Working with PDF Files


I have a PDF? file I need to use in PowerCADD but I want to get rid of the white space around it. Can I do that in PowerCADD or do I need to use a different application?


PowerCADD v6 or newer and Mac OS? X
PowerCADD v7 and Mac OS X Tiger recommended


Mac OS X has native support for PDF and PowerCADD 6 or 7 in OS X takes advantage of that fact. So the direct answer to your question is yes, you can handle all the general PDF cropping chores directly in PowerCADD and more!

In fact, we have recommended using PDF for many years (since Mac OS 8 and Adobe Acrobat 2.x) as one of the best methods of bringing formatted data into PowerCADD. For example, using PDF is a great method to imported formatted text and tables from Excel, FileMaker Pro, Word or page layout information -- anything that has high level formatting you want to retain.

The key is in using PowerCADD File menu -> Place... (or Import... menu item and the Command Key for cropping!

PowerCADD allows provides:

  1. non destructive cropping of Placed or Imported items.
  2. rotation of Placed or Imported images including PDF
  3. scale Placed or Imported images including PDF
  4. because this process is non-destructive, the above operations can be applied multiple times!
  5. all of those features apply to ANY Placed or Imported image, not just PDF (See the PowerCADD manual for more on what types of files may be placed in a drawing)

We'd be remiss if we failed to point out that if the PDF file has multiple pages, only the first page is visible when it's placed in PowerCADD. Don't worry though, there is an easy fix if you have a plant list, bill of materials, large door/window schedule or multiple pages of specifications you'd like to Place. Simply use a BIG sheet of paper when you make those PDF files. Remember - you're NOT tied to 8.5x11 in any of those applications. All you need to do is perform a page setup for a sheet of paper bigger than you need, then make the PDF, place it PowerCADD and crop away the space you don't need. It's that easy! Again, we've used this technique long before Mac OS X had PDF -- so this isn't speculation!

Read this article on our website to learn more about how to make Virtual printers for large sheet sizes make make Postscript of PDF files.

What to do

Create your PDF file:
The PDF file may be something you created using Apple's Print to PDF XTNL URL feature , Adobe Acrobat Pro XTNL URL , PStill XTNL URL (and others) or a PDF you received via email or downloaded from the internet. The source of the PDF file really doesn't matter.

Get the file into PowerCADD:

  1. open your PowerCADD document
  2. choose File menu -> Place...
  3. locate the PDF file to be placed in the Open dialog
  4. click once on the file name and press Open (or simply double click the file)
  5. The insertion cursor appears
  6. click in the drawing window to insert the PDF about it's top left corner

Don't worry if you placed the PDF in the wrong spot. Remember, it's just a regular PowerCADD object and can be moved by dragging it on screen.

Cropping the file in PowerCADD:

  1. click once on the PDF to select it
  2. press the Command key
  3. place the mouse over any of the object handle bars
  4. the cursor will change to a Crop cursor
  5. drag to crop the object

If you make a mistake, simply choose Edit menu -> Undo to reverse the steps. Remember, since the cropping operation is non-destructive, you can restore the original object at any time (even after saving the file) by simply reversing the steps noted above to performing an 'uncrop' operation.

quicktime This demonstration movie (7.8MB - no audio) shows just how much you can accomplish with cropping, uncropping, scaling and rotating of a Placed PDF file. In this example we placed one page of a newsletter which contained formatted columns and rows of text along with photographs. Notice how we're able to crop, uncrop, scale, re-scale, rotate and crop the object again. The quality of PDF is still maintained! (having problems playing the movie? )

The above technique is significantly MORE efficient that using other applications such as Preview or PhotoShop Elements or Photoshop to perform the cropping operation before placing the file in PowerCADD. Other applications perform destructive cropping (you can't go back in time like you can in PowerCADD) and it takes extra steps.

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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