Thursday, April 1, 2010

How to install CUPS-PDF in OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Adobe did away with it's Adobe PDF printer in OS X 10.6 stating enhanced security prevented it from working. However, CUPS-PDF does the same thing and is free to download. Update 12/7/10: From the comment below from Jeff Z, it sounds like the CUPS-PDF install package has been updated to work with Snow Leopard without all the Terminal tweaks below. You should be able to download, install, and use without having to perform any of the tweaks below. I've left them in the article though for completeness.

If you're installing CUPS-PDF on Snow Leopard, there are some things you need to do in order to get it working though.

1. Download and install CUPS-PDF. You can get it from here in the Downloads section. It says there is an updated version for Snow Leopard, but that still doesn't help you avoid the rest of this.
2. Once you have CUPS-PDF installed, open a Terminal window. You can find that by going to Macintosh HD->Applications->Utilities->Terminal
3. In Terminal, use the command sudo chmod 0700 /usr/libexec/cups/backend/cups-pdf to change the permissions on the CUPS-PDF install
4. Now, change the ownership using sudo chown root:wheel /usr/libexec/cups/backend/cups-pdf
5. It gets a little tricky here because you have to change a configuration file. It's not hard, but most people probably haven't had to do it before. Use the command sudo vi /etc/cups/cups-pdf.conf to open the file in the VI text editor
6. In the file, scroll down to where it says "Out ${HOME}/Desktop/cups-pdf"
7. Press 'a' on the keyboard, which will put VI into edit mode. Now change the line in step #6 to instead read "Out /var/spool/cups-pdf/${USER}", but you don't need the quotes
8. Now press ESC on the keyboard, then type ":wq" (without the quotes) and press Enter. This will write your changes to the files, and also quit the VI editor
9. Now use the command sudo ln -s /var/spool/cups-pdf/${USER} ~Documents/CUPS-PDF to put a shortcut to the CUPS-PDF save location in your Documents folder
10. You can close the Terminal at this point and shouldn't need it again. Open System Preferences
11. Go to Print & Fax
12. Click the + to add a printer
13. Under the Default area, you should see CUPS-PDF in the list of available printers. Select it and choose Add.

Now you can use the newly installed CUPS-PDF printer to create PDF files, and don't need to use Adobe's workaround of "Save as PDF". To get at your printed PDF files, go to Documents folder and follow the CUPS-PDF shortcut. You can move that shortcut to your Desktop if you'd prefer to have easier access to the shortcut location of where the files get created. One downside of this is I believe you have to go through this process for each individual user on a machine that will need to use CUPS-PDF. You can skip a few of the steps, but the rest could turn into a pain if you have a lot of users on each machine.

Thanks to the forum for helping sort this one out.


Jeff Z said...

Wow, thanks for this. Saved me hours of work, just wish I'd been able to find this last night, when I had to do the .ps-to-PDF via Distiller workaround (gag).

I use "Print Booklet" in InDesign all the time to make PDFs, and was very surprised to find it no longer worked on my new Mac with 10.6... what a drag. Adobe's being lazy, not adding Save As Adobe PDF to the InDesign print system. Grr.

Big thanks to the writer of CUPS-PDF!

Just to note, 12/6/2010 didn't have to do any of the above sudo tweaks in Terminal, the packager installed the print driver just fine and told me where to find the output files.

rslygh said...

You're welcome Jeff, and thanks for the comment.