PDF Services and PDF Workflow


How do I setup Apple's PDF? Services to take advantage of the PDF Workflow built into Mac OS? X?


Minimum: Mac OS X Panther (10.2) or Tiger (10.4)
Recommended: Mac OS X Tiger


Beginning in Mac OS 10.2 Apple introduced their PDF Services feature which is accessed via the Print... command in any Mac OS X application to stream line your PDF Workflow. In some instances, thePDF Services feature isn't setup by default in Mac OS X so we'll walk you through now to set it up -- it's quick and easy. There are many third party applications that take advantage of the PDF Services feature of OS X, but even without those applications it's to your advantage to set things up manually and explore productivity benefits a PDF Workflow can provide.

What To Do

Here's now to setup Apple's PDF Service. If you'd like to learn more visit Apple's Support Page XTNL URL and search for PDF Service and PDF Workflow. If you do not have Administration access to your computer, talk with your Systems Administrator before setting up PDF Services.

If you do not have PDF Services setup on your computer, then the Print... Dialog will look like this:


To enable PDF Services, do this:

  1. Choose Your Startup Disk > Library folder
  2. Scroll down and look for a folder named PDF Services
  3. If you do not have that folder, create a new folder titled PDF Services in the Library Folder (spelling and upper/lower case match and spaces are important when naming the folder)

Note: In step 3, that folder will make PDF services available to all users. If you'd prefer, you can create the PDF Services folder in your Home Directory > Library > PDF Services and put any PDF Workflow scripts in there. The items will be available only to that specific user verses all users on that computer

You're done, it's that easy to setup PDF Services. The next time you choose Print... from any application the PDF button will look like this (note, the actual items in your list will vary depending which items, if any, you have installed in the PDF Services folder):


To Use PDF Services
Now that you have the PDF Services enabled you will need to add Automater Workflows or Applescripts to the PDF Services folder. Items added to the PDF Services folder will be appended to the PDF pop-up menu in the Print dialog. Here's an example of the menu will look when you have items added.


Where to find PDF Workflow goodies
You can search the web for a variety of freeware and shareware Automater Workflows and Applescripts that work with PDF Services. You can also write your own!

Here are a few links to get you started:

Here are a few of our own workflow files to get you started. To use any of these workflow actions simply download them, double click them to extract the zip archive, and drag them into your PDF Services folder. The next time you Print a file they'll appear in the PDF menu.

  • Email PDF: Will create a new email message with your PDF attached in the body of the message window
  • Email PDF Message: Will display a new message window you can fill out -- press Continue and the message will be displayed in Mail.app and your PDF will be included in the body of the message window

You can rename the items to anything you'd like, the new name appears in the Print > PDF menu. To edit the workflow simply open it in Apple's Automator.app.

We hope that helps

If you found this article or the website in general to be helpful, educational or a time and money saver you can show your support. Thank you ~ Brian (huc) Huculak

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