Print to PDF on macOS

Print to PDF on macOS

Why the hell would I even want to do that?

At the time of writing, on the mac App Store there is a small, relatively inoffensive app called PDF Printer Lite. The premise is simple this application creates a system recognised printer, when this ‘virtual’ printer receives a print job it spits out a pdf file!

But! the macOS system print dialogue already offers this function

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Despite this functionality already being available from the system print dialogue, there is a specific scenario where the ‘save as PDF’ function does not achieve my desired outcome.

The Specific Scenario

Adobe Acrobat reader (free version) enables me to toggle the visibility of individual layers within a ‘layered PDF’, but Acrobat (free) will not allow me to export the modified view.

When I try to use the ‘export PDF’ function, Acrobat (free) produces a PDF with all the layers visible, i.e. exactly the same document that I opened in the first place.

When attempting to make use of the ‘Save as PDF’ function offered by the system print dialogue, Acrobat throws a ‘You can’t do that’ message at you!

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PDF Printer Lite, with the application running I can send the the modified PDF to the virtual printer and I receive a black and white PDF file with the remaining desired layers visible.

Caveat (obviously)

This whole song and dance is only useful when the initial PDF contains individual layers.

These layers are actually called Optional Content Groups (OCGs)