Batch PDF Convert of MacDraw II Files?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Makosuke, Aug 31, 2007.

  1. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    Ok, I've been poking this problem at work on and off for the last couple months, and it's been driving me crazy. Absolutely any suggestions are welcome.

    The Goal:

    In the past, the place I work had a bunch of accounting info on forms in MacDraw II format. I want to convert them to PDF for archival purposes. There are several hundred, so I'd like to do it automatically instead of manually, one at a time.

    The Problem:

    NOTHING seems to do this correctly. I have tried, so far:

    1) Intaglio--I have a license, and it imports most MacDraw files fine, but with these it ends up reducing the font size by about 25%, which causes figures not to line up with the form. Why, I have no idea, but Intaglio help couldn't.

    I can't just batch-resize the text, either, since the linespacing doesn't match (some of it is double spaced, but if you select all and do text size in Intaglio, it doesn't change the funky linespacing to match).

    2) Easydraw--the demo has a 40-object limit which made it hard to test, but I believe it's doing the same thing as Intaglio based on a test. If I'm wrong, I'd love to know.

    3) MacDraft (and MacDraft PE)--it DOES do the linespacing and text sizes correctly... but it shortens the text boxes somewhat so a bunch of stuff wraps to two lines. No workaround figured out yet, and I don't want to pay the license if it's not guaranteed.

    4) Acrobat--since MacDraw II isn't AppleEvent aware (since it's so old), batch conversion doesn't work well, and Distiller can't recognize MacDraw format. I can use a desktop virtual printer to batch convert stuff to .ps files, which can then be converted to .pdf, but this has two different problems. One, the files (again, on account of MacDraw not being AppleEvents aware) don't have matching names (so I'd need to either live with "Something.ps1" through "Something.ps100" or rename them all by hand), and two, because of the embedded page setup, I get a bunch of blank pages along with the content.

    5) PrintToPDF--Works, but with the same naming issue as Acrobat.

    6) ClarisDraw--Can import MacDraw II files and IS AppleEvent Aware... but it makes the same font size mistake as Intaglio. Weird.

    7) MacDraw Pro won't even open the files for some reason, but it's not AppleEvent aware anyway.

    8) Applescript, as far as I know, won't work with MacDraw II.

    ANY suggestions? Please? This is one of those geeky things that's just driving me nuts!

    I've attached a sample document that's similar to the ones I'm trying to convert (although some of the real ones are multi-page), as well as a PDF (made using a manual print-to-PS-then-convert-with-Preview process) of what it SHOULD look like.

    Attached Files:

  2. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    You cannot get to Heaven just because you want to go. You are going to have to do some work. MacDraw II is a very old application with a very old and poorly supported format. Canvas 3.5.6 can open your files. Once opened, your files will require some cosmetic edits to place your entries into their proper fields on the forms. You may then print them to PostScript or directly to PDF.
  3. Makosuke thread starter macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    I probably should have been clearer that this isn't something I really "need" to do, or feel somehow entitled to, it's more of a "tilting at windmills" sort of geeky quest. Heck, with the cumulative time I've spent looking for an automated solution I probably could have just done it manually by now, but that's not the point.

    If it was a total lost cause, it'd be one thing, but I've gotten close enough that I'm determined not to let it "beat" me.

    Anyway, I much appreciate the suggestion. I'll see if I can track down an old copy of Canvas and see if it'll do what I'm hoping for.

    Interesting note on the MacDraw II format, according to somebody more familiar with it than I, it actually doesn't explicitly state font sizes, so they have to be "guessed" from some other parameters, and this is why Intaglio (and several other things, including Apple's own ClarisDraw of all things) does it wrong. Its all the more baffling, then, that MacDraft gets it right, but then bungs up a different text parameter.

Share This Page