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Converting a Postscript Document to PDF Using Adobe Acrobat Distiller

Converting a Postscript Document to PDF

Using Adobe Acrobat Distiller

By Hanz Makmur

Laboratory for Computer Science Research - Rutgers University



   This document will show you how to convert a Postscript document to a PDF format document. This process is known as  distilling  a postscript file.




Before a document is distilled, it must first be saved as a Postscript file. SeeCreating a Postscript file from any Document on MS Windows OS for details about how to do this on MS Windows OS.


This document consists of 2 parts. The first part is for MS Windows Operating System and the second part is for Solaris Operating system. If you are looking for instruction for Solaris OS, see part II below.


Part I. Distilling a PostScript file on MS Windows Operating System


  1. Launch  Acrobat Distiller
  2. Under the Job Options, select Screen if you plan to put this PDF file on the website. If you are planning to create PDF file for submitting to FastLane Grant Proposal, you should download and use  Fastlane joboption file. See: Making National Science Foundation (NSF) Compatible PDF file document for details requirement. It is advisable that you always use the FastLane option to maintain compatibility for grant proposal. FastLane job option makes sure that your PDF is printable quality especially for graphics images.
  3. Go to the File menu and select Open. Figure.1  window below will open.




Figure. 1


  1. Locate your postscript file - *.ps file and click the Open button as shown in figure.2.


Figure. 2


  1. From the Save as dialog box shown in Figure3 below, name the distilled PDF file, decide where you plan to save the file and click �Save�.


Figure. 3



  1. Distiller will now convert the postscript file to PDF format.








Part II. Distilling a PostScript file on Solaris Operating System


Converting Postscript file on a Unix system is very easy. Most of main DCIS Solaris systems have Adobe Acrobat Distiller installed on the system already.  To  convert your postscript file follow the following steps.


1.         Make sure distill exists on your system.


porthos% which distill




2.         To create a FastLane compatible PDF, 
            porthos% /usr/local/bin/distill \

-embedallfonts on \

-colordownsample off \

-graydownsample off \

-monodownsample off


            This will generate myfile.pdf. If you would like to see more options on distill, 
type the following command:


porthos% /usr/local/bin/distill -help all



If you have any questions about distilling a PDF document, please contact the DCIS Help Desk at





Further Reading


Scanning Document