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Batch Printing to PDF on Mac

Steve CAG


I'm not able to get batch printing of sheet layers to work when selecting the "Save as PDF" option on the Mac OS Print window.

I get one print of the first file in selected list and none of the others. Sometimes there is a VectorScript error message and sometimes it just runs through the entire sequence without errors.

Is is possible create PDFs in this way?

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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

You can only use printers that are available in the printer list. (Available in the print setup for each sheet layer) The built in Mac OSX PDF creator is not seen as a printer by any application.

Adobe Acrobat will install as a printer an allow you to print to a PDF.

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How will the pdf files be named using acrobat?

I actually had the method noted above working from one file, but the file names were filename.pdf, filename.1.pdf, filename.2.pdf.. etc.

For batch plotting to files to be useful there needs to be some way to control the output file name- possibly based on the name of the sheet layer.

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Adobe Acrobat installed and still not working. (Adobe PDF 7.0 printer)

First file creates successfully. All subsequent sheets throw up the same vectorworks error as before

"Error occurred during printing. Printing manager error - 108"

So now my wallet is $400 lighter and one of the key selling features for our upgrading to 11 is still not functional....

I'm looking at a 200 drawing sheet print job in one week and would really appreciate any hints on resolving this.


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I too have not been able to get the Batch Print feature to work with Adobe Acrobat Professional v6.

After I have selected the sheets to print, the print dialog appears. I select Print, and am asked ONE time to name the file. I think the PDF file overwrites itself; so only the last sheet printed is available.

I have set the Acrobat preferences to ask before overwriting a file, but this does not seem to have any affect.

Has anyone else been able to get this feature to work with Acrobat?

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Originally posted by klinzey:

...Adobe Acrobat will install as a printer an allow you to print to a PDF.

I thought I would give this one last try. I set up an Adobe PDF printer, and yes it does create a PDF. The problem is that it only creates the first sheet.

After the first sheet, the Desktop Printer stops with the rest of the sheets in que. Asking the Printer to start jobs has no effect.

So Kevin, it appears that you are partially correct. You can print one sheet in the manner described but you still cannot batch print.

I also tried to save as Postscript and got the same results.

As a control, I printed a 7 page word document in the same fashion. It printed as a seven page PDF with no problem.

OS10.3.8, VW11.0.1, Adobe Acrobat 6.0 Pro

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I have experienced exactly the same problem as CAG originally describes, and concluded that VW simply requires that you address the Print Setup dialog box for each layer. Then, and only then, will the Batch Print command work. So, Batch Print doesn't really do what is advertized (or, at least, implied). I would love to be proved wrong.

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I have a working solution for batch saving as PDF for all your sheets in one file. My way creates all the PDF files without interference named as the sheets are incl. date and whatever you like to add to the name. I use Quickeys and a plugin made by Jonker & Wu (VW trainer and programmer) in the Netherlands. This is really saving me a lot of time. Works fine although Quickeys will cost you 90 USD and the program is not very functional otherwise.

Hope this will do. Unbelievable btw that Nemethek is not providing this basic functionally.

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Success! I have Batch Printed to PDF on the Mac for the first time. The difference appears to be Acrobat 7. I am using OS10.3.8.

Acrobat installed a PDF printer to the Print Center. I choose batch print, choose the Acrobat Printer.

Each sheet is printed to a separate PDF sheet/file. Once they are all printed, it is a very simple matter to combine them to a single file in Acrobat 7. The sheets can be ordered in whatever manner suits you.

The long journey has come to a successful end.

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This thing has still got my panty hose in a bunch!

Kevin - Are you now saving the sheets individually with the sheet names from your list in VW?

Steve - Resolve still gives you a dialog box for each sheet requiring a manual name.

I have worked on this issue several time without success and finally decided to give up. I have Acrobat 7 installed. Under the Printer List I have "Adobe PDF 3015.102". Nothing about batch printing.

I know sometimes I'm dddddddddumb about this stuff.


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Originally posted by LarryAZ:

Kevin - Are you now saving the sheets individually with the sheet names from your list in VW?

Larry; Here are the steps:

1. Choose Batch Print and Choose Adobe PDF Printer.

2. Save dialog box appears for first sheet. I save it as 01.pdf.

3. Successive save boxes appear and each sheet is saved as the next number: 01, 02, 03 04.

4. Once all sheets are printed, I assemble them in Adobe Acrobat 7.0. This assembly process takes perhaps 2 minutes to produce and save a finished multi-page PDF.

I agree, that this is not as seamless as other programs. If I take a 10 page Word document and print to PDF, I get a 10 page PDF.

I would like to see VW print in the same manner. However, for those of us who have struggled with this issue for years, I am feeling a sense of victory. I guess I am saying that "we have won the battle but not the war".

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I am not familiar with applescript. Having said that, I think that it should be possible to script a macro that would automate this process.

My only involvement in the PDF printing is to choose a Save-As Name and press the Save button. I would think that this is exactly what an applescipt macro could do.

Does anyone have applescript knowledge who can comment?

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OK so you are still saving each page by typing in a name manually. You had me really excited for a minute.

The way this should work is just like batch printing to our printers. You can print out 10 sheet, on my HP 130nr it takes about 5mins per page, and go do something else. Or even if the batch print saved as separate pages they should all save without any intervention on our part and save them under the sheet name from the drawing.

Has anyone put this on the wish list?

Thank you for the help.

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Larry I put this on the wish list last year so haven't been holding my breath for a solution.

As an alternative to the options mentioned by others you can do this: (doesn't work with sheet layers & viewports)

Set the print area to how many pages you need. Organise your drawing to suit. When you print to pdf you will get a multipage pdf.

Obviously this is only practical for a simple drawing setup because everything needs to be on screen at the same time. i have found it useful for promotional material by using a layer for images and a layer for text and just laying out the pages side by side. Press print only once and get a multi page pdf.

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Good news got better, I think. I just batch printed to PDF using Acrobat 7. In my previous posts I explained how after each sheet printed to PDF, I would have to name the next sheet and click the save button, doing this for each sheet.

Well I just printed another set and this time each and every sheet printed to PDF without successive Save Dialog Boxes. Don't know how don't know why. I just hope that it will still do it in the morning.

So to recap:

1. Choose Batch Print.

2. Choose Acrobat 7 PDF Printer.

3. Set up dialog to Save as PDF.

4. When all sheets have printed to individual PDF files, then combine them to one PDF file with Acrobat.

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I think I have this figured out now. I am using Adobe Acrobat 7 on OS10.3.8 and VW11.5.

Previously I said that I had to name each sheet in a Batch Print and click the Dialog Box Save Button. The Adobe PDF 7 printer has a default setting of a Print Button. This is what I was doing, pressing the Print Button.

What I did differently now is that under Output Options, you can check a Save As File Button. You then choose either Postscript or PDF. So I checked Save As File>PDF.

Now you are greeted with the same Save Dialog Box where you give the file a name and location, but the Print Button is now a Save Button. Upon clicking Save, each sheet is saved to the location that you designated and automatically given a progressive series number of 1,2,3,4,etc. So once I click that Save Button, I can walk away, and it will print as many sheets as I have selected without any further input on my part.

I think this is as good as it is going to get and I am pleased.

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The patches offered my Resolve were only a partial fix as pointed out.

The "Save as File>PDF" option will work with any printer selected. It uses the OSX pdf maker and not the currently selected printer. I did this and thought I had the solution until I compared the file sized for the OSX pdf with the Acrobat pdf... about 10Mb vs 1.2Mb on my large site plan files and about 2-3 times the size on basic floor plans and elevations.

Acrobat seems be much more effective at sifting out non-visible items (outside of the viewport crop) and allows for reducing the resolution.

The renaming issue is fine when there are a dozen sheets, but I'm still working on that large project (now starting construction and we have more campus type developments starting the prelim design stage) and tracking which pdf belongs to which drawing sheet and manually renaming the files is a major pain. Combining pdfs work for some printing services but we've had others that can't handle large format multipage pdfs, so we have to go with separate files for each sheet.

The other systems that I've worked with had the option of naming the output file based on the sheet layer name. If you name the sheet layers accordingly it is self managing.

Still hoping that NNA will address this (maybe with an 11.6 update?) .... take note NNA - same functionality is needed of batch DWG or DXF output (we generate consultant base drawings several times in the course of the project too which eats the hours).

For maximum benefit, these functions need to be accessible across multiple VW drawing files and run in the background (ie not tie up VW so that drawing production stops). This should be as simple as creating a drawing issue checklist and then having it accessible the next time the job needs to be printed. I've done it with ArrisCad and AutoCad - please make it happen with VW.

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Steve: Though I thought the problem was fixed, it seems that it is not. When I wrote the above message I had gotten PDF printing to work.

But I now cannot reproduce the previous success. My joy has been short lived.

I agree, that this seems to be such a fundamental process and it should work without so much though, trial and error, and expletives.

NNA, please fix this.

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Ok - one last post on this topic before leaving it to NNA....

The following workaround seems to give the results that NNA intended, though not at all close to what I expect for a real solution. (Requires Adobe Acrobat/Distiller)

Step 1

- Select the VW batch print option and related options for starting the print job

- In the print menu select "Output Options", check the "Save as File" box and select "Postscript" as the format.

- Pick the "Save" button on the lower left and navigate to where the PS files are to be saved. (You get to name the first file only and the following files are appended with sequenced numbers as per Kevins experience).

- Repeat steps above for each VW file.

These PS files will be big, but the job isn't done yet..

Step 2

- Start up distiller and config to suit output requirements (FWIW we find 300dpi the best balance between file size and print quality for 24x36 b/w architectural drawings)

- Drag all of the PS files created by VW into the Distiller window, select where the pdf files are to be deposited.

- Go back to doing something productive while Distiller crunches out the pdf files. This can take quite a while for complex and large PS files, but the resulting files sizes are very reasonable.

Now wasn't that easy!?


In theory this should work as a one step process with the printer set to "Acrobat (7.0)pdf" as NNA suggests, but we've found that Acrobat 7 "breaks" shortly after install and won't automatically run through distiller. The "print" looks like it processes but there is no trace of a resulting pdf to be found.

Adobe's misbehaviour compounds the difficulties and is considered a co-factor in the further thinning of my hair.

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In order for all sheets to be batch printed without prompting, you just have to make sure that the Adobe PDF settings for each have the "Prompt for the PDF File Name" box deselected.

If this is your default before creating the VW file then you are good. If it is not you will have to go to each sheet and edit the Distiller properties through Page Setup -but just the one time, after that you're set.

Doesn't change the naming to sheet names though.

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Originally posted by Delmer:

In order for all sheets to be batch printed without prompting, you just have to make sure that the Adobe PDF settings for each have the "Prompt for the PDF File Name" box deselected...

Where exactly does one find this checkbox? I am using Acrobat 7.0 Pro and cannot find this box in any of the preference panes for either Acrobat or Distiller.

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