Change PdfWriter VB proigramming to Acrobat 6 (Adobe PDF printer or Distiller)

Posted on 2004-11-15
Last Modified: 2012-08-13
First of all, sorry my "english".

Adobe Acrobat 6 does'nt support PDFWriter (not in the product, and also renamed Distiller to "PDF Printer").
The Adobe forum speak clear about PDFWriter is removed due it was "obsolete".

I've an old VB6 program working fine generating pdf using PdfWriter, putting the filename in the registry and so on. This works in Acrobat version 4 and 5, but in version 6 the "PDF Printer" ask for the filename.

Are Acrobat 6 looking the filename in other registry entry?
or are needed other way to automatize the process?

My VB Program is doing this approach:
-chage PDFFileName registry key
-prints to the printer object
and this is working good in Acrobat 5 using Windows XP, 98 and 2000.

btw I need run this in an Windows 2003 Server, and need to use Acrobat 6.

I Know there is an SDK in adobe website but maybe this is costing a minimun of 195 US$, and also I've no time to investigate if anybody can help me.
The SDK version 5 can be downloaded free but i don't sure if it contains all the info needed.
Question by:sp400
    LVL 44

    Expert Comment

    by:Karl Heinz Kremer
    Sorry, but it's not that simle: The PDF Printer does not support any registry keys that you can set to define the output file name. Printing to the Distiller Printer (or Adobe PDF) is a two step process: You first print do a "print to file" to a PostScript printer (preferable one that's based on the Distiller PPD). During this step you need to be able to set the PostScript file name. In the second step, you then take this PostScript file and call Distiller to convert it to a PDF file. The Acrobat 5 SDK does contain all the information you need to get this working. The Distiller API has changed since Acrobat 5, but everything that's described in the old SDK is still working.

    However: You cannot use any part of Acrobat when you run your application on a server. The Acrobat EULA does not allow you to do this with one exception: If every user who can potentially use your server has a license for the full version of Acrobat, you can use Acrobat (or Distiller) on a server, in any other case it's not licensed.


    Author Comment

    I think a lot of people are using pdfwriter along with some automation from any language, because the simplicity.
    Sould be good found any other solution that works in an similar way:
    - use an pdf printer driver
    - before to open printer sends filename
    - prints

    anyway, the license issue in Win2003Server are a big problem, because -in my case- the win20003server are not an "multiuser" server, only used for autentication users to domain, then why I can't use as an normal PC?

    btw, sould be great if anybody knows an replacement in similar way (using pdf printer driver capable to create pdf filename without saveas dialog).

    LVL 44

    Accepted Solution

    If you are using Acrobat or Distiller on a server, but not as a service (e.g. as your normal workstation), you don't have any license problems. You are just not allowed to install it so that ohters (without a valid license) can make use of it.

    Adobe just announced Acrobat 7. I would wait to see if they added this feature again. It wouldn't be the first time that they've removed a feature, only to add it in a later version of the software again (after receiving a lot of complaints from users): In Acrobat 5 they removed the Paper Capture option, they received a lot of complaints, and added it again in Acrobat 6.

    I'm not aware of any programs that could replace the PDFWriter, but that does not mean that they don't exist - I just don't know about them.
    LVL 44

    Expert Comment

    by:Karl Heinz Kremer
    PDF995 ( does (according to their web site) support three "auto-name options" that avoid the "Save As" dialog.
    LVL 9

    Expert Comment

    khkremer, how does you enable/disable those options?

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