspec.pdf
on www.adobe.com).  Be warned though that although PDF is very like
simple postscript (no arc operator, though), PDF is structured rigidly
into an object tree and getting the structure exactly right is
necessary and time-consuming.  Perhaps for your purposes you can
side-step some of this, but you can't preview PDF objects alone.

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272860 (secr)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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