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Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music

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John in Brisbane 11 Mar 02 - 08:54 AM
JohnInKansas 11 Mar 02 - 10:07 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 11 Mar 02 - 11:13 AM
Dave Bryant 11 Mar 02 - 12:13 PM
GUEST,John in Brisbane 11 Mar 02 - 08:25 PM
John in Brisbane 12 Mar 02 - 08:01 AM
IvanB 12 Mar 02 - 02:05 PM
JohnInKansas 12 Mar 02 - 02:15 PM
IvanB 12 Mar 02 - 04:40 PM
JohnInKansas 12 Mar 02 - 06:38 PM
IvanB 12 Mar 02 - 08:41 PM
John in Brisbane 13 Mar 02 - 07:59 AM
JohnInKansas 13 Mar 02 - 02:32 PM
Kernow John 13 Mar 02 - 03:59 PM
John in Brisbane 16 Mar 02 - 08:55 AM
John in Brisbane 18 Apr 02 - 09:45 AM
MMario 18 Apr 02 - 09:48 AM
JohnInKansas 18 Apr 02 - 11:36 AM
IvanB 18 Apr 02 - 01:01 PM
MMario 18 Apr 02 - 01:06 PM
JohnInKansas 18 Apr 02 - 01:57 PM
John in Brisbane 19 Apr 02 - 10:32 PM
JohnInKansas 20 Apr 02 - 03:04 AM
Jon Freeman 20 Apr 02 - 06:22 AM
IvanB 20 Apr 02 - 08:56 AM
JohnInKansas 20 Apr 02 - 09:37 AM
John in Brisbane 21 Apr 02 - 09:41 AM
JohnInKansas 21 Apr 02 - 04:04 PM
Jon Freeman 21 Apr 02 - 04:22 PM
Jon Freeman 21 Apr 02 - 04:44 PM
John in Brisbane 22 Apr 02 - 05:20 AM
JohnInKansas 22 Apr 02 - 06:18 AM
Jon Freeman 22 Apr 02 - 07:18 AM
John in Brisbane 22 Apr 02 - 08:44 AM
JohnInKansas 22 Apr 02 - 09:18 AM
John in Brisbane 23 Apr 02 - 03:07 AM
John in Brisbane 23 Apr 02 - 03:23 AM
John in Brisbane 13 May 02 - 06:03 AM
John in Brisbane 20 Sep 02 - 04:25 AM
GUEST 20 Sep 02 - 04:48 AM
John in Brisbane 08 Oct 02 - 03:45 AM
Ed. 08 Oct 02 - 04:57 AM
John in Brisbane 08 Oct 02 - 06:18 AM
Ed. 08 Oct 02 - 06:26 AM
John in Brisbane 08 Oct 02 - 09:07 AM
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Stilly River Sage 25 Mar 03 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,John in Brisbane 25 Mar 03 - 08:25 PM
MMario 23 Jul 03 - 01:47 PM
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Subject: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 11 Mar 02 - 08:54 AM

There's an increasing amount of printable sheet music on the Web these days and two formats seem to predominate - GIF and PDF (Acrobat PostScript).

The GIF files are compact but tend to be scanned at such a low resolution as to render them useless for further editing, e.g. to cut out piano parts. The PDF's seem to give much better quality for a given file size, but don't allow easy editing.

If I wanted to buy Adobe Acrobat the cost is considerable, so I've been using the FREE versions of GhostScript and GhostView (its GUI interface). You'll find them quite easily with your favourite search engine and they're easy enough to install - make sure they both go in the same directory. BTW you need to download compatible versions of the two pieces of software.

The rest is moderately intuitive. Simply (FILE) SELECT a .PDF file from your disc, press the (FILE) CONVERT option and then follow your nose before saving it with your chosen file format and size. I don't bother actually viewing the file in GhostView because it's time consuming and isn't always reliable on my PC. The more important aspect is the quality of the converted file. I've only used BMP's and JPG's to date.

I've used the BMP format in Sharpeye to convert the music to MIDI files very successfully.

This techy stuff won't be for everybody, but somone may find it handy in future. (ghostview does a heap of other stuff such as creating PDF files or extracting the text from PDF files, but that's not my scene - for the moment).

I'd be keen to hear any feedback.

Regards, John
johninbrisbane@lycos.com


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 11 Mar 02 - 10:07 AM

I can support your enthusiasm for GhostScript.

I have been using it for about 10 years as an EPS file editor. For those not familiar - an EPS is an "encapsulated PostScript" file, and is one of the better formats for graphic inserts in production page layout.

The convenient thing is that anything that you can print, can be printed "to file" using the driver for any PostScript printer. Since you're printing to file, you don't even need to have a PS printer - just the driver. Change the default .prn filename extension to .eps and you usually have a serviceable EPS file.

The inconvenient thing is that when you paste it into most layout programs, all you get is a placeholder. You cain't see the picture, so you use GhostView to look at it - and edit it if necessary, before pasting it in. Simple cropping and scaling are a breeze once you learn how to edit the file with your word processor.

(The second clinker in this is that you can't print a document that contains simple eps files except on a PostScript printer - but that's another issue.)

I have used the "freeware" version for quite a while, but recently got an update on CD ($50 US and well worth it) from some guy in Australia. I don't know if he still has it available, but could look up my records if anyone is interested.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 11 Mar 02 - 11:13 AM

I was just reading about that, using Ghostscript, etc, on a PDF site. Sounds like something I'll have to try out. Thanks for the suggestion. The reference on this web-site, suggested installing a Postscript compatible printer, Saving to a file formatted for this printer, giving you a Postscript file, and then putting it through Ghostscript, so you can create the original PDF file. Saves on the low resolution GIF file. There are versions of Ghostscript for Windows, and Linux, and I would assume Mac as well.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 11 Mar 02 - 12:13 PM

Doesn't the free demo version of GHOSTSCRIPT put a big message across the middle of the PDF Files ?

I use the (free evaluation) version of FinePrint PDFfactory - just a printer driver which produces excellent PDF files, with only a very small footnote line telling you that it's the evaluation copy.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: GUEST,John in Brisbane
Date: 11 Mar 02 - 08:25 PM

A few postscripts (excuse the pun):

- There is indded a Mac version of GhostScript

- While the current 7.04 version of Aladdin GhostScript is strictly shareware, there are other GNU versions which are completely free. I have not used the GNU version. There is no masking on the conversion files to JPG, BMP etc (which is my main interest) nor have I seen it on PDF printed output.

- The main GhostScript page badly needs an index of compatibilty. If you use a PC make sure that the Zip fule you download contains the letters 'WIN'. There are so many dirrent versions of source code, Linux etc that you can waste time downloading the wrong version(s).

- The larger of the two downloads is GhostScript - about 6 Megs as I recall.

- You could use Print Screen to copy parts of a PDF file to the Clipboard, but the resolution is indifferent.

- The GhostScript writers are very cautious about all things legal and will not enable direct conversion to GIF. Not sure about earlier versions.

- One or both of the programs has a very comprehensive user manual. You can probably tell that I haven't bothered to look at it.

- The advertising industry uses PDF's as a convenient method of sending colour ads and Point od Sale materials to clients. In the last week I had to import some Acrobat (PDF) files into Power Point. The only way that I could do this (other than re-scanning was via GhostScript). At first glance there appears to lots of software to do this, but upon further investigation it transpires that they all require the full commercial version of Adobe Acrobat.

- The best image viewer that I've encountered is also FREE. INFANVIEW should be easy to find. It does conversions to scads of fornats, reduces images to 2 bit B&W (for SharpEye) and all the other guff that good image editors do. You can view all your image files in the same directory as thumbnails or you can flick through them at full size by repeatedly pressing the SPACEBAR, very handy if you have loads of scanned tunes, as I do.

Query please. Some archives on the Web bind their sheet music into multi-page volumes. The experiments I've done to date only allow me to create Page 1 in the converted format, even though GhostView appears to go through the full conversion process - a page at a time. Any clues would be appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 12 Mar 02 - 08:01 AM

A minor correction to the above re the GNU version(s). These are source code written in C and to date have not been compiled to run on Windows.

Re John in Kansas mention of the $50 CD. The creator of GSView is Australian and the CD is still available. It contains every version of GhostScript and GSView ever written in every conceivable language and source code. It is almost certainly worth it if you need to delve into the inticacies of the code or compare multiple versions. You could for instance re-invoke the script that converts PDF to GIF format. For a mug user like me I suspect that the current downloads will be more than I'll ever need (or understand).

Regards, John

PS While this thread has become quite technical, the basic functionality is quite easy to master.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: IvanB
Date: 12 Mar 02 - 02:05 PM

John, I think your not opening the document for viewing in GSView is your downfall re: only page 1 converts. If the document is showing on the screen, the file conversion box has all the pages listed at the right. Although they're all selected by default, you can click on any individual page to convert only that page. A bit tedious for a long document, but it does work.

BTW, I'm using GSView beta 4.12, with Ghostscript 7.03. But I'm pretty sure the page selection thing goes back several versions.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 12 Mar 02 - 02:15 PM

Anyone wanting to know more about GhostScript and GSView can download the Ghostscript User Manual from FTP.

There are two versions posted, and the latest will probably show as gs5man_e.pdf. Right click it and select copy to file.

The manual was about a 3 minute download on my POTS connection, and is about 26 pages. It gives a good summary of a lot of things you can do with it, but a warning is in order that "it ain't that complicated" if you plan to stick to the simple stuff.

Re: printing past the first page. - PostScript, of which PDF is a subset language, processes documents one page at a time. In GSView, you may have to manually select "next page" and print each page separately(?). A common failure, in my experience, when importing downloaded PDF, EPS, etc files into GSView is the error message that says "page breaks not properly marked," indicating that some distiller setups do produce "defective" multisheet documents.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: IvanB
Date: 12 Mar 02 - 04:40 PM

I've never had printing be a problem in GSView. John in Brisbane is referring to converting to graphics formats. And it's not the problem of GSView. In testing it this morning with a 200 page catalog, it created a 25mb bmp file, so obviously the whole catalog was converted. Forwarding to the second page and converting produced another bmp file of the same size. And, when either of these were opened in a graphics editing program, only the first page appeared. I believe that the problem lies in the fact that graphics editors are designed to edit files that occupy just one page, of whatever size it might be. Thus, they have no facilities for paging through a document. So the solution seems to be to convert each page as a separate file.

I have a script to do this job but, unfortunately it's in a proprietary program which isn't free.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 12 Mar 02 - 06:38 PM

It wasn't clear whether the conversion from PDF to graphics was only converting the first page, or if the graphics program could only "see" the first page.

One of my scanner programs defaults to saving everything as "multipage TIF" files - which cannot be read by anything that I've found except the scanner program. That would appear to be more like the problem John is having.

I guess my simple-minded solution would be to print the PDF file direct, and then scan the pages individually to get the graphics; but that depends on having a good printer and a good scanner if you expect decent graphic files for an end result.

I'll note the comment that the full Adobe Acrobat is fairly expensive. That's true, and so far as I've been able to tell, even with the full version it's not obvious that you can convert a PDF back to plain text (text to paste into Word, for example).

The higher horsepower versions of distiller let you make notes and annotations easily, but we usually incorporate the edits in the originating document (Word or PageMaker) and redistill to a new PDF, rather than trying to do layout corrections directly in the PDF.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: IvanB
Date: 12 Mar 02 - 08:41 PM

Yes, I see I stated the problem wrong in my first post. It IS a case of the whole document being converted but the graphics editor being able to see only the first page. But, as I said, if the PDF file is open (for viewing) in GSView, the facility for converting individual pages is enabled. When opening a file only for conversion, the page selection box defaults to 'All' and is grayed out.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 07:59 AM

OK, so this is feeling foolish time. What I have to say now is based upon the functions in Acrobat Reader 3.0, but I suspect that it won't vary too much between versions.

YOU DON"T NEED GHOSTVIEW OR GSVIEW TO CONVERT .PDF FILES TO OTHER FORMATS. (I think?)

I was experimenting with the Acrobat Reader Freeware viewing a multi-page version of 'O Happy Day' and then accidentally realised that I could Copy any page I liked (or part of a page) to the Windows Clipboard and then Paste that image to Word or a graphics editor such as InfanView.

The key factor is to get rid of the 'Hand' cursor and replace it with the 'Criss-Hairs' cursor, select the area you want to copy and then select the COPY function (or press Control C). Actually getting the cross-hair cursor is still a bit of a mystery to me, so I might leave that to someone who knows Acrobat Reader better than me - or someone who has actually read the online manual.

With a straightforward Copy and Paste the resolution is not as good as via GhostScript, but it sure is a lot simpler for mug punters like me. Others may know a way of improving this

For use in SharpEye I find that the image is too small in size to get ANY results, but by increasing the saved image size in Infanview that I then got acceptable results.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 02:32 PM

As noted, copy and paste from Acrobat documents sometimes results in significantly poorer resolution, but may be useful most of the time.

The "key" to changing the cursor from the Hand to either the "bar" for text selection or the "crosshair" for graphic selection is on the "Tools" tab of the toolbar at the top of the screen.

You may find Acrobat files that you download where the toolbar is not displayed. Normally, for Windows (or Unix - I think), the escape key will take you out of "full screen" display. You may occasionally run into Acrobat documents with the "escape" disabled, in which case "Alt-Shift-L" may work to get the toolbar back.

Once the "Tools" key is opened, you can pick "select text" or "select graphic" to get the right "picker."

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: Kernow John
Date: 13 Mar 02 - 03:59 PM

I have version 5 of the free reader and the cross hairs cursor is visible on the toolbar.
Having selected an area you can still enlarge the image and the selection will enlarge as well. This seems to improve the resolution of the image which can then be reduced after pasting to another application.
This made the file easy for Sharpeye to read with very few if any corrections needed. KJ


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 16 Mar 02 - 08:55 AM

Many thanks to all contributors here. It urns out that PDF files for sheet music are more useful than I'd realised.

Wouls someone please volunteer to precis the above into 100 words to include in the Tech Stuff Permathread?

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 09:45 AM

I'm still messing around with PDF files of sheet music and along the way have re-discovered a number of sources of .PS (PostScript) image files of sheet music (mostly Celtic tunes).

I vaguely know that you can magically send these directly to a PostScript compatible printer and hey presto they will be printed, but have no idea how to make this happen. Can someone fill me in please?

In the meantime I've found a really neat web-site that will convert a .PS file to an Acrobat .PDF file for you. It's quick and easy and saves you the trouble of downloading GhostScript and GSView software. It's located at http://www.ps2pdf.com/convert/index.htm and it's free. Once I have the PDF file I can copy it to a more conventional graphics editor for some further fiddling.

Regards
John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: MMario
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 09:48 AM

john - in windoze you should be able to right click on the file and select "print"


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 11:36 AM

John in Brisbane

One of the intended features of PDF is that you don't need a PostScript printer to print them. Almost any printer should be able to render directly from a PDF, using whatever method you would use to print any other kind of document.

At the risk of telling you a whole lot more than you really want to know:

A "simple" PostScript file contains only ASCI characters, and consists of instructions like "go to this point" and "draw a line to that point." Obviusly, the printer must be smart enough to "draw" the picture described by the file, and translate it into the "raster" pattern that the "print engine" actually uses to put it onto paper. Simple PostScript files usually will have a .ps filetype extension.

Most common computers don't have the ability to display a simple PostScript file, so the Encapsulated PostScript File (.eps) became popular. The EPS is a "metafile," which means that it contains information in "more than one language." A bitmap of the page is "tacked on" to the end of the file, and instructions in the "header" of the file tell your display how to "show the bitmap."

All but the very earliest versions of PostScript also allow certain kinds of information to be "hex-coded," and most such information is pretty much like a .bmp or .tif file in that it is "pre-rasterized," and is pretty much what a non-PS printer needs as an input.

In very loose terms, a .pdf file is a PostScript file in which all of the information (at least all that's needed to print) has been converted to this "hex-code" or "raster" format so that any printer can handle it.

That's what makes it "portable."

The PDF "reader" merely lets your display think that it's a printer.

Vastly oversimplified, and intentionally somewhat mis-stated: but probably still more than you're looking for.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: IvanB
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 01:01 PM

If you have a PDF file and a Postscript printer, you use a copy operation to 'copy' the file to the printer. If you use a print operation, the printer will merely print out the PDF file, which is just a long series of commands as JIK mentioned above.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: MMario
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 01:06 PM

Wasn't the question regarding postscript files and printing without a program that reads postscript files?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 01:57 PM

A .ps or .eps file can be printed using a copy operation - to a PostScript printer. I haven't tried it, but I would suppose that a copy operation to almost any printer should work with a .pdf file, since the file is "pre-rasterized.".

Since the Acrobat .pdf reader is a free download, it seems a little masochistic to not use it, so maybe I missed the point.

From the Acrobat (pdf) reader, you can pretend you're printing without worrying about how your print driver handles a .pdf document.

I presume that anyone really wanting to "copy to print" has learned that port names are aliased in windows, so you have to - for example - call the typical parallel port LPT1.dos to be sure you hook up?

It should not be a problem with .pdf files, since they're relatively compact, but for "real" PostScript, normal printer timeout settings may also be a problem. The timeout can be reset inside the "copy" command for most printers, but the exact statement needed will vary.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 19 Apr 02 - 10:32 PM

Thank you all for the input. Let me please put this into context.

I don't visit Mudcat too often these days but I still muddle with software that would enable the DT to be more useful, in particular the ability to use free software to print DT songs with both the music staves and sybchronous lyrics.

I'm playing (somewhat ineptly) with the abcmp2s utility to do this using C and/or DOS. The output is a .PS file. Before I commit myself to doing much more work on a Mudcat friendly Win32 front end, I need to satisfy myself that the .PS output is actually usable by the average user.

If as MMario suggests that all one has to do is right click on the file name in order to print it, then that provides a potentially easy solution. If on the other hand a further conversion is required to convert to .EPS or .PDF in order to make it usable, (or if users require GhostScript or Adobe Distiller), then I'm probably wasting my time.

Thanks for your patience, but these issues are still unclear to me.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 03:04 AM

One thing to look at would be the simple file size problem.

I typically use an old music scoring program called "Rhapsody," which is (I think unfortunately) no longer available. It produces a "printable" score identified with a file extension .rhp. The .rhp file for a typical tune, melody line only, 16 measures, is between about 10K to 19K, with about 12K being "average." Unfortunately, printing the .rhp file requires that you have the Rhapsody program,

My S.O. frequently uses a current "simple" notation program called "PrintMusic," that produces a file with extension .mus. Typical .mus files for the same kind of tune run about 20K to 40K. Again, printing requires that you have the PrintMusic program.

Either of these programs, Rhapsody or PrintMusic, can save the tune as a midi (.mid) file, with a typical filesize of about 1K to 4K bytes.

The commonly used (at Mudcat) Noteworthy Composer produces a very basic notation, with a file size about twice as large as a MIDI file.

An unfortunate limitation of these programs is that you cannot "extract" just the part of the page that has music on it, or just a portion of the tune. When you print, you get a full page, in my case (US) an 8.5" x 11", "picture."

Printing individual .rhp or .mus (and probably .nwc) files "to file," using a PostScript printer driver, produces a PostScript "print file." The default file extension is usually .prn, but if you change the extension to .eps (or.ps) you should have a perfectly valid .eps file. The 12K typical .rhp file produces a 127K to 170K .eps file. You can "paste" an eps file into Word, but each "eps picture" wants to be a full page.

Anyone with a PostScript printer could "copy" the resulting .eps (or.ps) file to the printer to print the tune.

I have used the ghostscript/ghostview program to view single tunes and "read" the dimensions of the area containing music. You can also copy the eps to a PostScript printer, print the sheet, and measure to get these dimensions. The dimensions needed are from the bottom edge of the sheet to the lowest point of the music (yb), from the bottom edge of the sheet to the highest point in the music (yt), from the left edge of the sheet to the leftmost point (xl) and from the left edge to the rightmost point (xr). These measurements must be expressed in "points," so if you don't have one of those fairly rare "printer's rules" that has a "point" scale, measure in inches and multiply by 72.

The .eps file is plain text, so you can open it in Word (most are too large for notepad) and find the line near the top of the file (usually the third line) that says "%%BoundingBox: 72 72 518 720 " The four numbers shown here indicate an 8.5 x 11 page with 1 inch margins. Change only the four numbers to the xl yb xr yt values measured (in that order). A typical 4 staff melody line score might be something like "%%BoundingBox: 19 473 594 774 ". Save as a text only file, retaining the .eps extension. You now have an eps file that prints only the music part of the page. (Note that changing those four numbers does not change the size of the eps file significantly.)

If you paste several of these into a Word document, you get a Word .doc file that can be printed (from Word), but since the "pictures" can only be printed by a PostScript capable printer, your document now requires a PostScript printer to be successfully printed.

The "Airs" section of a recent Word document has a file size of 2,235K (2.2MB), and contains 33 tunes on 20 pages.

To "distill" the above "Airs" document to .pdf requires that it (the Word doc) be printed to file with a PostScript driver, producing an eps file of about 5,813KB (5.8MB). Word shows it, if opened as text, as a 3,033 page "document."

Adobe Acrobat Distiller converts this "print file aliased as eps" to a 453 KB .pdf file. The pdf document is 20 pages, 33 tunes, that anyone should be able to to display and to print (using the free Acrobat Reader) on any (graphics capable) printer.

A typical single melody-line-only tune of 16 to 20 measures is:
About 1K to 4K as a MIDI.
About 4K to 15K as a Noteworthy nwc.
About 10K to 40K (or more) in a "sophisticated" notation program file.
About 120K to 300K as an eps or ps file.
About 20K as a pdf file.

Only the pdf file can be printed by any user with the (free) Acrobat Reader.

Apologies for the length. Hopefully it will be helpful.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 06:22 AM

John, I certainly can't right click on a PostScript file and print it.

I have tried to do a little research and the outcome seems to be that if you haven't got a PostScript capable printer, you have to resort to GhostScript or other software.

I went to the Epson support pages to look up my printer (Stylus 880) and found this in the FAQ:

Q: Where can I find the Printer description or PPD file so that I can print Post script Images from Quark?

A: There is no software available from Epson that will allow the printer to print postscript. However, there may be third software that you can try. Adobe has software called Pressready that allows postscript files to print to a non-postscript printer. Epson does not support this software and you should contact Adobe for questions. If printing postscript files is going to be a major portion of your printing, then you may want to consider purchasing one of our Epson printer's capable of printing postscript files when used with our optional Stylus RIP software. Please contact our pre-sales department...

I'm not too optimistic about many lower end printers being able to deal with postscript directly...

While I'm here... I'm a little confused as to what you are aiming for. The online dt contains MIDI files (that I don't think contain lyrics) and I think that downloadable dt is still in SongWrite format. Doesn't that mean there will be more file conversions involved, presumably by the user? Or maybe there is an ABC conversion of the dt coming up? - personally, I think that would be great... Or maybe I'm just missing something?

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: IvanB
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 08:56 AM

Jon, I believe John in Brisbane is trying to create a soulution, using only free software, to print songs in the DT with both music and lyrics. I believe his further aim is that the process not be so complicated as to be beyond the average user. I don't know what the current distribution set of the DT uses for tune formats but, if I remember correctly, the older ones had the tune and at least one verse of lyrics in the SongWright file. Of course, the limited (free) version of SongWright which Dick was given permission to distribute would only play the files, not show or print them. And SongWright is, of course, a DOS program and so has gone the way of most such programs. But, if one could translate from the SW format to a more common one usable in Windows, then possibly the song could be printed out with music and lyrics aligned properly. And, I believe, this is what John is working on. If not, he can certainly correct me.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 09:37 AM

Jon -

I think there's been some confusion here about the different "flavors" of PostScript files.

In the general scheme of things, most printers can't print the intended result when you feed them a PostScript file. There is software - and/or hardware - available that will "convert" PostScript to something that "ordinary" printers can handle. The "techie" name for the "converter is a RIP - Raster Image Processor.

In the old days - way back 3 or 4 years ago, printers used a rotating drum with a photo negative taped to the inside (or sometimes the outside) of it. As the "picture" was drawn by a light bulb, it exposed the negative in "rows" to produce a rasterized "plate" that could be used for printing, hence the name.

The "big gun" in software "rasterizers" is probably an outfit called Birmy Graphics Corporation. With a "Birmy" specific to your printer (mine is for an Epson inkjet) you can feed in PostScript and get a print. Unfortunately, the software RIP must be specific to your particular printer - general purpose models don't work well, and typical prices are (or were when I last looked) in the multi-hundred $$$$$$ (US) range.

A PostScript capable printer is simply an "ordinary" printer with a "built-in RIP."

The "bare bones" PostScript file is simply a text file with instructions for "how to draw a picture." If you print it to a non-PostScript printer, you will get the instructions -- NOT the picture. For a typical text document the drawing instructions consist of something like "get this font," "make it this big," "go to this point," "place character number xx there," "spray it with ink." (vastly oversimplified, but we're talking concept.)

A general purpose PostScript file is a .ps or .eps. You must use a PostScript capable printer, or some kind of PostScript capable software if you want to print them.

The .eps, or Encapsulate PostScript, file is a special sort of animal. It is a "metafile" in that it contains the PostScript information but is permitted to contain a bitmap that can be displayed on a computer screen without additional rasterizing. The "encapsulated" part of the file name means that it is supposed to be a "complete" description of some object, and can be pasted into a larger document without messing the whole thing up too badly.

Some non-PostScript printers will print the bitmap if you send the document to them, but there is no guarantee (or even a "requirement" in the standard) that the bitmap will be a true representation of what the PostScript file will produce when rendered on a "true" PostScript device.

The .pdf, or Portable Document Format file, is technically a PostScript file, but of a very special kind. It is intended to be viewable on virtually any computer screen and to be printable on virtually any printer - provided you use the Acrobat Reader, which is a free download, or some other appropriate software like gsview.

The software to create or to modify a pdf file is not free, but the intended "ordinary" users of the file have no reason to need it - if all they need is to view and print.

It is critical to understanding what PostScript is all about that careful distinctions be made between the different "flavors" of PS files. The distinction between .ps and .eps doesn't matter much to the casual user, but the .pdf is an altogether different - and more friendly - animal.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 21 Apr 02 - 09:41 AM

Firstly, my sincere thanks to John, Jon and Ivan for the obvious effort provided in responding - I'm completely gob-smacked. It'll take me qome time to absorb all the content. Thanks also to Jon for a PM and a lot of work in relation to compiling the C version of this program.

Ivan is spot on with his assessment. The draft version of the DT provides a number of great features, notably a visual display of the score with lyrics in sync (a very desirable legacy of the SongWright origins of the DT. This can be viewed, printed or saved as an image file. More importantly (from my perspective) the new DT allows you to save the tune and embedded lyrics as an .abc file. Once you're in possession of the raw dots and lyrics you then have the freedom to:

Change key
Add chords of your choice
Add harmony lines very easily

plus

Change the layout of the printed version
Easily bind your selections of songs into a 'song book'

The .abc format is also very compact. I have a DT collection which I found on the Web somewhere that has 222 DT songs with all the lyrics and tunes and it occupies 386 kb. (this particular set uses the interim [upper case] 'W:' abc format which places all the lyrics below the music staves). The new DT uses the [lower case] 'w:' convention from the abc standard which aligns the lyrics under each note.

BTW this draft version of the DT is still available from Dick Greenhaus as far as I know if you would like to experiment. My version is about two years old.

So, here we have a marvellous resource in the form of the DT, some new tools from Dick and his helpers which can output very versatile .abc notation. To date the only software around that can fully exploit the W: and w: lyrics conventions is the abcm2ps C program. I'm sure that I can muddle enough to produce a user friendly Win 32 front end - but the real rub is that the output file will always be a .ps. I have the modest wherewithal and patience to muck around to convert this to .eps or .pdf files with other suites of programs such a GhostScript/GhostView, but by this point you will have eliminated the mast majority of DT users who would be prepared to jump these hurdles.

The core abcm2ps software makes short work of turning those 222 .abc tunes into nice looking graphics in .ps format. I don't know what the theoretical maimum is in terms of number of songs is, but pesumably much larger than this number.

Hope you can follow my ramblings and see where I'm trying to go. Any firther thoughts would be gratefully received.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 21 Apr 02 - 04:04 PM

John in Brisbane (mainly)

I'm not sure whether you got an answer to your earlier question about "copying to the printer."

The most reliable method I have found for copying a file directly to the printer is by using the DOS COPY command. In DOS you actually copy the file to the "port" to which the printer is connected; and with Windows that may not be what you expect. It is necessary to distinguish between the "hardware" port, where "hardware" LPT1: is the parallel connector on the back of your PC, and the "logical" port(s) that Windows can create.

Even though your printer is connected to "hardware LPT1:" Windows may call it LPT3: or LPT4: or something else. It will probably be called LPT-something, even if it's connected to a USB or network port, although there are no guarantees here.

In the past, when I had a PostScript printer connected directly to the mechanical LPT1 port of my PC (and didn't have GSView on that machine), I generally used a DOS COPY to send .ps and .eps files to the "hardware" LPT1: To copy "filename.ps" to the hardware LPT1 port, the DOS command needs to be entered as:

  COPY filename.ps LPT1.DOS

The ".DOS" tacked onto the port name tells DOS that you're talking about the hardware port.

Because of the size of my .ps files, my printer frequently "timed out" and the print failed at least partially. The software command to set any HP Laserjet (Hewlett-Packard) printer to "infinite timeout" is:

  MODE LPT1 ,,P

I made a "batch file" containing:

  MODE LPT1 ,,P
copy %1 lpt1.dos

Saved as a text file with filename "psprn.bat" and placed somewhere in the DOS PATH (C:\ root usually works well), I could open a DOS window, navigate to the file I wanted, and use the DOS command:

  psprn filename.ps

to set the printer timeout to "infinite" and copy the file directly to the PostScript printer.

If you have some other setup (my current one uses a separate print server on my LAN) you need to look at the properties for your printer (Start, Settings, Control Panel, Printers in Win95/98; Start Settings, Printers in Win2000). Right-click your PostScript printer, select properties, and click the Details tab. It should tell you the port name that printer uses (I have one printer with several different drivers that shows up as LPT3:, LPT4, LPT5, and LPT6.) Use the LPTx: part (the properties tab may show some additional info) of that name in the DOS COPY command (without the ".DOS") and your file should go directly to the printer.

The "Windows" method of dragging a file onto a printer icon on the desktop doesn't really work as a "copy." If the file type is "registered" to open in some program, it will open in the registered program and then will print from the program which is not the intent of the copy operation.

While a .pdf file is a "subset" PostScript file, my trials indicate that copying one to your PostScript printer will not normally work. Apparently the Adobe Acrobat Distiller puts a modified header on .pdf files that will not "turn on" the printer's PostScript interpreter. Most printers, PostScript and others, will default to "lineprinter" mode, and try to print the "characters" it receives. Since the .pdf file is almost entirely in hex, you're likely to get several hundred blank sheets of paper, with just enough messed up to prevent reusing them. Mileage on this may vary with your specific printer model, but using the free Acrobat Reader and a normal print operation is the recommended method for printing .pdf files; and if you do it that way, you don't need a PostScript printer. You can also use GSView, but frankly the Acrobat Reader is a more thoroughly "domesticated" program, and results are more predictable if all you want to do is view and/or print.

It should be noted that when browsing the net, if you can see it you can usually right click and print it. Results will vary, especially on sites with a lot of "border" or multi-popups.

PDF files downloaded from the web can have printing from Acrobat Reader blocked. They may also be pre-set to full screen display, so that toolbars are hidden, and may block the normal Esc key toggle to normal view. Frequently, if you can "back out" to a link to the page, you can right-click on the link and select "save target as." Often you'll get a clean pdf (or .mid, etc) without the "blocking." (Don't tell too many of the webmeisters about this one.)

As tot the purpose of all this:

MIDI files are very compact, since essentially they consist of a string of "turn on this note" (one byte) and "turn off that note" (one byte). Count the notes and multiply by two and add a few for the header, and you've got the file size.

The big advantage of midi is that a player is built into virtually everybody's Windows (or Mac). A secondary advantage is that almost any notation program can "make the dots" from a midi. The disadvantage is that the file is in binary, so it's not printable as text and has to be sent as an attachment.

ABC files are similar, except that it's "turn on this note" (one byte) "for this long" (one byte) so the file size is pretty much the same as for a midi (oversimplified, of course). The advantage is that they're plain text, so you can transmit them as part of a document. The "user" does have to cut them out of the page, save as .abc, and get and use an abc capable player.

The MID2TXT/TXT2MID suite pretty much wipes out the difference between midi and abc portability, for those (on Mudcat) willing to get it and use it.

My understanding is that both midi and the latest version(s) of abc can include lyrics, but it does make it somewhat more difficult to create consistent files. It would introduce some learning requirements for contributors to be able to do much with this.

I like to see the dots, so PDF files are an ideal way to have things posted for my use, although a normal .pdf means I have to transcribe it to make the midi.. Probably the majority of others though would rather hear the music. Since most notation programs can make the dots from the midi, the .pdf would have to be set up so it's consistently "prettier" than what I get from the midi with my own notation software if it's to be a particularly great benefit.

I'm not sure how you are thinking of making the .pdf or .ps file "play itself," but I believe you can include links in a .pdf fairly easily, so perhaps just posting both with an embedded link from the .pdf to the .mid (or abc) would meet the need.[[[PostScript AND html????]]]

One of the problems with compiling and maintaining a large database is that there must be some "focal" person (or small group of people) to make sure that things are in consistent format. A format must be selected that can be produced consistently for the majority of the data items. (One of the reasons, as I understand it, why we don't have midis with embedded lyrics.) Most people will have some difficulty in making edits or corrections directly to either .ps or .pdf files, so it might be better to have things come to the focals in some other "printable" form. While .ps files are technically printable, editing requires either appropriate software and/or significant skill. Distilling to .pdf is fairly straightforward, once the editing is done. Then only one (or a very few) copies of Adobe Distiller or GSView would be needed, and only a few would really have to learn it?

I'm not sure I see an advantage to converting .pdf files to some other graphical format, but I can see possible arguments for and against it.

Some good ideas. Go forth bravely, and let us know what's developing.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 21 Apr 02 - 04:22 PM

John in Brisbane, would it be possible to create one Windows front end to control both abcm2ps and GhostScript?

I may be talking through my hat but one thought I have is to leave the executables as they stand and run them one after another using the Windows function CreateProcess. First execute abcm2ps. If CreateProcess is successful, you could then enter a loop calling GetExitCodeProcess until the exit code changes from STILL_ACTIVE so that you know abcm2ps has finished. Then execute GhostScript using the abc2ps output as the input file.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 21 Apr 02 - 04:44 PM

Just another thought, maybe a Windows front end could just run and pass parameters to a DOS batch file.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 22 Apr 02 - 05:20 AM

I have to dash for an appointment, but before it gets too late I should point out that I'm not aiming this IN the DT (which is entirely Dick's business) but as a user adjunct to it. Maybe John's comments about size were directed from that perspective - re image size, file size eic.

I see the GhostScript/View downloading as somewhat of a barrier to adoption for average users at about 7.5 Megs, but maybe you may differ in this regard.

I use IrfanView because it's free, super fast, feature rich and user friendly. I haven't yet had a chance to speak with the author, but it's supposed to handle EPS files - but has yet to do this for me. Maybe others have experience with other free viewers.

Must fly, John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Apr 02 - 06:18 AM

John In Brebane

I guess I don't see a good reason to "discover" a .pdf viewer other than the one from Adobe. Scroll a ways down and click on the Reader - it's free, and pretty much "trouble-free."

GSView can read pdf files, but its best uses are for "native" PostScript work. It is one of the best ways to "get your arms around" the .ps files mentioned, if you really need to do something more than print with them.

Although I'm not sure which of your objectives "needs" GSView, I believe that the "license" would permit reduction in what files need to be downloaded for a "special purpose" use. GSView is a fairly "academic" product, and a typical download provides a fairly vast (way more than half-vast, at any rate) array of tools, most of which will not be of immediate interest to non-techs. A much smaller package could probably be designed by selection to suit a "well conceived and limited use."

GSView, and the associated suite of tools, is somewhat "Unixy" (or some may prefer "Dossy") and is a real puzzle for most casual users. It works very well once set up, and once you've learned how to perform a particular task; but figuring out what it can do can be tough. Sometimes figuring out what it should be used to do can be tougher.

The ultimate source: PostScript & Acrobat/PDF: Applications, Troubleshooting, and Cross-Platform Publishing Thomas Merz, Springer-Verlag, ISBN 3-540-60854-0, original title Die PostScript & Acrobat-Bibel, 1996. Printed book, about 420 pages, with clear and authoritative explanation of PostScript and PDF and how to use them.

Includes intensive discussion of how to make other things work with your PostScript, including how to set things up on a variety of operating systems, and how to connect and program peripheral devices.

Original book contains a CD with All GhostScript/GhostView programs available as of the publication date, although newer versions are available now. What you can do with GS/GV, and how to get it done, is discussed in detail.

Don't buy it, unless you're really interested. My copy, 1997 copyrights, was $70 (US) 5 years ago. If you can find it at a library, the CD will undoubtedly be missing or "removed," but it's still the best reference around, and the GS/GV on the CD would be a little dated anyhow.

There are any number of other references that are more obtainable (and cheaper). There are a lot of "pop" references that are mostly bilge.

At this point, I think I'm waiting for my concept of your "purpose" to crystalize, although I don't doubt that you have a good one. I just haven't gotten clearly into my thick head.

Note - before ducking and running - "One of the only reasons the Macintosh computers survived the early years was because they handled PostScript." (source anon)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 22 Apr 02 - 07:18 AM

I'd not realised GhostScript/View was so big and I agree with your thoughts re a 7Mb download. It is the only viewer I have used and that was a long while ago (the only version I have installed now is a Linux version that came with Linux distribution I use). I've tried searching Google for free Windows viewers but haven't found anything yet...

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 22 Apr 02 - 08:44 AM

I'm back from seeing a retinal surgeon. This time last year I had a retinal detachment in my right eye which required major surgery. I've had similar symptoms in my left eye for the last few days. Hopefully I've caught it in time cos after a dozen quick (and painful) bursts on the laser and I'm back in business. No anaesthetic nor stitches - bloody marvellous.

Back to PostScript. I'm not certain that we're all on the same tram, but I think that I've got to the point where I might let this rest momentarily. There are a number of layers to this proposal. For my own edification I'll pursue the considerable options available in the original program (both uncompiled C and compiled DOS executables) and see where this leads.

The output in .PS is not an issue for me because I have lots of possibilities to modify the output. However this is the layer that the average Mudcatter would struggle with. I'm happy to leave this for a while until something new is available for this layer OR the output format from the base program changes.

Please email me johninbrisbane@lycos if you have any further thoughts.

Warmest Regards,
John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Apr 02 - 09:18 AM

Jon Freeman -

My "install" of GhostScript/GSView from CD put 580 MB on the hard drive. The guys that publish this try to give everybody everything that they might possibly need, for anything they might possibly want to do. Obviously, very little of this is actually "installed and up."

The actual GSView installation - the only thing most people are likely to use much - is 'only' about 1.6MB. I haven't looked recently at what "extras" would be needed if you want only to make .pdf files, but I suspect it's not too large.

I also haven't looked at how much my "installation" could be cut down, since you'd need a clearly defined purpose in mind to decide what to leave out, and I might want some of the other stuff someday. The the useful parts probably don't have to be all that large.

If you have a PS printer, you can print .ps files with NO software, using DOS Copy. If you don't have a PS printer, you do need a way to "distill" to .pdf or to create some other graphic format, but if distilled I think most people would rather use the .pdf and Acrobat Reader - which is free (and easier to use than GSView), unless something can be packaged in very friendly form.

If the individual user has to do the "distill," then GS/GV is a good package to start with, especially since source code is availabe.

Apparently the actual files in the DT contain more information than we can see/use with current methods. It is to be assumed that additions to the DT have included the same "extra" information as was seen in the "prototype" DT, if a viewing/printing method can be produced(?).

Target info: Adobe Acrobat Distiller 5.0 loads 16,520,159 Bytes in my Distiller directory. There may be some associated files (.dll & links etc) elsewhere. Acrobat Reader is included in this, but if loaded separately is about 1 to 1.5MB, (about the same size as GSView) depending on the version. That makes GS/GV in a "normal" installation look fairly reasonable for what it's doing.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 03:07 AM

Somewhere in the above discussion (maybe it was Jon F) someone mentioned a free utility called PrintFile which occupies only about 200k unzipped and which allows you to print .PS and .EPS files (plus others but not .PDF) direct to a printer, including in particular non PostScript printers. I've just tried it on my work NT printer. It gave me a screen warning that I was trying to print a ps document to a non PS printer, but otherwise worked beautifully.

To the best of knowledge it does not require GhostScript to work, but I can't be sure of this because I have GS installed on this PC - it could have accessed GS without my knowledge. I'll post a URL for it later.

The download size for GS and CView is just over 7 Megs. GView (about 1.3 Megs) is a front end only and (if I'm reading the doc's correctly) will not function without the 6 Megs GS download.

I'll also send later a URL for the DOS script to copy and print a .PS file to the printer. I haven't had a chance to try this, but I think it's just a re-expression of what John in Kansas was referring to above, but does cover some tips for printing to non PostScript printers.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 03:23 AM

PrintFile is a freeware MS Windows utility program that will enable you to print files fast and easily. The program recognizes plain text, PostScript, Encapsulated PostScript (EPS) and binary formats. Using this program can save you a lot of paper and thereby also saving valuable natural resources.

Non text files are sent files directly to a Windows printer. In this case the program can be seen as a Windows replacement for the DOS command "copy/b filename LPTx" . However, unlike the DOS command, PrintFile works well with network printers that do not have a connection to any LPTx. Although this function is mainly intended for printing PostScript files, it could be used just as well for any file created by the "Print to File" option available for most Windows printer drivers. Such a print file can for instance be created on a PC without a printer and then be moved to another PC that has a printer, and there be sent to the printer using PrintFile.

http://www.lerup.com/printfile/

This site articulates the DOS commands to copy and print to file.

http://www-pcs.fnal.gov/printing/pc-ps-print/


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 13 May 02 - 06:03 AM

I'm not beaten yet, but this is one of the most frustrating things I've ever encountered in PC land. GhostScript and GhostView work quite well, but they are large(ish) and have far more graphics power than I need to simply print music. I've tied lots of other programs and DOS command lines since the last post - and to put it simply - they just don't work!

I'll keep om trying though.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 20 Sep 02 - 04:25 AM

Refresh. It's been a few months and my usage and understanding have increased heaps. I can now very easily:

- Create a high quality Postscript file from just about every PC application that prints, Word, Encore, NWC, Graphics editors.

- Print the file using Ghostview or save it as an Adobe Acrobat file, or save it as a very high quality jpeg or png etc.

- From any Acrobat file, copy the text or graphics to another application - Word, PowerPoint, Excel, HTML Editor.

When I get a spare couple of hours I'll write it up and post it here with a musician's slant. No propeller head stuff required.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Sep 02 - 04:48 AM

Thanks John,

That will be interesting


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Subject: Volunteers Needed Please
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 03:45 AM

I was about 75% through writing a Mudcat tutorial on using .ps and .pdf files, conversion to text and image and all that sort of stuff, when I came across some new FREE software at http://site4.pdf995.com/download.html

It creates a PDF file directly from the output of any Windows application that has print functionality. There's no need to download Ghostscript, GSview or install Postscript printer fonts, plus it's a moderate size at 3.31 Megs. It in fact gives you a small chunk of Ghostscript bundled up with a new printer driver - as best I can understand.

There won't be many people reading this thread, so I would appreciate as much feedback as possible from those willing to give it a try. The download site is quick and installation takes only a minute.

At the risk of leading the witnesses let me just say that on NT it worked like an absolute ball tearer for everything I've thrown at it - every score printing app I could lay my hands on (my main thrust) plus Word, Power Point, Excel and a couple of image editors. Bloody marvellous! On Win 98 however I would have to describe my initial attempts as failures when it came to creating music notation, with all sorts of strange symbols appearing in apps such as NoteWorthy Composer and Encore.

There are some extensions to the download which let you edit the PDF's and add digital signatures, but I haven't concerned myself with that guff.

One major area of mystery for me is that PDF995 seems to work best if the Print to File option is NOT ticked. I didn't see instructions on this topic - or maybe I missed it.

All help greatly appreciated.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: Ed.
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 04:57 AM

Interesting program, John. Thanks

I've tried it with Noteworthy on Win98. The solution to the 'strange symbols' is to click 'Always use True Type Fonts' on the Font tab of properties.

The output is then excellent.

Ed


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 06:18 AM

Sounds great Ed, but be blowed if I can find the reference to True Type. Are you referring to NWC or PDF995?

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: Ed.
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 06:26 AM

John,

Go to settings, printers, right click on PDF955, select properties and there's a fonts tab.

Ed


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 09:07 AM

Thanks Ed, that did the trick. Tonight I used it very successfully with NWC, Encore, Skink, iabc and MusicEase music notation programs. ABACUS was also fine but because this goes straight to Print without a menu I was forced to change my default printer to PDF995 for the duration - not at all difficult just a bit of a pain to remember to reset the defaults settings at the end of the job.

I'm still keen to receive further feedback, but I must admit that I'm genuinely impressed by this little utility.

Regards, John

PS There's probably a Mac user out there who'll tell us that you've always been able to do this for ever without any fuss.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 10:37 AM

Have tried it on NWC, Melody Assistant and CakeWalk 3 (Win98 here). The print is too small on NWC but I'm pretty sure that is just me not having NWC set up right. Otherwise, the output is fine. I have also tried it on other apps including Photoshop with excellent results.

The opening up browser windows to display ads is annoying but $9.95 seems a reasonable price to get rid of these. Another thing worth noting is that it asked me to install the Apple II NT printer driver before it could install itself.

Overall, from a quick play, it looks like a great program for producing PDF files from Windows applications.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: Ed.
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 10:47 AM

Jon,

In NWC, after File/Print and selecting PDF995, click on 'Properties.' There's a 'Graphics' tab which has a scaling option. I've found 130% works well here.

Not tried it with any MS Office applications yet, but it seems to be a fabulous little utility.

Ed


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 08 Oct 02 - 07:03 PM

Jon, the request re Apple Drivers is inyeresting - I already have them installed as my standard option to create Postscript files (and part of the original subject matter of my tutorial).

Ed, I hadn't tried the scaling function you mention. In ACACUS the standard print output is far too small for my liking (plus it doesn't print lyrics). Creating a scaled up PDF 'image' sounds like an ideal way of overcoming the lack of print options on ABACUS - and so easily done.

I'm still very keen to hear from others. Bill D for instance is still a Win 3.1 user. Will PDF995 work on 16 bit operating systems?

Best wishes, John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 09 Oct 02 - 07:11 PM

Refresh

Just in case someone else is interested...

Ed


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Oct 02 - 09:53 PM

Ed, I think within MC, there will be few with interest. I'm pretty sure that is true elsewhere so its not a "point fingers job" and I'd guess this sort of thing is a minority thing anyway...

If the same package had been presented in a BS thread "Now you can make a PDF from Word", sadly, I fear it would have got more attention...

Just hope some of us continue to support the abc side of things... Just today, I found a J Scott Skinner Tune posted to umf in that format... love the b part...

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 09:07 PM

I just received an email ad from ScanSoft - makers of one of the OCR programs I use with my scanner, telling me that "As a user of TextBridge you're entitled to a tremendous discount - Zeon DocuCom PDF Creator for just $49.99."

Going to the Zeon DocuCom PDF Creator website, I find that the regular price is $49.99, so what's the tremendous discount??????

The Zeon creator is simply a "print driver" that will print a PDF of almost anything you can send to your printer. It "prints to file" so it creates a .PDF of anything printable. Just like Adobe Distiller ($200) does.

Since I have distiller, I won't be testing this, but ScanSoft is a reputable company - and TextBridge is absolutely the best OCR program of several I've used.

From ScanSoft:

"We've tested DocuCom and it works seamlessly with virtually any Windows application. You simply open the document that you want to convert to .pdf and then go to the print menu. DocuCom will appear as one of your print options. Simply click on it and your document is automatically converted into a .pdf file that you can share with anyone regardless of whether they have a PC or a Mac."

Still not freeware, but maybe a little less messy than trying to "brute force" through ghostwrite????

Now .pdf back to plain text ...?

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 11:32 PM

Thanks John in Kansas, this seems to confirm that PDF995 is great value for money - it's either Free or $US9.95.

I've been using SKINK or iabc freeware to print songs with lyrics and chords (using abc notation language). PDF995 produces excellent PDF output to send sheet music to other musos via email. The combination of software is free, simple and works well.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 20 Nov 02 - 11:41 PM

There's also FinePrint/FinePDF as well.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 11:26 AM

I don't suppose their will be any interest here but I have written a small Windows program that makes the running of abc2midi, abcm2ps and ghostscript easier.

It was written to test abc is valid before posting to folkinfo and just consists of a text box into which abc can be loaded from a file or pasted, and 2 buttons: "test ghostcript" and "test midi".

As it stands, it is only useful for visual/audio checking and has no relevance to this thread but... It would only be a small task to modify the program to enable it to run abcm2ps and ghostscript to produce a pdf file.

The program as it stands is at http://www.folkinfo.org/abctest.zip. The zip file contains the exe which can go anywhere and an ini file which needs editing to match paths with the actual locations of the conversion programs and needs to be located in the Windows directory.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: GUEST,Ed
Date: 21 Nov 02 - 12:31 PM

Well I find it useful Jon :-)

Ed


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 12:17 PM

John in Brisbane,

I did a search to find this thread because I remembered reading your remarks about the PDF995 program. I need a distiller to make a PDF file to send a newsletter to the printer I work with on campus. They have the usual Adobe software, but think they should be able to open this, so I'll be downloading and installing it today.

Have you used this for print documents or just online? Have you tried any of the extensions since you last reported about the program? What can you tell us after a few months of using this software? I'll be using it with Win2000 and MS Word or MS Publisher.

Thanks!

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: GUEST,John in Brisbane
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 08:25 PM

Not a lot to add. No, I haven't played with the extensions - in fact I can't even recall what they are.

Not too surprisingly I mainly use the PDF creation for sheet music. So if I'm getting together with some people I'll send somne music in advance. I must re-read the thread above because on one occasion the chords were mangled at the other end and were barely readable. Other than that it means that fellow musos don't need any of the Midi or ABC applications, except for Media Player.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: MMario
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 01:47 PM

See the NOTEWORTHY COMPOSER forum here

I just tried it and it worked a treat!!!!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Converting PDF Sheet Music
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 26 May 04 - 05:45 PM

Found this web-page which talks about making a PDF archive of several PDF pages.

http://www.sheetmusicarchive.net/makepdf.html


    Thread closed temporarily because it's been a target for a heavy barrage of Spam. If you have something to add to the discussion, contact me and I'll reopen it.
    -Joe Offer-


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