40 Replies Latest reply on Mar 11, 2016 6:40 AM by Michael Bardwell

    Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?

    Matthew Lorono

      How are Save as PDF and Print to PDF functions in SOLIDWORKS working for your?  How often do you use them?  Do you have a special macro that gives you the ability to save or print to PDF files without having to go thru the Print or Save dialogs?  What are you experiences about the differences between Saving and Printing to PDF?  What's bugging you about either?  What do you like about either?

        • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
          Glenn Schroeder

          Matthew Lorono wrote:

           

          How are Save as PDF and Print to PDF functions in SOLIDWORKS working for your? 
          Mostly pretty well.

          How often do you use them?
          On every project, usually several times.  I create pdf's of drawings to send to clients for approval, and also create a pdf of the final version to place on our network so anyone can view it.  I also often send 3d pdf's to clients.

          Do you have a special macro that gives you the ability to save or print to PDF files without having to go thru the Print or Save dialogs? 
          No.

          What are you experiences about the differences between Saving and Printing to PDF?
          I usually save as pdf.  It just seems like a simpler process.  However, I occasionally have a quality issue with saving as, so I'll print to instead to resolve it.  One day this week I had an issue where the logo on one of the drawing sheets (it's a jpeg) wasn't there when saving as pdf.  I printed to pdf and it was okay.  However, I believe this issue is better than it was several releases ago.

          What's bugging you about either?
          See above.

          What do you like about either?
          See above.

          • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
            Chris Michalski

            I'm with Glenn, I save as PDF all the time. 

            Each drawing revision gets saved as a new PDF for change tracking. 

            Models get saved out as 3D PDFs to distribute to non-engineers and management.

            Save as PDF normally works but sometimes things get crazy (normally a shading/texture issue) and require printing to PDF.  I've never had a situation where 1 or the other didn't produce an exact copy.

            I'm not into macros so I do things "the old fashioned" way through pulldown menus.

             

            Overall they do what I need and are pretty reliable so I've never put any thought into what could make them better.

            • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
              Jerry Steiger

              Matt,

               

              No need for me to comment, as Glenn and Chris said everything I would say.

               

              Jerry S.

              • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                Andrew Miller

                This feature, like most others in Solidworks, is buggy and inconsistent at best and unusable at worst.

                 

                Saving to PDF causes a drawing rebuild, which often drops components or changes appearances. Often, those changes are not shown in the Solidworks application--the first you hear of them is when the client of vendor notices their PDFs are illegible.

                 

                Saving to PDF causes viewports to become opaque and block out and title block graphics that occupy the same space.

                 

                The process is excruciatingly slow.

                 

                The dimension lines are rendered much too wide and can be ambiguous in detailed parts.

                 

                I use save to PDF very often. I check every output PDF file very carefully and find errors in about 25% of them.

                • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                  Don Cheke

                  I borrowed Glenn's form...

                   

                  Matthew Lorono wrote:

                   

                  How are Save as PDF and Print to PDF functions in SOLIDWORKS working for your? 
                  Both work well. I have one issue that I will describe further along.

                   

                  How often do you use them? Dido Glenn
                  On every project, usually several times.  I create pdf's of drawings to send to clients for approval, and also create a pdf of the final version to place on our network so anyone can view it.  I also often send 3d pdf's to clients.

                   

                  Do you have a special macro that gives you the ability to save or print to PDF files without having to go thru the Print or Save dialogs? 
                  Yes, I have one that saves a PDF and a DXF copy as we save copies of both for every drawing.

                   

                  What are you experiences about the differences between Saving and Printing to PDF?
                  I usually save as pdf because it is linked to my macro.

                  ISSUE: When a drawing has a PNG image inserted with a transparent background, I must print to PDF or the image is just a black blob, even when 'get background from file' is selected from the inserted image. I will occasionally to create brochures and I will often insert a rendered image in the drawing sheet. Scared me the first time this happened and was happy to find that print to PDF worked for this.

                   

                  What's bugging you about either?
                  Just the PNG issue mentioned above.

                  What do you like about either?
                  Both easy to use..

                  • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                    Jamil Snead

                    I create pdfs all the time, but only of drawings and they are all black and white and I never have pngs or jpgs or anything in them. I use a macro that saves the drawing in the same directory and with the same filename as the drawing file.  I have never had any problems.

                     

                    My biggest complaint about saving pdfs is when saving in color. I never save pdfs in color but my coworkers do sometimes accidentally, and then all the driven dimensions and sheet format lines are grey. It is useful when working in drawings to distinguish those things, but nobody would ever want them actually printed grey. It would be nice if there was a way to have certain things show up one color in SW and another color when printed or saved to pdf.

                      • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                        Jamil Snead

                        I thought of one more thing that I wish was different about saving to pdf. I wish that you could save a file to pdf in color without changing the system export settings. It would be nice if there was a checkbox in the Save dialog to make a one-time temporary adjustment to whatever your system setting is. This box could be just above or below or next the box for "View PDF after saving" or the "Save as 3D PDF" option that is present for models. It's too easy to forget to change the setting back and then all of your pdf saves after that are in color (with the stupid gray lines). I will frequently look at a pdf in the pdm vault and see that it is was saved in color because the person who checked in the drawing had forgotten to uncheck the setting.

                         

                        Speaking of that, it would be nice if you could force Workgroup PDM to regenerate the pdf that was saved for a drawing if you want to change the save setting (for example to change it from color to b&w).

                      • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                        robert dattilo

                            I usally print them. I think it's faster, & if you have a lot it can make a difference.  Also I think printings a little cleaner as my boss doesn't like to see, or have customers look at all the sheet & drawing view information that seems to come up default when saving them. That's the bookmark information.

                        • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                          Roland Schwarz

                          Use PDF save several times per week.  Usually works fine, no complaints.  Occasional odd-looking PDF.

                           

                          Don't use macros.  Use task scheduler occasionally.  Biggest problem is that I can't access the "open after save" option, which may result in a bucket-load of PDFs opening when I didn't expect it.

                          • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                            Patrick O'Hern

                            We save all of our drawings as PDF.  I created a macro that saves each sheet separately (along with a DWG copy) with the correct filename and revision and located in a job specific network location.  Since creating the macro, I haven't had a need to use Print to PDF.

                             

                            I like the view bookmarks that get added automatically, but they tend to zoom in too close and cut off dimension/notes that extend past the bounding box of the view.

                            • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                              James Anderson

                              Like a few of the guys above I use pdfs a lot to send to customers and lock down change issues - they are very important to our work flow as pdf drawing packs are often the end product either to the customer or to manufacturers of our own products.  The only time we deal in 3D is when we are working on tooling or sending edrawing 3d, but this is for general reference rather than properly controlled.

                               

                              Must admit I have rarely used 'Save as' because I always think of making pdfs as a printing process. The options that come up each time you click print just seem more appropriate to this output as inevitably my customer will print and file these themselves.  I also can't help but think as saving being something I do when I exit or to protect progress. 

                               

                              It is also a bit irritating finding the save as type every time vs having a default printer, I expect this is why macros are being mentioned (should probably investigate further!).  Would be interesting if the save as process could be reworked into the print dialog as a document printer rather than the 3rd party versions I've been using though.

                               

                              Sooo... when I first read this thread I was fully primed to go off on a rant about shaded view quality.  The results really are quite terrible and not appropriate for zooming in on screen at all. 

                               

                              BUT because of this I've had a closer look at 'Save as' and praise be! upping the DPI in the PDF save as options works nicely. 

                               

                              I can see I need to play now on tweaking line thicknesses and such but I'm much happier to have realised this!

                               

                              Perhaps I will return here to complain in a few months!!

                              • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                                Steven Smith

                                We have created a macro that takes the part number, description and current revision information within the custom properties and adds it to the file name when the PDF is created, when executed in a drawing it will also open the model defined in drawing view "1" and create a .step file of the model whilst also extracting the custom properties and adding it to the file name.

                                 

                                It then places the 2 files in a designated folder. This saves us hours of time.

                                It would be a good idea to export to multiple formats rather than one format at a time. e.g. .PDF & .DXF or .PDF & .STEP

                                Our macro does this.

                                • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                                  Josh Killalea

                                  we use it on every drawing we do.

                                   

                                  when i started using solidworks (version 2012) i was told to "save as" each sheet to PDF, that would have to be one of the most painful exercises i have had to do in a drawing program! especially when you have 10+ drawing sheets in a single slddrw file. the results with this were hit and miss. i would say maybe in the ball park of 60-75% success rate of actually getting a PDF that had everything in the PDF that was on the drawing sheet. it was a massive waste of time.

                                   

                                  i then tried the print to PDF and found it to be a little more reliable but still shockingly bad for not printing views properly. i then installed CutePDF (google it) and printed to that. because it is basically a virtual printer SW just thinks it is printing to a printer and it seems to work 95+% of the time. but this was still very time consuming as here they like to only have one drawing sheet per PDF for their down stream document control and use. i have had some weeks where that is 40+ drawings in a set in 4+ drawing files. so i found a macro on this site that saves each sheet as a PDF. since finding that i hadn't used anything else to generate PDFs. i have found it works perfectly 99% of the time. it is a little buggy, but nothing you can't live with. i am not sure what it does differently but i can't ever recall having any issues with it producing PDFs with things missing or not legible. seems to work fist go every go.

                                   

                                  a while back we went to using EPDM and have the auto generate PDFs at certain stages of our workflow. and it seems to be 99%+ successful at generating PDFs. i can't think of any instances off the top of my head that it didn't generate a PDF that was missing JPGs, drawing views or text.

                                   

                                  however;....

                                   

                                  we were getting an issue with 2012 that i had hoped would be worked out in 2014 which we have finally upgraded to in the last few weeks. (why i am here searching for answers and came across this thread).

                                   

                                  i have noticed when the action in the workflow to produce PDFs is run, that it opens a second session of solidworks and then the slddrw file you are transitioning and then generates the PDFs and closes that second session. all normal behavior from what we were told when we had our admin training. the problem i notice though is that the first sheet in the slddrw file doesn't update the revision field properly before printing the PDF. so the first PDF that comes out still has either a blank revision or the previous revision displayed. when you open the slddrw it is still blank or on the last revision on the first sheet only until you do a rebuild. this is obviously a problem for a few reasons, the most obvious being that we then have to manually generate a PDF of that drawing, but also then we have all these drawing files with a constant "rebuild required" warning in our workflow/vault. which is really not a huge issue, but a bit annoying to see the "file needs to be rebuilt" warnings everywhere.

                                   

                                  with our workflow, once a drawing has been revised and "issued" it is locked for editing, so to get rid of the warnings we would need to send it through a revision cycle which would then bump it another revision, we then get the same problem and have gone up a revision for nothing more than a rebuild of the slddrw file....not the answer.

                                   

                                  i know you can turn that warning off, but that isn't the fix needed here IMO. plus given the amount of drawings we generate here this is turning into a major headache! it would be nice to know if there is a fix for this or to have this fixed in a  hot fix/service pack/new release maybe?

                                   

                                  there are 2 other things i would love to see implemented;

                                  1)i think it would be a HUGE benefit to be able to use the sheet name in the file name string. this would mean the PDF file saved out could be named "<sheetname>R<revision>" which is how we save our PDFs.

                                  the way we work here is to name the sheets with the drawing number and then have that linked to the drawing number field in the title block. just makes it easy to navigate a file wih a large number of sheets. it would be a massive advantage for us to be able to access those sheet names in various other places to, like the variables in EPDM for use in the drawings and data cards. this would mean if you change the drawing number on the sheet it updates the drawing title block and anywhere else you have used the sheet name. so a $PRP that was something like $PRP(SHEET?):"sheet1name@filename" or something to call the sheet name for the appropriate sheet number. but i digress some. the macro i have does this, but it also uses the file name in the string. meaning we have to rename every PDF. also the option doesn't exist at all in EPDM so, while still a heap faster than doing each sheet manually, it is still a pain and given the amount of drawings we produce still somewhat time consuming.

                                   

                                  2) the ability to put the PDFs into any folder you specify.

                                  the macro i had just saved the files to the last place you opened a file from, which wasn't always where your drawing file was. so the PDFs could "disappear" sometimes and finding them could prove difficult. the options in EPDM are somewhat limiting as you either save them to a specified folder or give the user the option to pick where to save them. however when you give the user the option to choose it doesn't activate an explorer browser like you would think. it activates a dialog where you have to enter the file location manually. i didn't check if you could cut and paste a file path in that before turning it off again. but even if you can, that means the real world work flow for that would be that you have to open an explorer window, browse to where you want the files saved, then copy the address, then paste that into the dialog. seemed a bit stupid to me, so i have left it going to a specific folder.

                                   

                                  sorry for the loooog post, but i feel background info on how we do things always seems to help rather than answering a million questions on how we do it and why i want the changes.

                                    • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                                      Matthew Lorono


                                      Josh,

                                       

                                      60% success rate is concerning, but also seems to be something that is repeatable to some degree.  Have you contacted your VAR to analyze the sitatuion?  There are several factors that may be at play.  As much as I gringe at making this suggestion, there might be a graphics card issue (noncertified card or drive).  The VAR should be able to walk to the common culprits and if necesasry file a bug.

                                        • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                                          Josh Killalea

                                          Hi Matthew, thanks for the reply.
                                          yes one of the guys in the office had contacted the VAR. we do have certified graphics cards and all the drivers were up to date. the drawing views in question would be there when you went to print and then disappear after you had printed. so it was really frustrating. the thing i had put it down to was the amount of information being displayed in one .slddrw file. so because we work on such huge detailed models i have worked out that if you put the GAs in one drawing file of no more than 3 or 4 sheets and then the sub assemblies and details into .slddrw files of no more than 9 or 10 sheets, you typically don't see the issue again. that clarification may have been handy in my first post sorry.

                                           

                                          this was confirmed for me by a VAR that recently cam to our site to help with our first ever upgrade of EPDM. he had extensive first hand experience with working on and with models very similar to what we do here, and confirmed that SW has a few "weaknesses" when working with the kind of data we use here. but that is no big surprise or a big deal. it just means we need to work smarter with this stuff.

                                      • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                                        Patrick O'Hern

                                        I've been using Save As PDF lately, and I've been having some problems lately.  Every so often, I'll create a PDF, but then I'm unable to print the PDF on our printer.  It keeps giving an insufficient memory error.  It seems to only be happening on top level assembly drawings, so I'm wondering if the number of edges is somehow causing a problem.

                                        • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                                          Brian Alamo

                                          How are Save as PDF and Print to PDF functions in SOLIDWORKS working for your?

                                          =They are working well.  Save as PDF is the standard practice now that I created a macro.  Print to PDF is still used when Save As PDF gives bad results.

                                           

                                          How often do you use them?

                                          =Every drawing we create gets a PDF to send to the vendor or for use by non-CAD users.

                                           

                                          Do you have a special macro that gives you the ability to save or print to PDF files without having to go thru the Print or Save dialogs?

                                          =Yes, the macro uses Save as PDF, but edits the file name with part number and revision.  The revision is read from the properties, but also prompts the user for the revision as our PDM system uses decimal revisions that must be removed when creating the PDF.  Before the macro, the drafter would manually edit the revision in the title block, or check in the drawing so the PDM system handles the revision.  After that, the PDF was created.  Using the macro saves a lot of steps to create the PDF and name the file properly.  I have a similar macro for making STEP files of the part models (same file naming convention).  I agree with the other user that having multiple file type outputs would be useful.  I think most SolidWorks users would like a one click PDF output of what you see on the screen.  Do people still say WYSIWYG?

                                           

                                          What are your experiences about the differences between Saving and Printing to PDF?

                                          =Save As PDF seems to scale the line weights by sheet size.  Print to PDF seems to scale the line weights by paper size.  We use B, C, and D size sheet formats, but always print them on 11x17 paper.  Sometimes the D size PDFs are very faint with Save As PDF, so we use Print to PDF when that happens.

                                           

                                          What's bugging you about either?

                                          =I am not able to get consistent line weights with Save As PDF.

                                           

                                          What do you like about either?

                                          =Save As PDF was easy to implement in the macro.  Not all users have the same PDF printer to get one macro to work for all.

                                          • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                                            Markku Lehtola

                                            Hi,

                                             

                                            i'm using my own add-ins's (partly free tools available for download) to automate saves..

                                             

                                            br

                                            Markku

                                            www.sloworks.fi

                                            • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                                              Butch Lively

                                              How are Save as PDF and Print to PDF functions in SOLIDWORKS working for your?

                                              Save as PDF works great for us ~99.56422% of the time.

                                              How often do you use them?

                                              Every time we version a native file (.slddrw/.dwg/.docx/ etc.) in the vault, we also include an updated .pdf.

                                              Do you have a special macro that gives you the ability to save or print to PDF files without having to go thru the Print or Save dialogs?

                                              PDFs are created on the EPDM server upon final approval.  Approval names/dates will automatically show on the final .pdf.

                                              What are you experiences about the differences between Saving and Printing to PDF?

                                              I was unaware that SolidWorks had a Print to PDF option. Occasionally I may find a drawing where the save as pdf option is giving bad results and will resort to printing to PDF using the CutePDF print driver.

                                              What's bugging you about either?

                                              When I save a model (.sldprt/.sldasm) as a PDF I like it saved in colour.  When I save a drawing (.slddrw) I want it saved in B&W. Currently there is only one option to set the colour vs B&W and I continually have to change it.   It would be nice to have a separate colour setting for models vs drawings.

                                              What do you like about either?

                                              The bookmark feature is nice.

                                              • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                                                Dave Moore

                                                The only time I really have a problem saving as PDF is with when I use hiqh-quality shaded with edge views, specifically exploded views and section views.

                                                Shaded Exploded View.PNG

                                                This is typical. Anything outside of the unexploded view envelope isn't shaded. (This is a drawing of a part. I don't know if that makes a difference.)

                                                Shaded Section View.PNG

                                                This happens ~50% of the time. Doing a control-Q rebuild will usually bring the lines back, but it's not a sure thing. Right now I've got a drawing that has shaded section views on three different pages and when I saved it to PDF two of the pages were normal, one was broken.

                                                 

                                                I'm using a certified graphics card with up to date drivers, so I'm not sure what the problem is.

                                                • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                                                  Andries Koorzen

                                                  Hi Matthew.

                                                   

                                                  I work for a reseller here in South Africa. We have a client who works with assemblies in excess of 30K component assemblies. Using Save As PDF results in PDF files which are in excess of 70MB per file, which is unusable in a practical environment because you cannot email these files.

                                                   

                                                  They are current forced to use print to PDF, which basically strips out all the intelligence from the PDF and makes it a LOT smaller... in the order of 5-10Mbs

                                                  • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                                                    Ahmed Lasheen

                                                    Actually i have a critical problem in Save as PDF:-

                                                     

                                                    solidworks doesn't support Arabic fonts , so when i write any Arabic text in solidworks it appears like that "اح م د"

                                                    (Separate letters) , while it should be "احمد" one word.

                                                     

                                                    whatever the problem is when i save as PDF it appears separate letters "اح م د" i feel like he takes screen shot and created a PDF.

                                                     

                                                    But when i Print as PDF it appears correctly because he use window fonts to deal with the file.

                                                     

                                                    Thanks

                                                    Lasheen

                                                      • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                                                        Ben Richardson

                                                        I have a possibly related problem to Ahmed's, generally I have no problem saving to PDF and use it all the time, but recently my work involves having drawings with Chinese translations, when printing to PDF it turns the Simplified Chinese into Traditional which is not used in mainland China, so this is basically a deal breaker I have to use 3rd party software to print to PDF in order for it to keep the correct font, I had "embed font" checked in the save options but this seems to make no difference.

                                                         

                                                        I'm still searching for a solution as printing takes a lot longer than save and is therefore not ideal. I have also tried deleting the Traditional fonts from windows but it wont allow me.

                                                      • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                                                        Dwight Livingston

                                                        Matt

                                                         

                                                        Thought I'd comment here, rather than start a new thread. Glenn's post sums up our experience, except we always print to PDF. We use it a lot. It would be helpful if we could set the default file name for the PDF. We always use just the file name of the drawing, without "- Sheet1" added to the drawing file name. So every time we print, we have to manually edit the name.

                                                         

                                                        Thanks.

                                                         

                                                        Dwight

                                                        • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                                                          Steven Smith

                                                          It would be handy to have configurable options where you can select multiple outputs. e.g. default could be print to pdf & dxf to a specific location.

                                                           

                                                          These are the most common output that I used to use as suppliers would 90% of the time request a .dxf file along with the master pdf.

                                                          • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                                                            Anton Miller

                                                            Every drawing has a pdf.

                                                             

                                                            The save as PDF has been working solid for ever, but the task scheduler has been hokey at times with moving notes around the page that we wouldn't want to.

                                                            • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                                                              Chris Saller

                                                              We do Save As to PDF daily, no problems.

                                                              • Re: Save or Print to PDF, how's it working for you?
                                                                Michael Bardwell

                                                                3D Print to PDF and Publish to 3D PDF both return blank documents - the 3D publish has the viewports and tables but no data or images in either. I have been exporting to STEP then importing to autocad then arranging on sheets and printing to pdf that way.