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Workaround the 'no shadows' bug in Pages and Keynote Apps
I noted this solution in my preview of Pages for Macworld, but I thought I should get it in the database here ... and I've discovered the problem is a bit worse than what I described. Briefly, the problem is that drop shadows applied to objects in Pages are sort of lost when exported to PDF -- they look and print fine in Preview, but vanish when viewed or printed from Adobe Reader on the Mac or PC.

After some more testing, I've found out this same issue applies to Keynote, so it's an iWork-wide issue, not just Pages. The (expensive) solution, as noted in the article, requires Adobe Acrobat. This is a pricey workaround, but it does work. Instead of using Export from Pages or Keynote, use Print, and select 'Adobe PDF' as the printer. When the print job is done, you'll have a PDF that has functioning drop shadows on all PDF viewers on all platforms.

The downside, in particular with larger Keynote presentations, is that Acrobat makes much larger PDF files than does the Export function. I exported my Macworld slides (50+ of them, all with graphics of some sort) from Keynote, and the PDF was about 11MB in size. I then used the Acrobat method, with the Acrobat settings set to "smallest files," and got a 39MB resulting file. Opening this up in Acrobat and playing with the options in the Advanced menu, I was able to get it down to 16MB, but it took a fair bit of time and effort. I don't have any huge Pages documents, so I haven't noticed this same problem, but I would expect it to hold true there as well.

Hopefully this issue is addressed in an iWork 1.1 update relatively quickly!
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Workaround the 'no shadows' bug in Pages and Keynote | 17 comments | Create New Account
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Authored by: TheSpoonman on Jan 28, '05 09:49:10AM

I don't have Pages, so I can't try it out, but doesn't Ghostscript export to PDF format? Has anyone tried using that?

Answering the age-old question: which is more painful, going to work or gouging your eye out with a spoon?

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Authored by: erichsu on Jan 28, '05 03:33:29PM

This works. I tried a test file which had the no-shadows-in-Adobe-Reader bug, then printed the original page to PS, and then used ps2pdf which comes I believe in the free ghostscript package. Adobe Reader 7 opened it with drop shadows.

Note that Preview's PS-to-PDF converter does NOT work.

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Workaround the 'no shadows' bug in Pages and Keynote
Authored by: warren on Jan 28, '05 11:41:25AM

I also don't have the apps to try it out myself, but might the old trick of printing to PS first, and converting it to PDF with Preview work here as well?

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Workaround the 'no shadows' bug in Pages and Keynote
Authored by: barryjaylevine on Jan 28, '05 12:00:13PM

Following the previous advice, I printed to postscript, then dropped the resulting file onto Acrobat (which launched Distiller, converted the file, and opened it within Acrobat). The drop shadow appeared and printed.

While this isn't a fair comparison, Pages generated a 4K pdf while, working from the "print to PS" file (from Pages), Acrobat generated a 20K pdf. I'm sure there's a bit of overhead so maybe the difference isn't as dramatic once the file size (within Pages) grows.

I'll leave that for others to determine.

Two things in this world aren't overrated: Macintosh and Lemon Meringue Pie.

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Workaround the 'no shadows' bug in Pages and Keynote
Authored by: Baggins on Jan 28, '05 12:06:59PM

This does work. I printed the default newsletter template with output set to postscript. Then I opened in Preview, and let it convert to PDF. Then I saved the PDF and opened it in Acrobat. Drop Shadows were preserved.

However, the file size went from 682K to 10.6 MB. A little poking around showed that this is because Preview converts PS to PDF by rasterizing the image (you can see this if you zoom in to about 800%; the pixelation becomes noticeable).

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Workaround the 'no shadows' bug in Pages and Keynote
Authored by: rhowell on Jan 28, '05 02:45:16PM

Strange. When I print this web page to postscript, let Preview convert it to PDF, and then view the PDF in Acrobat, there are no new rasterized objects. Zooming to 600% shows smooooooth fonts.

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Workaround the 'no shadows' bug in Pages and Keynote
Authored by: _merlin on Jan 31, '05 06:58:12AM

Preview doesn't rasterise Postscript files when it converts them to PDF. The print engine rasterises some objects when it creates a Postscript file. Shadows can't be described any other way in Postscript, so they're rasterised. Then Preview gets a Postscript file containing rasterised shadows, and makes a PDF with rasterised shadows.

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Workaround the 'no shadows' bug in Pages and Keynote
Authored by: aptenergy on Feb 26, '05 09:38:26PM

It would, except the ps to pdf conversion doesn't work. I have a particular Keynote file which generates an error when the PS conversion is converted to PDF:

%%[ Error: syntaxerror; OffendingCommand: %ztokenexec_continue ]%%
AFPL Ghostscript 8.14: Unrecoverable error, exit code 1

I tried simpler Keynote presentations and they don't give this error, so I'm wondering what's up. (the PS to PDF conversion also does not work in Preview nor in Adobe Distiller.)

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Better Solution:
Authored by: visigothe on Jan 28, '05 12:18:29PM

Instead of using Acrobat, why not just go ahead and Print->save as PDF? (rather than Exporting)

That feature is free with OSX, and no Acrobat needed. Oh, and you can compress the heck out of a PDF using the ColorSync Utility in your Utilities folder (in Applications)

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Better Solution:
Authored by: robg on Jan 28, '05 12:24:36PM

Because, if you do, you'll find that Print -> Save as PDF also loses the shadows on PCs and Reader on the Mac. Print to PDF doesn't work any better (or any worse :) ) than Export.

Using Acrobat is the only way I've found to keep the shadows in anything other than Preview.


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Better Solution:
Authored by: salvo on Mar 21, '05 07:33:41AM

What about using GhostScript to convert Postscript Output to Simple PDF Commands, like in this hint;
Create a virtual PDF Printer

MacOSX doesn't use GhostScript for its PDF, does it? GhostScript doesn't understand Shadows, does it?

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Authored by: lassowitz on Jan 28, '05 01:03:53PM

Is it possible that iWork uses OpenGL for its effects like drop shadows? I had a somewhat similar issue with iMovie.... a slideshow I created using iMovie's smooth-transitioning video effects always exported as a choppy image-to-image slideshow (no transition effects whatsoever). After poking around, I found that Apple's "advanced" graphic transitions are all handled by OpenGL...

I wonder if a similar issue is at foot here, and thus Apple's PDF export discards the drop shadow information that it can't process like the normal vector and raster information in the iWork files.

Just a thought....

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OpenGL? Probably something like it
Authored by: hamarkus on Jan 28, '05 10:12:16PM

Basically all Apple apps can create things like drop shadows, using the same OS routine (via command-T). The rendering probably is done by some OS X exclusive mechanism (Quartz? or via OpenGL?). Apple found a way to embed this very special kind of text into the PDFs created by the OS, thereby creating small files with superb quality (with the shadows being vector-graphics and not bitmaps).

Unfortunately, Adobe does not seem to support this kind of text (yet) in its version of the PDF format. Neither do its apps display the shadows nor can create something similar themselves (drop shadows in InDesign CS, Illustrator CS etc. are created and saved as bitmaps, try zooming in or printing big enough).

This problem is probably as old as OS X itself and exists in all Apple apps (e.g. Mail, TextEdit, Keynote 1). However, a couple of apps which seem to rely on the OS' build-in capability to display PDFs, like TeXShop, Omnigraffle or GraphicConverter are able to display the shadow as well as Preview (Omnigraffle can even re-export these kinds of PDFs).

All the workarounds rely on the OS creating a ps file, which can than be converted into a PDF by whatever means (via Preview; with the Distiller directly, by opening with Acrobat, or choosing Adobe PDF as printer; with Ghostview etc.). Since there is no way to specify a blurred shadow in the Postscript specifications, as said above, Adobe has not implemented it yet, a bitmap is created, which naturally leads to potentially much bigger file sizes.

So far Apple's technology is simply too far ahead, maybe Apple should add an option, 'Save as Adobe-compliant PDF - Caution: Results in bigger file sizes and/or lower quality'.

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Workaround the 'no shadows' bug in Pages and Keynote
Authored by: DavidRavenMoon on Jan 28, '05 01:06:19PM

I use Acrobat all the time and found that a quick way to get smaller PDF files is to simply re-save the PDF as a PDF.

So just open the PDF and do a Save As to a different location (or rename it), select PDF from the file type popup, and Acrobat will optimize the file as it saves it. The reduction in file size is usually quite dramatic!

There is also a reduce file size command in Acrobat, but I find the image quality is poor.

G4/466, 1 GB, Mac OS X 10.3.7

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Workaround the 'no shadows' bug in Pages and Keynote
Authored by: nibs on Jan 30, '05 11:20:57AM

the shadows that quartz pdf generates is actually a non-standard extension to the pdf spec. it's completely valid pdf, but acrobat and other pdf tools ignore the shadow parameters. it's only going to be rendered and printed correctly when used by the quartz rip and quartz renderer. it sounds like the printing code is flattening the pdf to raster images (at a resolution matching the printer), which can then be rendered correctly in acrobat and other readers.

there won't be a clean solution until the pdf spec is updated to include this sort of shadowing, and then apple will update their code to use that.

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Workaround the 'no shadows' bug in Pages and Keynote
Authored by: hamarkus on Jan 30, '05 02:07:08PM

Thanks for the more technically sound explanation (than I managed).

What I do not completely understand is why Apple decided to render the text to which the shadows belong as a raster image as well when printing (i.e. when creating the ps-file) (Adobe apps don't do it) but maybe there is a technical reason for it.

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Workaround the 'no shadows' bug in Pages and Keynote
Authored by: jon16z on Feb 03, '05 10:54:45PM

Adobe inDesign has had the same problem since version 1 - making the extensive PDF export features seem rather pointless.

(If your own apps can't preserve drop shadows and illustrator CS reports InDesign gradients as "WARNING! Unknown shading type" then there must be something wrong.)

As regards to Pages, I managed to create a Quartz ColorSync filter through the print menu to convert the document to CMYK and produced a 2.6MB PDF (retaining drop shadows).

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