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  • Convert PDF to Illustrator?

    What's the most efficient way of taking a PDF and converting it to an Illustrator document? (Its for someone who doesn't have Indesign)

    When I open the PDF in Illustrator, the doument is scaled down, and includes the printer marks on the *inside* of the box. I want to make the PDF into a Illustrator document with text modifiable, but with layout and scale the exact same.

  • #2
    Re: Convert PDF to Illustrator?

    If it is opening in a way you don't want by dragging the .pdf file into Illustrator, then you should probably do a "Save As" right from Acrobat (if you have the full version). You can save it as an .eps from there.


    • #3
      Re: Convert PDF to Illustrator?

      On behalf of Adobe Systems Incorporated, I will advise you that Adobe Illustrator is *not*, +repeat+ *not*, +repeat yet again+ *not* a general purpose PDF file editor.

      The only full PDF files that Adobe Illustrator can safely open are PDF files saved from Adobe Illustrator itself using the save for editability option.

      Why? Adobe Illustrator operates in +either+ CMYK +or+ RGB and +only one+ specific color space per document. Thus, a color-managed PDF file with more than one color space with opened in Illustrator would be ruined. Also there are many PDF constructs that Illustrator knows nothing about. At best, they are treated as foreign objects that cannot be edited. And for text, Illustrator only "understands" particular encodings. General PDF can lose text when opened in Illustrator.

      Illustrator can often be safely used to modify specific, simple graphic objects as the vector graphics touch-up tool editor, but not much more.

      Proceed at your own risk!

      - Dov (!)


      • #4
        Re: Convert PDF to Illustrator?

        Hey, Dov,

        Has Adobe considered what it would take to make Illustrator a viable tool to edit PDFs - to inform it about the codings of which it doesn't know? Also, the single colorspace thing didn't come along until Illy 10 - wasn't it? At least in its earlier versions Illy could handle more than one colorspace. Can that behavior be reinstated, or are there basic problems that would crop up?



        • #5
          Re: Convert PDF to Illustrator?

          I don't think that such a feature (augmenting Illustrator to be a general purpose PDF file editor) has been seriously considered. I would think that a concern would be that the program which is already fairly complex, would go "over the edge" in complexity to the detriment of the vast majority of the Illustrator user community that has no interest whatsoever in such functionality.

          The change to one color space (except for linked content) came with Illustrator 9 along with transparency. Many of us were rather upset at that turn of events X-(

          - Dov


          • #6
            Re: Convert PDF to Illustrator?

            While many might argue that Adobe should indeed enable graceful opening PDF files in Adobe Illustrator - but this would be largely a benevolent project ( such helping the homeless ) as it most likely would not results in some major spike in unit sales.

            The fact is that we sometimes need to edit a PDF that may not have been created by an Adobe product, (We use Enfocus PitStop) - and then save as (makes the file smaller)

            BUT - if you absolutely need to edit that PDF in Illustrator -- my advice is to open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat Professional and save it to EPS, then open that EPS file in Adobe Illustrator.

            Adobe is pretty graceful at parcing EPS and PostScript and creating objects that can then be modified. Having said that, as Dov alludes to -- trying to edit transparency objects that were flattened may cause confusion, nausea, delirium, seizures and stroke (not the vector kind, the bursting blood vessel in your brain kind)

            *WARNING* - When you "save as" EPS -- be *SURE* to click over that "settings' button and take some time to go through the dialog box settings - depending on the content of the PDF, and certainly depending on what application created that PDF (hopefully, for your sake, these PDF files were not made from Microsoft PowerPoint) I would strongly suggest you not use the default settings.

            I would also retain a good psychiatric counselor, as you may need one after this -- I recently was given a complex PDF, and found it far faster to simply save it as a JPEG file, open it in InDesign and rebuild it (using the JPEG image as reference - sure helped with the 22 edits that followed.

            hope this saves you from losing you mind (which basically what Dov is trying to do here - that is, point out that you are about to try and run through a tack filled 5h17 storm )

            You Pal,

            Michael "do not make a PDF before it's time" Jahn

            Edited by: Michael Jahn on May 20, 2008 11:10 AM
            Michael Jahn - Slightly used PDF Evangelist
            Simi Valley California


            • #7
              Re: Convert PDF to Illustrator?

              What version of Illustrator are you working with? Like everyone else has stated it reallllly depends on what program the original PDF was created in and how it was saved. If its an image you might be in trouble. Sometimes Illustrator will bring in the text but it will break it up and put it to a ton of text boxes.

              One option depending on the coverage of the piece would be to OCR scan it and have the scanner convert the text to a text file then reformat it to work. Either way it would be some work and really depends upon how much time you want to spend on the file.

              My suggestion from a prepress point of view would be to contact your provider and request a new file with the changes made or a file that is suitable for your programs.

              Good Luck,


              • #8
                Re: Convert PDF to Illustrator?


                I agree with Dov, unless the PDF is saved with the edit function tick out of illustrator you are opening a pandora's box.

                However, the Good news is I have just previewed a nice peice of software from ESKO Graphics (Old Artworks Systems) called NEO, "the perfect PDF editing tool". It has a number of features:

                1. Accurate viewing & Measuring (same on screen as printed)
                2. Image editing, ability to open the image in Photoshop and edit and then resave and update the document.
                3. Full Text Access, not just word / text lines but whole text paragraphs, H & J's etc etc
                4. Transform objects
                5. work your seperations
                6. Play around with media, crop, page boxes, etc, etc,
                7. Preflight
                8. intergrates with ODYSTAR

                It is the most impressive tool I have seen recently, If you are operating a PDF workflow I believe it is a must.

                The cost in Europe is approx Euro 3,000 per seat, ROI must be quick though as you will save bucket loads of time in your REPRO department.

                contact detail:
                Europe - Redditch Uk, 00 44 1527 592550
                USA - Bristol, PA, 00 1 215 826 4500

                Hope this helps,

                PS. I don't work for ESKO....


                • #9
                  Re: Convert PDF to Illustrator?

                  For folding carton print production, Illustrator is a very very common (perhaps preferred) way to build files. If only a pdf is provided, that is indeed a nightmare if you must rebuild. We almost always do to accommdate particular production equipment such as diecutting or glueing lines. If the native Illy file is provided, all issues such as transparency can be handled so it should always be provided IMO.
                  Building a folding carton job in anything such as Indesign or Quark is therefore an absolute no-no. But we get them from time to time. Quark to Illy works well but Indy to Illy is poor because of the all chopped up bits (pdf approach). There is no easy work around although I have had success lowering the version level to an older version where all this palaver sometimes goes away. If you the downgrade Indesign version you can often open it in older Quark (little known fact), then save as eps and open in Illy. This produces a better mess to rebuild with than Indy to Acro to Illy or Indy to Illy. The point is that during transition to the newer vers apps, the software was cross brand compatible for awhile and that is the key. Of course you must and should keep an old set up going for legacy work anyway. Quark 4 Illustrator 8 (best IMO) and OS9 (Classic but actual is better).
                  What we really need is you vendors to start making apps cross branded via native file not via pdf. In my dreams!


                  • #10
                    Re: Convert PDF to Illustrator?

                    OK if you want a PDF editor then look at Enfocus Neo it comes from the Artwork Systems stable or now EskoArtwork. This is a native 1.4 pdf editor.

                    As you want to want to convert pdf to Illustrator then if you use CS3 to results are much better than earlier versions now that it supports Device N which is how other applications including Adobe Indesign and Photoshop define spot colours.

                    By the way the Option Preserve Illustrator Editing just adds the Illustrator file into the PDF. If you like you have a case with 2 files in it one pdf the other ai. Any application which reads and edits pdf can open and edit the pdf file and you will get a warning in Acrobat with Pitstop that you are only changing part of the document.

                    So when you open a pdf saved like this back into Illustrator it is opening the ai doc and not some special pdf. This is way you file sizes increase so much. I did a test in the past where the PDF plus Ill was 256k and the PDF on its own was only 52k.

                    If you only need to edit pdf's then get a proper tool Pitstop for Acrobat or Neo etc.

                    If you need an ai file back then you just have to use Illustrator and check the file.

                    We make a plugin for Illustrator to enable use to take file back to Illustrator with less problems called inPDF but it is only available and supported for use with our products.


                    • #11
                      Re: Convert PDF to Illustrator?

                      Touchy, touchy, and touchy again subject Rick.


                      • #12
                        When I open PDF files within Illustrator it treats them like an illustrator file

                        Nagging question: I'm a designer that prepares print files in Creative Suite 5.5, often creating stand-alone Illustrator files that are converted to PDF for repro [ads, etc.]. When I open these PDF files within Illustrator it treats them like an illustrator file. However, the original Illustrator file is unchanged. I'm mildly terrified that my AI source file isn't current -- which is my fault of course since I'm editing the PDF file -- leading to problems down the road for revisions, etc. Obviously I can save the PDF backwards as an AI file, or save the PDFs to their own directory. It just seems like one more thing to deal with.

                        Is there a workflow trick or tip that I'm unaware of when dealing with AI/PDFs?

                        Steve Hall


                        • #13
                          Hi Steve,

                          It comes down to workflow preference. There are settings in the PDFs which could limit your edibility of the file. If you use the default Illustrator save PDF settings, you should retain full edibility and be fine. It's a unflattened version with editing capabilities preserved. You can save this PDF back to an AI file if you really needed. If you do save your PDF's as specific PDF version or PDF/X-1a, you'll lose some of your edibility.

                          I had mentioned workflow before - I used to only work on AI files and export PDF/X files for print or PDF for web. I now work exclusively in PDF but have gotten better with my naming conventions.

                          Premedia Software Inc.


                          • #14
                            I use PDFx for almost everything...even PDF's for client review that are lower res. 90% of my illustrator files are imported into Indesign files, so it's only an occasional issue. When you work exclusively in PDF does that include initial PDF file creation as well [you create new files in PDF rather than AI?]


                            • #15
                              How about a real rough ball park price for this Neo software for one client seat? I tried the Enfocus web page and could not get anywhere fast. I did manage to call an 800 number and got routed to a regional sales number where I got voicemail.




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