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Save PDF Graphic Elements using Preview Apps
It is easy to create a PDF file with scalable vector graphics, which can be later included elsewhere (LaTeX users will appreciate this).

You will need some application to prepare the graphics -- Keynote works well (I also tried PowerPoint). Select the graphic. Copy it to the clipboard (using Command+C or Edit » Copy).

Then go into Preview, and type Command+N ( or File » Create From Clipboard). Save the new file as a PDF. Notice that, no matter how much you zoom, the image does not pixellate.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described.]
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Save PDF Graphic Elements using Preview | 16 comments | Create New Account
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Create scalable PDF vector graphics with Preview
Authored by: Avikingman on Dec 21, '10 08:01:47AM

Nice. Exc. for those times when....



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Create scalable PDF vector graphics with Preview
Authored by: Anonymous on Dec 21, '10 08:35:49AM

How is this different from printing to PDF please?



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Create scalable PDF vector graphics with Preview
Authored by: scooby509 on Dec 21, '10 01:34:00PM

The primary difference: with this technique, there are no margins, so you avoid the redundant cropping process if you're including this in another file.

Incidentally, speaking of printing, if you're using regular LaTeX, you may find it useful to note that you can print the PDF as a PostScript file; ps2epsi will convert it to an EPS.

I've got to plug OmniGraffle here: it will (at least the Pro version) export as SVG, PDF and EPS directly from the app, and gives you precise control over details like the amount of whitespace around your graphics and whether the background is opaque or transparent. You can even disable compression of the native file format under document settings, which allows it to work a lot better with source code control tools.



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Create scalable PDF vector graphics with Preview
Authored by: Jwink3101 on Dec 21, '10 08:50:26AM

This works to only some degree with Word 2004. I still use the older version because I do not really use Word but I need it for a few things. Most of my work is in LaTeX so I do appreciate this. But, when you make graphics with Word 2004, it does not keep everything as vector. Some stuff does but not everything.

In later version of Word, there is the option to export to PDF that is not in this version. For those, I do not imagine this is the best solution either when there is that option.

As for printing to PDF, this is different because it crops it. In theory, you can print to PDF and then use Preview to crop if you wanted. When you print to PDF, everything stayed vector.



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Create scalable PDF vector graphics with Preview
Authored by: chabig on Dec 21, '10 09:17:44AM

The first sentence of this hint says, "It is easy to create a scalable vector graphics file..."

This hint does not create a Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file. It creates a PDF. I suggest rewording the hint to avoid confusion. And the title would be better shortened to "Save PDF Graphic Elements using Preview".



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Create scalable PDF vector graphics with Preview
Authored by: dronkert on Dec 21, '10 09:40:13AM

Ya, it must be a scalable vector graphic to begin with. Preview does not trace bitmaps and create vector graphics.



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Create scalable PDF vector graphics with Preview
Authored by: brh on Dec 21, '10 03:14:28PM

It is a scalable vector graphics file - it is not a Scalable Vector Graphics file. You already figured out the difference, no? But what the OP says is not a lie… The resultant PDF will be vector, which is inherently scalable, and is presumably going to contain graphics. A PDF is going to be far more useful to the vast majority of users than an SVG would be anyway…



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Create scalable PDF vector graphics with Preview
Authored by: Anonymous on Dec 22, '10 08:04:02AM
It is a scalable vector graphics file - it is not a Scalable Vector Graphics file. You already figured out the difference, no?
And how many didn't? The submitter, for one! Should be reworded to break up the word order: "It's easy to create a PDF containing vector graphics which will scale when resized..."

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Create scalable PDF vector graphics with Preview
Authored by: crarko on Dec 21, '10 04:02:40PM

Chabig; I like your suggestions. Resolution adopted.



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Create scalable PDF vector graphics with Preview
Authored by: RMo on Dec 21, '10 10:36:02AM

This tip is technically correct (assuming you created a vector image to begin with--e.g., using lines and shapes, not pasting in a bitmap and expecting to convert to vector graphics); however, it is, at the least, very awkward. Office:mac 2008 can export to PDF (e.g., a chart you made in Excel), and OO.o on any platform can do the same (with better results if you paste into Draw first for things like charts). Perhaps iWork can, too, but I don't use it so I don't know.

Then there are LaTeX-specific solutions like PGF/Tkiz (and the less portable pstricks) that can do many of these things themselves.



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Create scalable PDF vector graphics with Preview
Authored by: asmeurer on Dec 21, '10 01:48:46PM

This hint is very ambiguous as to what exactly the hint is? You create some kind of graphic (what type isn't specified, though apparently it does matter), then use Preview to convert it to a PDF. What exactly are you saying, that you can convert your WordArt into a scalable PDF?



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Why not just use "Inkscape" ?
Authored by: ygor on Dec 21, '10 02:32:01PM

It does SVG natively.
And runs very nicely on Mac.



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Why not just use "Inkscape" ?
Authored by: brh on Dec 21, '10 05:58:39PM

Exactly what I thought at first when I read this… Rather than hoping some over-simplified drawing process inside of an app that isn't made for drawing will actually return a vector or not, just do it right… Unfortunately, Inkscape is not ideal because you're forcing users to start up the X11 environment (most of said users probably have no other motive to run X)… But still, this solution seems even clunkier than starting X…



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Why not just use "Inkscape" ?
Authored by: Anonymous on Dec 22, '10 08:11:21AM

There's a way of compiling it without the X11 dependency, although it's marked "experimental" in the Inkscape Wiki

There's also consensus that the Inkscape team should produce a native Aqua version in future.

So if you're not au fait with MacPorts and rolling your own, keep your eyes peeled for updates.



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Save PDF Graphic Elements using Preview
Authored by: rhowell on Dec 22, '10 12:33:20PM

I think this hint requires OS X 10.0 or above.



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Save PDF Graphic Elements using Preview
Authored by: mmcco on Dec 28, '10 07:05:54AM

Was there a version of OS X before 10.0?



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