Although gCADPlus has an in-built PDF writer that is available from the File drop down menu and is useful for quick check PDF preview, the in-built writer does not produce very high quality output.

In order to produce high quality PDF files it is necessary to download and install an external PDF writer. Many applications in this category are available and a number are free of change. This page provides some background information on PDF writers and how to go about installing them.

How do PDF writers work?

A PDF writer is a 'phantom' printer that the computer sees as if it is attached to your PC. The figure below summarizes the different ways to print a landscape design plan using gCADPlus. Three methods are available viz: print to an attached local printer, print to a PDF writer and use File > SaveAsPDF.

 

Print PDF

Almost every computer in use today has on it, a copy on it of Adobe's Acrobat Reader® software. This is not surprising, because it is a most useful software tool and Adobe Systems provide it free of charge. If you print your documents or gCADPlus drawings to a PDF file, then any client or local print copy shop, can view and print your drawings without the need to own a copy of the software used to create the file.

Tip: We suggest adding  a rider to the email when you attach a drawing for a client to view. Something along the following lines

"This file is in PDF format and can be viewed and printed using Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you have problems viewing the file we suggest upgrading to the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat Reader available for your operating system. The Adobe Acrobat Reader software is FREE. If you don't have the latest version you can download it now at:http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html "

The PDF format has been adopted by many agencies as a standard way of distributing important documents (E.g. U.S.  Food and Drug Administration (FDA), many courts and larger organizations). Its use does help cut down on the use of paper, but there are many other benefits:

  • If you send a copy of your work to a recipient in Acrobat format, provided that they have downloaded and installed a copy of Acrobat Reader, they will be able to open the document and print it. This means that every recipient can read and print your work, even if the computer that they are using to view the file does not have a copy of the original application you used to create the work. You would not expect everyone to have a copy of specialist (and expensive) software such as AutoCAD or InDesign on it, so that problem is overcome.

  • The 'look and feel' of your document is maintained in the hands of the recipient. The page layout, graphics and fonts used by you are embedded in the document and always display correctly. In Acrobat Reader. It is possible for your client to rotate the view if needed and zoom in on any part of a document.

  • Your work is secure and can only be viewed, but not be altered.

  • In addition, Adobe PDF files have full text search features for locating words, bookmarks, and data fields in long documents.

Some PDF writers

CutePDF

We have some (good) experience producing PDF files with gCADPlus drawings with a free PDF writer called CutePDF.

Type CutePDF into your favourite search engine and download and install a copy.

Install CutePDF

Use your fvourite serach engine and search for CutePDF. The figure below shows the result.

CutePDF

Visit www.cutepdf.com

CutePDF download

Download the file and run (open) it. This will install the driver and a new printer will be available. Here is what it looks like on Windows 8.1

CutePDF now available

 CutePDF  Here is a small movie showing how a landscape design plan is printed to the CutePDF writer.

CutePDF writer

 

Adobe Acrobat

This is the premier PDF writer. If you purchase a copy of Adobe Acrobat and install it on your computer, the PDF writer will be installed along with some other very powerful tools (such as Adobe Distiller). Please note that very often, software that you are using will be modified during the installation of Adobe Acrobat. 

PDF Writer

This is a modestly priced piece of software available in most software distribution outlets - OfficeWorks, Harvey Norman etc..

Printing to a local printer

When the drawing is complete and a suitable layout has been developed, sect File>Print

The figure below shows a design about to be printed to a Brother Color Printer A4 in size. Because the printer is a monochrome (B&W) printer even though colors have been used, the resultant print will be black and white.

B&W

Print black and white  Here is a small movie showing how to print a colored landscape plan in black and white.

 

Installing PDF writers