How To Prepare PDF From LaTeX

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LaTeX documents typically use the Computer Modern font. This font is not resident in printers and must be downloaded to the printer in order for LaTeX documents to be printed. The usual representation for the downloaded font is a bit-mapped raster. It is designed for printing and the results usually look good.

Instead of printing documents, however, it is common to distribute them electronically. The most common format for this is the Portable Document Format (PDF). Many journals and conference proceedings require submissions in this format and it is commonly used on the web.

The usual procedure to create a PDF version of a LaTeX document is to first convert it to \PostScript and then use Adobe Distiller or ps2pdf to convert it to PDF. A problem with this is that the bit-mapped Computer Modern Fonts do not scale well and the resulting PDF file does not look good when viewed on the screen and sometimes does not look good when printed.

The solution is to use a scalable version of the Computer Modern font. This is available on the Solaris systems by adding the flag -Ppdf to the dvips command. If your LaTeX source is in the file file.tex, then the following commands will produce file.pdf which will look good at any magnification on the screen and will print with crisp characters.

latex file.tex
dvips -Ppdf -o file.dvi

Another way to get scalable fonts is to use the pslatex package. If you do this, then you don't need the -Ppdf option on the dvips command.