[pdftex] distiller vs pdf(la)tex (not a flame war, just asking for info)

William Adams wadams at atlis.com
Thu Nov 13 18:11:59 CET 2003

You said:
>i thought distiller provides a virtual printer driver you can
>select in e.g. msword.  so your word document is "printed" into
>a pdf file.  but i have never seen distiller.

Correct, by way of a PostScript file. By contrast, pdfWriter really
mangles things using some really convoluted system posing as a printer driver.

>my theory is, that such a document printed from msword thru this
>virtual driver is inferior to pdftex's output, because the virtual
>printer driver can't make up the kerning and other typographical
>finessess that word can't do.  am i right?

Only insofar as Word is miserable at setting type.

You may want to contrast the copy of Okakura Kakuzo's _The Book of Tea_
which I have in my portfolio (on-line at
http://members.aol.com/willadams and also featured in the TeX Showcase
at http://www.tug.org/texshowcase) w/ other on-line example(s) of that
book generated in Microsoft Word.

Later versions of Word and Acrobat usually put a button in the toolbar
for creating a .pdf directly from within Word---this works okay, and
actually is the best way to get a .wmf out of word and into a .pdf, (or
later, .eps).

I believe there's also some support then of Words' form features,
mapping them to similar .pdf capabilities.

Naturally hyperref &c. afford similar forms capabilities.


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