FreeDist 3.9


Create free PDF files from ANY windows application that can print!!
FreeDist is a freeware postscript to PDFconvertor that acts as a frontend for Ghostscript.
It watches a specified folder for new postscriptfiles and converts them automatically and unattended
to PDF in a predefined outputfolder.
FreeDist can also merge multiple postscript and/or PDF files into one PDF in the order you need.
The PDF files can also be encrypted for editing and/or for reading.
FreeDist can also be used as a postscriptfile viewer by linking postcriptfile extensions to FreeDist.exe

VERSION HISTORY
Thanks to Carlos from Spain for the Spanish translation
- Corrected faulty listbox click behaviour.
Thanks to Philippe Roger from Montpellier for the French translation
and the sweet French wines!
Thanks to Marcus Shaw for the German translation!
- leftclicking in the listbox results in opening the PDF folder.
- rightclicking in the listbox results in opening the PDF.
- clicking on the path labels results in opening that folder.
V3.6   - In Merge mode, it did not use encryption, now it does (thanks Trung)
V3.5   - Italian translation added. Option build in for better picture quality
Thanks to Angelo Contardi for the Italian translation and excellent beta testing!
Thanks again to Markku Lehtola for the Finnish translation!
V3.0   - Merging of postscript files with PDF files is now possible. Merging of PDF files is now much 4 times faster!
V2.52 - Corrected a bug with FreeDist starting up with a postscriptfile as a command.
V2.51 - Corrected a bug with FreeDist not really closing when closed by the upper right X
V2.50 - Encryption functionality added. Multilanguage interface (English, Dutch and Finnish sofar)
V2.03 - Forgot to take away a message box, sorry!.
V2.02 - Build in a check to see if the path to Ghostscript is still valid (in case of a Ghostscript update).
V2.01 - Startup in distiller mode did not work anymore the code was "mysteriously" gone. Fixed it.

1. Installation requirements
2. Installing FreeDist.
3. Creating a good postscipt printer for PDF conversion. IMPORTANT INFO HERE!!!
4. The main screen.
5. The distiller screen.
6. The merge screen.
7. Postscriptfile extension linking to FreeDist.exe
8. Hints, tips and some nice macro's for Word and Excel

1.  FreeDist requirements
- FreeDist.exe
- Ghostscript 8.14 or higher
- Acrobat reader 4 or higher
- A virtual postscript printer with good postscriptdrivers attached (see 3)

2. "Installing" FreeDist
FreeDist needs not to be installed with a setup.
Just place FreeDist.exe in any folder you like except for the "Watched folder".
Next create a shortcut to FreeDist.exe and place it on your desktop or any other place you like.
To have FreeDist startup on every boot of your pc, place the shortcut in your startup folder.
To also startup FreeDist minimized, right-click that shortcut, choose “properties” and set the
window Size to “minimized”.
When FreeDist is run for the first time it will ask you to have some settings done.
Those settings will be saved in the file FreeeDist.ini wich is placed in the same folder as FreeDist.exe

3. Creating a good postscript printer for PDF conversion
First download and unzip these ghostpdf printerdrivers  (Not suitable for Windows 64 bit)
This ppd file is a mix of ghostpdf.ppd and some ppd code for n-up printing.
N-up printing means you can print multiple virtual pages onto one physical page.
Next install a new Virtual printer:
- Choose new local printer
- When asked for a port choose FILE:
- When asked for a printer model choose "have disk" and point to ghostpdf.inf (wich was in the zip file)
- Finish and don't forget to set your default printerproperties (like setting Letter to A4 when needed)

Ofcourse there are many other drivers out there that can do the job, like the Apple Color LW 12/660 PS.

4. The main screen

The main screen is the place from where most settings can be done. From here you can also go into
"Distiller mode" or into "Merge mode".

1. Status bar, currently displaying "Distiller is not active" while FreeDist is not in distiller mode.
2. Postsciptfiles can be automatically removed after conversion to PDF by activating this checkbox.
3. Activate if you want FreeDist to start distilling, without going to the main screen, when FreeDist is launched.
4. Certain postscript files contain boundingbox info for pagesize purposes. FreeDist can make use of this
boundingbox info to determine the PDF papersize if Ghostscript can't. I have seen this with Autocad plotfiles.
If you notice that your print does not fit on the resulting PDF, try activating this checkbox.
For most postscriptfiles it is not needed to use this switch.
6. Checkbox to create better picture quality in the resulting PDF. The PDF file will grow bigger so use with cause.
7. Language control for the FreeDist interface (Currently only English, Finnish and Dutch)

All Language options visible.
8. Ghostscript has an option of PDF outputquality control. You can make use of it by choosing the
appropriate setting. To make full use of it you need at least Ghostscript 8.00 or higher.

All Outputquality options visible.
9. Type in the Editing password. It will only be used when checkbox 5 is checked.
10. Show your Owner and User passwords ( in case you forgot them )
11. Type in the read password. It will only be used when checkbox 5 is checked.
12. Set the path to Ghostscript executable, gswin32.exe
13. Set the path to Acrobat Reader executable, Acrord32.exe
14. Set the path to where your postscriptfiles are that needs conversion. FreeDist will watch this folder for
new postscriptfiles being placed in and then converts them automatically to PDF. This folder may not be
the same folder as where FreeDist.exe resists.
15. Set the path to where the resulting PDF's are placed.
16. Set the path to where converted postscripfiles are to be placed after conversion. This will however not
be used when "Delete postscript files after conversion to PDF" is checked.
17. Set the path to where the postscript/PDF files are that have to be merged.
18. Listbox with a list of currently created PDF's.
Rightclicking it results in viewing it through Acrobat Reader.
Leftclicking it results in opening the PDF folder.
19. Counter for the number of PDF's created since last startup.
20. Button to start distilling.
21. Button to get into the "Merge" mode.
22. Button to exit FreeDist. Current settings will be saved.
23. Counter for the total number of PDF's created with FreeDist.

5. The distiller screen

The Distiller screen is visible when FreeDist is in distiller mode. Distiller mode means that all
postscriptfiles that are placed in the "Watched folder" will be automatically picked up by FreeDist
and converted to PDF. Postscriptfiles may be placed by hand or by any program that can create
postscriptfiles.

1. Status bar, currently displaying "Distiller is active, nothing to distill at this moment". When converting
a postscriptfile it will show you wich file it currently handles.
2. This shows a converted PDF. Clicking on it results in viewing it through Acrobat Reader.
3. Listbox with a list of currently created PDF's.
4. Counter for the number of PDF's created since last startup.
5. Button to stop distilling and go back to the main screen
6. "Running" color to show activity.
7. Counter for the total number of PDF's created with FreeDist.

6. The merge screen

The merge screen is visible when FreeDist is in "Merge mode". In "Merge mode"
you can merge a mixture of postscript and PDF files into 1 PDF file.
"Merge mode" can also be used for decrypting a single encrypted PDF into a
single non-encrypted PDF.
PDF files encrypted with Ghostscript however cannot be decrypted !

1. Currently selected file. You can drag it to change the order of that file in the resulting PDF.
2. List of postscriptfiles and/or PDF files (according to the current filter(6)) that are in the "Merge" folder.
3. When pressed, the currently selected file will be removed from the list (not from disk).
4. When pressed, all files in the "merge" folder according to the current filter (6) will be reloaded
into the listbox.
5. Start merging according to the current settings. A inputbox will be shown in wich you can set the
merged file name. FreeDist will suggest a filename but you can change it in the box.

when merging is done, FreeDist will automatically convert it to the PDF and go back to the main screen.

6. Filter for PDF and/or postscript to be shown in the listbox.
7. Exit "Merge mode" and go back to the main screen without merging.

7. Postscriptfile extension linking to FreeDist.exe
From within Windows Explorer you can link the file extensions .ps .plt .eps or .prn to FreeDist.exe
Due to the many differences of how to do this in the different Windows versions, i am not gonna explain this
but in general it is done through Starting up Windows explorer - Extra - options - filetypes and the fiddle some.

The advantage of above named extension linking is that you can turn FreeDist into a postscriptviewer.
When opening such a file by doubleclicking it or via clicking on a link to a postscriptfile on internet, FreeDist will
startup and go immediately into distiller mode, convert the postscriptfile to PDF, exit and startup Acrobat Reader
with the newly created PDF file. This PDF file will be written in the same folder with the same name as where the
postscriptfile was.
When the postscripfile was opened via an internetlink, the PDF file will be written in your "temporary internetfiles"
folder.
** opening a postscripfile this way in the "Watched folder" is not possible (due to reasons i will not explain)

8. Hints, tips and macro's
- Always use the best possible postscriptdrivers when creating postscriptfiles, the internet is a good resource
for this. I personally use Ghostpdf.ppd wich gives me the best results with Ghostscript.
- Try to use the latest Ghostscriptversion because it keeps getting better and better.

- Pro-Engineer
A webpage dedicated on how to use FreeDist in combination with Pro-Engineer.
http://www.profilesmagazine.com/p25/tools.html
- Macro for printing directly to a PDF from Excel
Copy the code below and past it in a module in Excel and change the Red text so that it meets YOUR
system. It will print to the current ACTIVE printer and assumes that it has got postscriptdrivers attached!
I have tested it on Excel 2000 an 2002

Sub Excel_FreeDist_PDF()     'Stephan van der Palen 07-11-2003      'Macro to print directly to PDF from MS-Excel in combination with FreeDist
'
'Originally from http://home.hccnet.nl/s.vd.palen/
'adapted to print to a non-default (PS)printer.
'ABE 2006-04-11
'     Dim NewFileName As String     Dim retval     Dim FreeDistFolder As String     Dim FreeDistWatchedFolder As String     Dim FreeDistWatchedFolderDrive As String     'The folder where FreeDist.exe is placed     FreeDistFolder = "c:\windows\"
'The watched folder of FreeDist     FreeDistWatchedFolder = "C:\FreeDist\in\"
'In case the "Watched folder" of FreeDist is on another drive     FreeDistWatchedFolderDrive = "C"
'Change drive if needed     ChDrive FreeDistWatchedFolderDrive
'Make FreeDists Watched Folder the current folder     ChDir FreeDistWatchedFolder     'Determine the name of the printed document     NewFileName = ActiveWorkbook.Name & "_" & ActiveSheet.Name & ".prn"     'Print "to file" to the current active printer     'Make sure it's got good postscriptdrivers attached!!!!!!
' added: active printer to ensure correct printer driver
' 2006-04-11, ABE
'
' store settings     CurrentActivePrinter = ActivePrinter
'set printer
ActivePrinter = "PDFCreator op Ne00:"
ActiveWindow.SelectedSheets.PrintOut Copies:=1, PrintToFile:=True, Collate:=True, PrToFileName:=NewFileName
'Startup FreeDist with the newly created postscriptfile
retval = Shell(FreeDistFolder & "freedist.exe " & FreeDistWatchedFolder & NewFileName)
ActivePrinter = CurrentActivePrinter
End Sub

- Macro for printing directly to a PDF from Word
Copy the code below and past it in a module in Excel and change the Red text so that it meets YOUR
system. It will print to the current ACTIVE printer and assumes that it has got postscriptdrivers attached!
I have tested it on Word 2000 an 2002

Sub Word_FreeDist_PDF()     'Stephan van der Palen 07-11-2003     'Macro to print directly to PDF from within MS Word in combination with FreeDist     Dim NewFileName As String     Dim retval     Dim FreeDistFolder As String     Dim FreeDistWatchedFolder As String     Dim FreeDistWatchedFolderDrive As String     'The folder where FreeDist.exe is placed     FreeDistFolder = "c:\windows\"     'The watched folder of FreeDist     'Make sure there's no backslash on the last position     FreeDistWatchedFolder = "C:\FreeDist\in\"     'In case the "Watched folder" of FreeDist is on another drive     FreeDistWatchedFolderDrive = "C"     'Change drive if needed     ChDrive FreeDistWatchedFolderDrive     'Make FreeDist's Watched Folder the current folder     ChDir FreeDistWatchedFolder     'Determine the name of the printed document     'Some systems return no file extension in "ActiveDocument.Name" so make sure we     'have the correct document name     If Mid(ActiveDocument.Name, Len(ActiveDocument.Name) - 3, 1) = "." Then     NewFileName = Mid(ActiveDocument.Name, 1, Len(ActiveDocument.Name) - 4) & ".prn"     Else     NewFileName = ActiveDocument.Name & ".prn"     End If     'Print "to file" to the current active printer     'Make sure it's got good postscriptdrivers attached!!!!!!     Application.PrintOut FileName:="", Range:=wdPrintAllDocument, Item:= _     wdPrintDocumentContent, Copies:=1, Pages:="", PageType:=wdPrintAllPages, _     ManualDuplexPrint:=False, Collate:=True, Background:=True, PrintToFile:= _     True, PrintZoomColumn:=0, PrintZoomRow:=0, PrintZoomPaperWidth:=0, _     PrintZoomPaperHeight:=0, OutputFileName:=NewFileName, Append:=False
'Startup FreeDist with the newly created postscriptfile     retval = Shell(FreeDistFolder & "freedist.exe " & FreeDistWatchedFolder & NewFileName)End Sub