Don't forget about MS office programs

Since we don’t have a hints and tips section yet I’ll drop this here.

I have been struggling with Inkscape for things that don’t come out of F360 and then it dawned on me that all or most Office programs will save to a PDF!

So until I get much better in Inkscape, Word will be my go to for quick lines fo text and the like.


And on a Mac, every program that can print can also save to PDF. (“Save as PSF” is right there in the print dialog.)


Windows is the same, actually; it’s in the print dialog just like macOS.

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Oh, did they add that in Windows 10? Cool.

it’s been around for years, actually, though i don’t know if it was included by default in all installations before windows 8 or 10

PDF print drivers started creeping in as third party drivers years ago. I not sure if the one everyone is seeing is officially part of the install or not. Most everyone has Adobe reader installed and I’m pretty sure it includes a driver now. But anyway, yes, anything you can print will print to the Glowforge this way. It would (wood) be a great way to do a resignation. Handed in on maple or cherry.


PDF save is now a part of Microsoft Office 365, not a third party driver. And the PDF print driver comes with Windows 10. Figure Microsoft finally gave up on the “my format is better than yours” war with Adobe.


Cool! We’ve also seen folks use Powerpoint. Also, print out from office apps and use trace. Lots of options. :wink:


Hold on though- isn’t there some conversion trickery with PDF? Like, the same scaling used to make a PDF and then import it doesn’t seem to give me exactly the same scaling with inkscape.

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I’ve made a graph using some equations in excel, save the graph as pdf, and opened in inkscape. Perfect and clean SVG from there.


InkScape is confusing with the way it shows outside dimensions. It includes the line width, so a 10mm square say in other packages comes out as slightly bigger, but it isn’t really.


PDF is just a wrapper that holds data. It can hold all sorts of data. Not all programs write the same data, and not all programs read the same data. Some programs write redundant sets of data in different ways. Some programs can read all the redundant data, and some just read portions. AI and Inkscape do things differently, and that is often frustrating.

AI (as I understand it), will essentially save two versions of your file into a PDF when you select “Preserve Illustrator editing capabilities” in the PDF save dialogue. AFAIK it does not do this if you “print to pdf” from the print dialogue, but it does RIP the appearance data. That could possibly be a cause for a PDF/X version of a shape to be slightly off-dimension from the vector inkscape version.

PDF/X is for sending to a printer, and leaves out a bunch of info that a printer does not need/want (info that a CAM/CAD process might be interested in seeing).

A Layered PDF might not be as good to send to a printer (who knows what layer they would end up printing, maybe all layers at once), but is perfect for giving to another designer who will continue to work on it, or for a file that is being used for another type of process. I use layered files with my plotter to differentiate between colors (load a blue roll of vinyl, select the blue layer to send to the plotter, etc)

Someone who enjoys coding and poking through code might do us a favor and try looking at the differences in the code of several versions of a simple file (say a 10mm square with a 2mm stroke?) that was created with “Save As… PDF”, “Export for screens > PDF”, and “Print > to PDF” (in AI, and also whatever the corresponding options are in Inkscape).


@martinell.jan uses Powerpoint for EVERYTHING!

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HA!! I do … the word POWER is in the name for a reason!


I know a lot of people who use MS Publisher for everything. I guess what works for you.