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Making an EPS file


Exporting from drawing programs
...painting programs
...DTP programs
...word processors and other programs
Printing to EPS file in MS Windows
Converting to EPS using PSAlter

The first thing to remember is that putting PostScript into a file does not make it an EPS file. It has to be specially formatted.

The second thing to remember is that an EPS file does not have to have a preview attached. Without a preview, you can't see what the file will look like on screen, but it should print ok if used as a graphic in a document which is printed to a PostScript printer.

Exporting EPS from an application

Drawing programs

Drawing programs allow you to construct pictures from lines, curves and text. The major difference between drawing programs and painting programs is that in a drawing program things remain editable - for instance, you can resize boxes and move text.

Examples of drawing programs are Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator, and Macromedia (once Aldus) Freehand.

Most of the better drawing programs will be able to export as EPS. This will usually be via an Export or Save As function (not Print). In many cases they will create a preview - sometimes it is an option.

These EPS files are ideal for quality work since they work well at any resolution. (For instance, on a better printer, the text becomes sharper).

Painting programs

Painting programs are superficially similar to drawing programs. The difference is that they work on a grid of pixels, making marks which become permanent. Objects cannot be moved, except by cutting out the area and moving it, which would normally leave a hole in the background.

Examples of painting programs are Windows Paintbrush, Corel PhotoPaint, and Adobe Photoshop.

Some painting programs have the ability to export as EPS, often with a preview. Again, Export or Save As is the usual way.

These EPS files are often less good quality than those from drawing programs, because they are based on a fixed size grid. What looks good on screen may be obviously divided into squares using a good printer. However, by choosing a resolution appropriate for the intended use, excellent results can be produced; and this is how photographs are placed into many newspapers and magazines.

Adobe Photoshop can export EPS in a variety of formats including separated DCS files, and can also produce compact 'JPEG format' EPS files which will print only on a level 2 PostScript printer.

DTP programs

DTP (Desktop Publishing) programs are usually used to design and make up pages for a publication. Similar to word processors, they normally give much greater control over the exact layout of a page. Examples are Quark XPress, Adobe PageMaker, Microsoft Publisher, and Serif PagePlus.

Any quality DTP program allows you to place EPS graphics on a page. Some will also allow you to save a copy of a page as an EPS file. Although EPS copies of whole pages are rarely needed (except for 'thumbnails' of interior pages to put on a magazine cover or title page, DTP programs are often used to combine other elements (for instance a picture and some text). This would not be a whole page, but a new graphic, perhaps for use as an inset box in another article.

Word processors, spreadsheets, other programs...

The ability to create EPS files from other applications is usually limited. Often the only option is to use the Print function to try to make a usable EPS file.

These programs often have better support for importing an EPS file. For instance in Microsoft Word you can use the Insert Picture function.

Printing to EPS

If an application can print, the chances are good that it can print to a PostScript printer. This means it is a good way towards being able to produce an EPS file. However, it is not always easy or possible to bridge the gap.

A first hurdle to cross is persuading the application to print to a file, rather than sending the results to a printer.

Printing to an EPS file in Microsoft Windows

When a Windows program prints, it usually does so by asking a Windows Printer Driver to do the work. This allows any Windows program to print to any printer, in theory, without any program changes.

There are several PostScript printer drivers available for Microsoft Windows.

In Windows 3.1, Microsoft supply PSCRIPT.DRV (latest version 3.58), and Adobe supply ADOBEPS.DRV (latest version 3.02). Either one can produce an EPS file. Go into printer setup and choose to print the file as EPS.

In Windows 95, Microsoft support PSCRIPT.DRV (latest version 4.0), and Adobe supply ADOBEPS.DRV (latest version 4.2.4). ADOBEPS 4.2.x cannot write level 1 PostScript, for that you must install ADOBEPS 4.1.x, which cannot exist at the same time. Either one can produce an EPS file. Choose format EPS.

In Windows NT 4.0, Microsoft support PSCRIPT.DLL, which does not write EPS files. Adobe's driver ADOBEPS 5.x can write EPS files, but not level 1 PostScript.

  • The EPS file produced will not have a preview.
  • The bounding box recorded in the file may be accurate, but is more often set to the page size.
  • The driver may allow a multi-page file to be written. This will not be a usable EPS file.

Microsoft's drivers are on the system disks/CDROM. Do not look for them or attempt to copy them. Install them as printer drivers in the regular way. A driver of "Apple LaserWriter IINT" will install the PostScript driver.

Converting to EPS

If you have a PostScript file intended for printing, or an EPS file without a preview, you can use our product PSAlter to convert to EPS with preview.


See also

EPS in ten easy stages
DCS, OPI, and friends

Go back to our PostScript introduction
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