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Convert Visio 2003 (PC) documents to PDFs System
I occasionally find myself using Visio 2003 on my PC (via Remote Desktop Connection from my Powerbook, of course). Since no one else in the office really uses Visio, I've come up with this quick work-around to turn my Visio files into PDFs. The neat thing is that this should work for just about any app that uses a propriatary image format...
  1. Open your document in Visio.
  2. Save it as a PNG (this will probably work with other image formats, too). Make sure you save it with a decent resolution -- I've been using 256x256 pixels/inch. That's usually more than enough, plus it's an easy number to remember.
  3. Move the PNG over to your Mac using your favourite method of file transfer.
  4. Open the PNG in Preview, and choose File -> Save As.
  5. Give the file a name, change the format to PDF, and click Save.
You can also choose File -> Print -> Print to PDF in Preview, but this will fit your PDF to a piece of paper. Since most of my Visios don't end up getting printed, that method just has the effect of adding whitespace to the borders of my document.
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Convert Visio 2003 (PC) documents to PDFs | 7 comments | Create New Account
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Convert Visio 2003 (PC) documents to PDFs
Authored by: Baggins on Aug 15, '05 10:10:17AM

Another way would be to install the Apple Color Laserwriter 600 printer in Windows as a file printer.

Then print your visio drawing to a postscript file, move that to your Mac and open it with Preview. Preview converts the postscript to PDF. You can then save the converted doc and delete the original postscript.

The advantage to this method is that you will retain the vector nature of the visio drawing.

This method works for any Windows program that allows printing.

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Convert Visio 2003 (PC) documents to PDFs
Authored by: diamondsw on Aug 15, '05 10:15:16AM

Wow, so saving a document in a compatible format is a "hint" now?

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Convert Visio 2003 (PC) documents to PDFs
Authored by: peterjhill on Aug 15, '05 11:38:01AM

If you used Visio, you would know the answer was yes. I am a Network Engineer for a website you have been to and need to open visio docs...

The default format is a proprietary binary that Microsoft defends with vigor. It has an XML export that Omnigraffle can open, but for complicated drawings it is not very good. (Omnigraffle is great btw.. i only use RDC/Visio to open docs not create them).

The solution to export as PS using LW print driver is superior to the png solution... since the PS will be vector based and not raster based it will scale beautifully..

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Convert Visio 2003 (PC) documents to PDFs
Authored by: diamondsw on Aug 16, '05 11:30:18AM
Yes, but my point is this is not some slick way to convert Visio docs to PDF (which would be useful), this is about resaving the Visio docs in Visio to another format."Gee, I can't open format X. I'll take a program that can open it (the program that created it) and save it in format Y." No, that is not a "hint".

Now we'll see "hints" about opening Photoshop documents (must open and resave in Photoshop as JPEG), opening Word documents (open in Word and resave as RTF), and opening classified government documents (get the guy to decrypt it for you first). For people who don't have the original program, this will be of no help. For those who do, it's bloody obvious.

[And I find your comment of "you haven't used Visio" particularly funny, as I've been a network architect at IBM the last 5 years and spent my days almost entirely in Visio (frist 5.0, then 2000, and now that mess called 2003). Hell, I have patents on automating Visio (and no, the patents were not my idea, but the automation code was). Haven't used Visio... sheesh.]

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Convert Visio 2003 (PC) documents to PDFs
Authored by: innate on Aug 15, '05 10:51:31AM
You can also do this on Windows using PDFCreator (open source: which gives Windows a feature similar to OS X's Print to PDF. I don't know if it will add whitespace to the borders of your document, but it should resize more gracefully than a PNG.

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Bad resolution choice
Authored by: _merlin on Aug 15, '05 09:36:52PM

Why would you use 256x256? As most printers work in multiples of 300dpi, You will get less aliasing effects when you print if you use a multiple of 300dpi.

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Bitmaps are BAD mmm kay
Authored by: silicontrip on Aug 16, '05 12:48:33AM

From memory Visio is a vector based drawing app of sorts?

PDFs support vector based images. So saving to a bitmap file will destroy all the vector based information which would normally be present in the PDF.

It is possible to load PDFs into certain programs and continue to edit them as vector based images. Doing what you describe would prevent this.

Someone mentioned a method to print to a postscript file, then convert the postscript to a PDF. I've used this method for years converting proprietry MS documents into files that can be edited by other operating systems.

Actually, pretty much every machine I've used in the last 15 years had the ability to print to postscript. It's been very useful to know these steps.

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