PostScript Quick Tips

Herb Weiner ( writes the PostScript Quick Tips column for X-Change, the Adobe Technology Exchange (ATX) newsletter. PostScript Quick Tips are PDF (Portable Document Format) files, which can be read using Adobe Acrobat Reader or Exchange.

Another useful reference is the PostScript Frequently Asked Questions from the Usenet comp.lang.postscript newsgroup.

Creating a Mirror Image Font

Have you ever needed a mirror image of a symbol from the Zapf Dingbats font? Perhaps you've needed a hand or arrow pointing to the left rather than to the right. This Quick Tip demonstrates how to create a Zapf Dingbats Mirror font, in which each character is a mirror image of the corresponding character from the Zapf Dingbats font. Once you understand the process, you'll be able to use this same technique to create additional mirror fonts.

Creating a Background Text Message

Have you ever seen paper with the word "Confidential" printed diagonally in a large outline from the lower left corner to the upper right corner? Have you ever wished you could label your own documents "Preliminary", "Draft", "For Review Only", or with some similar message? This Quick Tip demonstrates how to create a background text message for your pages.

Formatting Recipes

Formatting recipes is a problem that is not handled well by most desktop publishing software. We want our recipes to be attractive, yet easy to use for both shopping and preparation. We also must have a format that's easy to update, so that revising the instructions or adding an ingredient does not require tedious manual reformatting. This Quick Tip describes the technique used to format the recipes in Beyond Tacos: Mexican Cuisine.

Printing Font Samples

Apple's LaserWriter Utility includes a Print Font Samples function. This Quick Tip includes PostScript code to produce similar Font Samples, with several improvements:

Converting PostScript to EPS (Encapsulated PostScript)

There are numerous sources of PostScript files that are not in EPS format, including books, the net, and postscript files from many computer programs. This Quick Tip describes a method for converting a PostScript page description to EPS format.

Permanently Downloaded PostScript

In special applications, it may be necessary to permanently download PostScript code into the printer. This Quick Tip discusses some of the issues involved in permanent downloading, and provides some brief examples of permanently downloaded PostScript code.

Printing Ransom Notes

Just to be different, this Quick Tip shows you how to make your documents look less professional (like a ransom note). This Quick Tip includes PostScript code that uses a pseudo-random number generator to vary the font, size, style, spacing, etc.