PC File Conversion
Part 5 Desktop Publishing - Brian Pickard
One of the most popular areas of computer use is desktop publishing. As a result many different desktop publishing applications have been produced on all the computer platforms over the years. Notable applications include Quark for the Macintosh, Microsoft Publisher for the PC and Impression Publisher and OvationPro for RISC OS machines. This has resulted in many differing file codings all which are readable only by their parent applications. The main problems in trying to port DTP between platforms can be broadly spilt into the following areas:
BitMap and Vector Diagrams
Actual DTP document file coding
Ways round the problems
The easiest way of sending a DTP document between the different platforms is to try and use a format that every platform can read. Luckily there is one, Adobes Portable Document Format (PDF). In this way the entire format of the document can be retained (even the font shapes even if the fonts do not exist on the destination platform).
RISC OS to PC's and Macs
Lets say you have produced your publication on either Impression Publisher Ovation Pro etc. on the your RISC OS machine and you want to send it to a publisher and/or friend who has a PC or Mac. Here is how to do it.
This file will be quite small compared to the PostScript and your original DTP document file due to PDF's built in compression. This makes the file idea for sending via the net as an email attachment. All the font shapes can be saved within the PDF document so the PC should display a completely accurate version.
From PC to RISC OS
Get the PC owner to produce a PDF version of their DTP document, with the font shapes saved within the document. Set the filetype of the PDF file to PDF (&ADF). Load the PDF file into a PDF viewer. Printout a copy if required.
There is one drawback to this method. The file sent and received will probably be uneditable. (Unless the PC owner has the full Adobe PDF application.) The recently release Serif PagePlus 9 will save it in PDF format, so this can be used without the need to convert PostScript and then PDF.
This is a very good DTP package rivaling Microsoft Publisher. The addition of PDF format support for saving is very useful. It will also save the publication pages as bitmap images (JPEG etc.) or as vector files (WMF most useful) one page/file. These can then be, in theory turned into a draw file using the utility !WMF-Draw. In fact this software lends itself better than any other PC only DTP package I have seen for exporting/importing images etc. between RISC OS and PCs. So I have produced a two page document to show the possibilities (it's in the software directory - ED).
RISC OS to PC
I imported, into PagePlus 9, the mini car Artworks file using two methods:
Both WMF files can then be loaded into PagePlus 9. The second method gives the better quality and if using Microsoft Publisher only the second version will load!
For other bitmap requirements just change them from RISC OS sprites to any convenient PC format (BMP, PNG, GIF etc for line/cartoon style images and JPEG for photos).
PagePlus 9 will decode Microsoft Word text so you could send any text as raw or Word format.
PC to RISC OS
Using PagePlus 9 publishing as a PDF document option produces the entire document in PDF format in various Adobe formats, I chose Adobe5 compatibility to make sure my RISC OS RISCScript app would be able to decode it. One hint is to tick the option in PagePlus9 to convert all fonts to paths to ensure their shapes are retained. To retain editability you could export each page from PagePlus9 as an WMF file and load it via !Draw-WMF RISC OS utility into Draw. Fonts shapes aren't retained and sometimes the whole process gets in a tangle!
The neatest way round the problem would be to find applications that have RISC OS and PC versions, here are some examples:
PC Formats to avoid
Microsoft Publisher format. I have not come across any RISC OS apps that can deal with MS Publisher files. I have also had no luck with older versions of Serif PagePlus.
Of course if you know of any RISC OS utilities that can read the above formats please let us know!
Well thats it for this part, and this short series. If there are any other areas you have come across that you have successfully transferred from PC to RISC OS please let us know. I trust the hints and tips have been helpful.