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Saving tiled illustrator files as multi-page PDFs

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Audrey Crane

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Sep 18, 2003, 9:42:13 PM9/18/03
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I have been fiddling with this for two days, juggling illustrator, acrobat and distiller.

I have managed to figure out that if I take a large tiled file into acrobat, print to a postscript file, and then distill to a PDF, I can approximate converting that original tile layout into a multi-page document, but I have to do some weird scaling when printing to postscript in acrobat for some reason to get tiling to work there, and then every page is slightly off. (One is too far left, the other is centered, the next is too far right and has a piece of the page next to it included, etc...)

Anyone have any success with this problem? Seems like it should be a no-brainer to do this.

Isaiah S

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Sep 19, 2003, 1:41:20 PM9/19/03
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The way I have done multi page padfs from Illustrator files is t save each page as a PDF and then combine them in Acrobat. This takes a long time but the file doesn't have any problems. I wonder if there is some sort of plugin that would export page tiles as a multi page pdf?

Audrey Crane

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Sep 19, 2003, 1:55:42 PM9/19/03
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You're right; a plugin would be great. The file I'm creating is revised about 3x a week, so I'm trying to avoid having to do it one page at a time. Of course, with the time I've spent on this, I should have just done it. :) Still, hoping that I can figure it out. I'm only off about 1/2 inch with the solution I described...

Keith Gardner

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Sep 23, 2003, 10:02:12 PM9/23/03
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Oh, God, this is sounding awful! I have a whole department of people (yes, the same ones who have wanted to kill me for some time now for inflicting OS X and Illustrator 10 on them) who are standing on their heads trying to get work out the door in this environment that they used to be able to do toot sweet in the "old days" (pre-OS X). It's a clothing design shop, and they're working with Illustrator sketches (I should really call them diagrams, as they are rather detailed) which then need to be married with spreadsheet type of information and label info, pointing to various parts of the drawing, etc. Most of the drawing and labelling can be done fine in Illustrator. The spreadsheet part is done in Excel.

In putting what's called a spec package together, they used to select the sketch in Illustrator, copy, and paste into Excel. It looked fine. They would then send the 3 or 4 page spreadsheet with embedded graphics overseas and another tacky kids' jacket was on its way to being made.

Now, it breaks down when they paste the copied Illustrator art into Excel (actually they seem to be using Paste special.../ Picture); it looks awful, and you can't tell the details apart from one another. I don't know why this is so much worse now, but it is. If someone can solve this problem alone, then we don't have to go any farther. If this problem is insoluble, then we have to go on to the next step.

So they then tried going the reverse direction: bring the spreadsheet data into Illustrator. That's fine, sort of. Illustrator now has a feature (it may have had it before, but I was unaware of it) which "sort of" makes multiple page Illustrator files. In Document Setup, "Setup" section, set the page dimensions to the total width of how many pages you want it to be. So a three-page-across document made of letter size sheets in portrait mode would be entered as width="25.5 in" (3*8.5) and height="11 in". Then in the "View" section, select "Tile Full Pages." What you see on the screen then appears to be what you hope to see: a three-page-across Illustrator document. What's more, if you print it from Illustrator, you in fact get your three pages!

But alas, they can't send Illustrator files overseas; the recipients don't have Illustrator and can't open them. They need to use Acrobat (or Excel, but we've been down that road already). But when the document which looked so great when printed out directly from Illustrator is saved as an Acrobat file, it's just one extra-large page. And Acrobat has no finesse with breaking it apart into tiles (seemingly!?). So that's not usable either. I've even tried using Distiller instead of the application's own "Save as PDF" function, and this is worse in that it actually only creates a pdf of the middle page of three, or the second page of two (maybe it's always the second page; I didn't try a 4-pager!). So that's useless.

Anybody with solutions to either the pasting Illustrator art into Excel problem or the creating multi-page PDF files from Illustrator will receive my deepest appreciation. Please let me know anything that I am not seeing or doing correctly. I'm not a big Illustrator guy, and so am trying to solve the problem by "thinking logically," and this may be my biggest mistake. Thanks.

John Slate

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Sep 23, 2003, 10:34:24 PM9/23/03
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Gary Newman

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Sep 23, 2003, 10:54:11 PM9/23/03
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I don’t know about your first option - although it seems like it should be soluble. For the second one, it’s a few more steps than you’d like it, but what works for me is to save each 3-page document as three separate PDF files, then combine them into one in Acrobat. OR, combine the illustrator art and Excel data into a 3-page document in InDesign and export this as a PDF.

Keith Gardner

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Sep 23, 2003, 11:53:07 PM9/23/03
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We could actually bring InDesign into the picture; they own several licenses of it. But the comparison of how simple the process was in OS 9 with how complex -- and as yet unsatisfactory -- it is in OS X, is what's got everyone up in arms. I'm not finished until it's resolved, but it may be that the resolution is to go back to OS 9. Much as I like it for my own work, for this group's specific needs it's just been one failure to perform after another, and we are literally throwing good money after bad for really no reason whatsoever, other than to be "up to date."

Gary Newman

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Sep 24, 2003, 3:26:11 AM9/24/03
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Other than the PDF issues you mention above, what are the big problems people are having? My own experience is that many people object to any change for which there's a learning curve. I gave up on snowboarding after two tries and went back to my comfortable downhill skis, yet I look around and see an awful lot of snowboarders who seem to be having a great time.

dave friesen

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Sep 24, 2003, 12:59:29 PM9/24/03
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Keith, we are in a similar predicament. I haven't had a chance to address this issue yet but will need to look at it soon.

Gary, in a heavy production environment the PDF issues you so readily dismiss are a major issue.

Any change in the workflow affects a huge number of people. And things don't slow down so that you can make adjustments.

Especially when there is no ready workaround for a very important element to the workflow.

And when the previous version(s) had such a simple solution.

This has nothing to do with snowboarding or riding bicycles...

Gary Newman

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Sep 24, 2003, 1:36:55 PM9/24/03
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What PDF issue did I dismiss? Which previous version(s) did not have this issue? If your users are happy using older versions that work the way they want, what is the problem? Was my metaphor not a good one?

Kathryn Jobczynski

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Sep 26, 2003, 3:24:14 PM9/26/03
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Keith, if you have InDesign available, I would suggest using it! It is quite a powerful application. Page setup has never been an issue, from half letter size to 38" x 108" banners and everything in between. We use it for two-sided fact sheets, programs, booklets, and brochures. We also use it to print out our oversize posters and banners to the plotters (which cannot be done directly from Illustrator 10 or Photoshop 7 in OS X). You can drag and drop Illustrator files right into InDesign. Import those Excel spreadsheets and dress them up. Exporting to PDF, printing to PDF-however you choose-works great. I have Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Word, Acrobat, two mail applications and a web browser open all day long and move between the applications effortlessly. OS X allows you to do this. The only application that "unexpectedly quits" is Illustrator, but it doesn't bring me to a total standstill. If you retreat to Illustrator 9, you'll be going back into OS 9 (where I had to restart due to crashes at least twice a day).

I've been using OS X since the beta. Things were rough in the beginning, but I accepted the fact that change was inevitable. In fact, ever since production has moved to the computer I've adjusted my mentality to one of an ever-changing work environment. Learning something new never hurts and it's good exercise for the brain. Dave, if you think about it, you've made quite a few adjustments in your lifetime, and there's certain to be several more to come. Keeps you from getting buried in a rut.

Like Gary, Kodak has been clinging to it's "skis", but finally announced yesterday that it was going to cut back on it's film production and pour all it's resources into digital imaging (imagine that), after a 135 year history of film. For sentimental reasons, it is unfortunate, but if they want to remain in business, they've realized that they aren't going to make very much money selling film and film processing chemicals anymore. I like the instant gratification of my digital camera, but I would sure hate to see film become totally obsolete. I'm hanging on to my Kodak Instamatic and 35mm cameras.

Try InDesign. And a can-do attitude always helps!

dave friesen

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Sep 26, 2003, 4:59:34 PM9/26/03
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The apprehension to using InDesign isn't from a fear of trying something different, it's because Illustrator did and should still handle tiled pages and should allow a small number of multiple pages.

Illustrator should be a design and production tool.

InDesign should be reserved for larger multiple page documents where content creation is not a factor.

Unfortunately Adobe doesn't see it that way and goes out of it's way to make sure that Illustrator cannot utilize multiple pages in any way. Even to the extent of limiting the number of pages.

Don't force the user to comply to they're rules, give us the tools and we'll do what we need to do.

If someone could come up with a decent extension that could handle the tiled pages better (if someone posts that HotDoor stuff I'll come and thump you) they sell a million until Adobe figured out how to disable it.

Teri Pettit

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Sep 26, 2003, 9:30:35 PM9/26/03
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Re: "Unfortunately Adobe doesn't see it that way and goes out of it's way to make sure that Illustrator cannot utilize multiple pages in any way. Even to the extent of limiting the number of pages. ... If someone could come up with a decent extension that could handle the tiled pages better ... they['d] sell a million until Adobe figured out how to disable it."

Dave, you have a really weird idea of Adobe's priorities.

Multiple pages in Illustrator has been on the list of things we'd like to do for ages. We definitely do not "go out of our way" to prevent it. We appreciate any plug-in developer who is willing to implement a partial solution, and we give them all the assistance we can, sometimes to the extent of adding something to the plugin developer's kit because a major third-party developer requests it. We have a great relationship with HotDoor. If they or someone else came up with an extension to do multiple pages even better, we'd throw our hats in the air and party! At the same time, we recognize that the plug-in solutions are not optimal for the user but are merely workarounds, and an integrated solution would be better for all.

It's just that doing it right is a major change to the Illustrator architecture. It's not easy, either as as engineering task or a UI task. It presents considerable compatibility issues, both backwards and cross-application, which we would need to address carefully. And it has to compete for limited resources with all the other possible enhancements. But no way are we trying to hinder it.

John Slate

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Sep 26, 2003, 10:21:33 PM9/26/03
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It's a simple matter of knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the various applications as they exist today, and using them wisely.

Complaining that one application or another, cannot do what you want simply means that you are a complainer IMHO. As software evolves functionality changes. Sometimes you win sometimes you lose.

Sure you could typeset a 60 page book of plain text in 60 different Photoshop files, but why? Then you'd complain that you can't put all 60 pages together in 1 file, and you'd complain about the lack of typographic tools...

The whole multi-page debate in AI is one horse that has been riden to death and back, and then revived with an equine crash-cart, and reriden the same route.

Just my opinion, and remember: they are like a**holes, everybody's got one, and they all stink.

Teri Pettit

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Sep 26, 2003, 11:14:43 PM9/26/03
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Well, my opinion is that adding simple multiple page capabilities to Illustrator would be very useful. Not the kind of full-fledged page layout features that InDesign is for, just independent pages with no more layout control or assistance than Illustrator already provides, similar to putting multiple .ai documents in the same file, sharing the same swatches, brushes, styles, etc.

I have InDesign and know how to use it. But when I'm using Illustrator instead of programming it, mostly what I make are tutorials and other documents about Illustrator itself.

ftp://tpettit.best.vwh.net/

And I consider the .ai file to be the final delivery form. I want people to be able to examine the structure of my style definitions in the Appearance palette, make edits to the pieces of a blend and see how the intermediate steps respond, apply the brushes to different paths, examine the stacking order of pattern and brush definitions in the Layers palette, etc. So delivering them as InDesign or PDF files isn't as useful. I'd have to include 10 times as many screen shots to show what they would see if they did those kinds of operations, instead of just letting them experiment inside Illustrator. That makes Illustrator the right tool for my goals, not InDesign or Acrobat.

But most of those documents are multi-page. Some of them are done by tiling, like the Brush Tutorial. Others are done by showing and hiding layers, like the Tartan Construction tutorial. It would be a much more pleasant experience for me to create the files and for others to use them if there were a few simple page navigation commands.

So I, for one, do not consider other people with similar wishes to be complainers. One person's complaint is another person's reasonable enhancement request.

It's just that there are many many more reasonable enhancements that could be made, than we have time to make in any release cycle. I've been working on Illustrator for 16 years now, and I fully expect it will be another 16 before it has all the features I would like it to have.

Gary Newman

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Sep 27, 2003, 2:18:20 AM9/27/03
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dave friesen said:

"... Illustrator did and should still handle tiled pages and should allow a small number of multiple pages."

While I don't disagree that it should, and will be happy when it does support multiple pages, I believe Illustrator 10 handles tiled pages in the same manner as previous versions.

My own idea of a method of multiple page implementation that would not violate the single page idea is to handle it like GoLive does. Each page in a GoLive site is stand-alone, but linked together with a site file, which allows you to apply commands to every page in the site. Just my idea.

John Slate

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Sep 27, 2003, 6:25:23 PM9/27/03
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Oh fine Teri, go ahead and be all even-handed and reasonable, when I was working so hard on the heavy-handed approach!

I would welcome multiple pages if it would do away with the tiled approach. Being a service provider, a tiled .ai file is not easy to work with. As most printers do, I save as .eps from AI, and place in a page layout program to print. In the case of the tiled file, the entire file must print through every window it is placed in, and in the case of a tiled AI file with alot of data, you feel foolish spooling 100MB for a page of text. In the past, my attempts to print directly out of AI has caused nothing but problems in my work-flow.

Not only would I like to see multiple pages, how about image editing? or spreadsheet capabilites, yeah yeah that's the ticket, or maybe it could prepare my tax return <g>

Someday, there may be a single application that does it all, allowing you to seamlessly jump from image editing, to page layout, to illustration etc... Boy that'll be the day.

Oh wait, it's called OSX.

Gary:

I see an awful lot of people claiming that they can't make multiple page PDFs from a tiled .ai file from v10 using the same procedure as they did in v8. Do they just not know what they are doing?

Gary Newman

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Sep 28, 2003, 3:27:48 AM9/28/03
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Either they don't know or I don't know. I don't think you've ever been able to make a multiple page PDF from Illustrator 8, or any other version of Illustrator.

John Kallios

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Sep 28, 2003, 7:45:26 AM9/28/03
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I will stick my nose into the multipage issue.

Multipage is not esential to my workflow. I am not saying it should not be added. In fact, I think it would be a good addition.

My fears of multipage is the save to eps. Should Adobe adopt the export to eps so it generates a separate page per eps file? I would not like this. I would prefer that it still functions as a save as but sort of goes the route of a dcs image. Have it save as a eps file per page, but have a rider or separate file that when opened will recombine the pages to a multiple Illustrator document. (maybe I am asking too much for this one. And before you tell me to work with AI files, I work in prepress and I would end up with eps files being submitted to me over AI files.)

As to how older versions would handle the multiple pages, if saved as an older .ai file, then it saves a file for each page. An older Illustrator trying to open the multipage document should be given the window to pick a page to open similar to the window when trying to open a multipage pdf. If these older versions are not capable doing this, either a plugin would be made for these older versions or the next few releases with have this capability and then the multipage version of Illustrator would be released.

I can only imagine the scale and complexity of intergrating multipages into Illustrator.

I do know though that if a rudementary multipage was added, feature requests would be made right away to incorporate master pages. And the snowball will grow from there.

John

John Slate

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Sep 28, 2003, 2:24:58 PM9/28/03
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John:

Of course I share your fears being in pre-press, and I too receive .eps files in the overwhelming majority.

But there is the occassional customer that will send the job in .ai form, probably assuming that we, like him/her, will print out of Illy.

How would you , being in pre-press, handle a .ai file that was set up to tile for multiple pages, and when saved as EPS would weigh in heavily due to placed raster images?

John Kallios

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Sep 28, 2003, 4:27:30 PM9/28/03
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If I can open the file safely, I would split it into multiple files.

If not, I just have deal with fat postscript.

I also never rip a job from Illustrator. InDesign is my current flavor application to act as a placeholder.

Just to add regarding the multipage in Illustrator. Have InDesign access the same window as a multipage pdf so the user can decide which page to place at a time.

John S.

Can you preflight a small page pdf and a eps file for me. They contains simple elements and I would like to see if it is compatible with your rip and if it will work with your inrip trapping. Nothing needs to be output, just a reply if everything is ok. Unfortunately I deleted you email address. (upgraded to a new system and used an old contact file to load in my mail manager)
So if you can, email me john(at)orionprinting(dot)com with your address. If not, no hard feelings.

Thanks
John

friesen

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Sep 29, 2003, 6:55:55 PM9/29/03
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Re: "Unfortunately Adobe doesn't see it that way and goes out of it's
way to make >sure that Illustrator cannot utilize multiple pages in any
way. Even to the extent of >limiting the number of pages. ... If someone
could come up with a decent extension >that could handle the tiled pages
better ... they['d] sell a million until Adobe figured >out how to disable
it."

Dave, you have a really weird idea of Adobe's priorities.


You should hear about my ideas about Apple's priorities... :-)

Everytime I bring up multiple pages to Adobe the answer is always use InDesign.

So the key to the multiple/tiled pages is how you export them. You can print tiled pages and that works. What is all that is needed is a way to export a PDF so that the tiled pages come out as a multi-page PDF. If Adobe can't do it who can? :-)

Easy, eh?

Then work on the real multiple page issue.

Keith_...@adobeforums.com

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Sep 30, 2003, 5:30:11 PM9/30/03
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What's wrong with the hotdoor stuff? Doesn't it work?

Lydia_V...@adobeforums.com

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Sep 30, 2003, 6:45:34 PM9/30/03
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Hi there,

I realize that this doesn't solve your problem right now, but I want to inform you just the same.

The problem with creating multiple page PDF from tiled pages in Adobe Illustrator 10 via Acrobat Distiller has been corrected in Adobe Illustrator CS. In Illustrator CS you can print a tiled Adobe Illustrator artboard to the Adobe PDF printer (Acrobat Distiller) and a mulitple page PDF will result.

The PDF save and Print functionality have also been completely redesigned in the Illustrator CS release.

dave_f...@adobeforums.com

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Sep 30, 2003, 7:23:05 PM9/30/03
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Thanks Lydia, I just got out of a presentation by one of the Adobe Corporate Account Managers and he said the same thing about saving tiled pages as multipage PDFs.

Needless to say I was partially in disbelief. And relieved.

Mostly because this thread can die. :-)

Keith_...@adobeforums.com

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Oct 2, 2003, 10:04:50 AM10/2/03
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Such a marvelous thread, don't you think?

Let me just say that I myself have been an OS X user since the purchase of this iBook which came with 10.x installed on it, and was waiting in line at the SoHo Apple Store the night of the "release party" for Jaguar. So yes, I'm a big believer in it for all of those things that everybody knows it does well.

And I really like the idea of using InDesign in the workflows I've described, for what it's good for. I've moved a number of people onto InDesign, and they've been really happy with it. All else being equal, I would move in that direction.

However, all else is not equal - between OS 9 and OS X. While I myself am not a power user in any one particular program, my clients sometimes are. For some it's Quark, for others it's Illustrator. The word on the street has been that it was Quark's failure until now to run natively in OS X that was keeping the design community from moving more rapidly to OS X. My own experience now with Illustrator is that it's not necessarily Quark's fault.

It's not just about making multi-page pdf files. It's also about little things like having no previews in the Open dialog. But most importantly it's about waiting a countable number of seconds for every operation, from copying to moving to scaling to printing. Illustrator 9 in OS 9 didn't do this. Illustrator 10 in OS X does do this. It becomes unacceptable when your job demands a certain level of productivity, and those measures have been in place for some time. You can't all of a sudden become less productive - produce less output per day - because you have such a great, flexible new system. It just doesn't work that way.

Alas, I have had to revert a group of 8 designers back to OS 9. They had too much work to do. There were too many things not working. I was getting called in on a daily basis, and even then there was nothing I could do to make it faster. I applied every trick and technique that I could find posted in the user forums, and while it did help, it was not sufficient. Not having the ability to scan into Streamline was the last nail in the coffin for OS X.

Perhaps the new CS versions are a lot faster. Or perhaps I'll have to wait for Illustrator 11. But they say they're optimized for G5. We don't have G5's, and we're not likely to have G5's until next year. So... it's OS 9.

Bummer.

Gary_...@adobeforums.com

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Oct 2, 2003, 1:21:22 PM10/2/03
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For me Illustrator 10 worked fine under OS9 on a G3. But switching to OSX on that machine made AI 10 too slow to use productively there. So I baught a G4, and now Illustrator 10 runs about as fast as AI8 ever did under OS9. And I always have Classic running (for some required legacy apps), so Streamline is always available. I suspect your problems are more with the limitations of your iBook than with Illustrator.

Lydia_V...@adobeforums.com

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Oct 2, 2003, 1:19:38 PM10/2/03
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One more point of clarification. Adobe Illustrator CS is the next release of Adobe Illustrator. Adobe has changed it's versioning policy. There will be no Illustator 11.

Regarding performance, our messaging does note that we are specifically optimized for the G5. However, the performance improvements were made to the specification operating systems and configurations specified. As long as you are running the recommended system configuration (see web site), you will see performance improvements in Adobe Illustrator CS.

Like Apple, Adobe needed to move forward in its development platform and could no longer support the Mac OS 9 operating system.

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