Cherry tomato soup with basil

by Robert Daeley

Most users who've been using their Macs for a goodly amount of time know about the ability to "print" pages to PDF files, whether for simple preview, storage, or whatever else. There are a few other options available, though, that can be quite handy.

Like this morning, when I came across this recipe for Cherry tomato soup with basil, which looks simple enough to make and sounds quite tasty, especially on these frigid Southern California winter days where the temperature is plunging into the low 70s and the blue skies are kind of hard to look at due to the gorgeous mountains distracting you in the distance. Ahem.

Anyhow, like many newspaper sites, the San Jose Mercury News has an option to view a "print this" page, as well as "email this." The recipe sounded like something a couple of different friends of mine would enjoy. Rather than submit my buddies' email addresses to unknown processing potential, I clicked on "print this," since it's often nicer to email that link, or even copy and paste from the simpler layouts.

It occurred to me looking at the print-this page (since ingredient lists often get screwy in copy-paste) that I could probably email small PDF files just as easily. So I hit Command-P. As I did, I thought -- hey, it would be nicer to email a PDF automagically rather than finding a saved file somewhere in the filesystem.

Sure enough, clicking on the "PDF" popup menu revealed this spiffy list,

screenshot of PDF print menu in OS X

including "Mail PDF" -- score! Selecting the command results in a Workflow Action being called, then a new mail opens with the PDF attached.

And dig all those other PDF options! Looking back at that menu, though, check out the last command. "Edit Menu..." brings up this palette,

screenshot of Edit PDF Menu palette in OS X

The + button summons a navigation dialog box to choose your own scripts.

This suggests to me all kinds of possibilities, from automatically sending PDFs to your blogging software, to creating a web clipping service, to faxing online account statements to your tax people, to writing shell scripts that could do just about anything else you can think to do with PDFs.

And all that from cherry tomato soup with basil.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I need to close the window blinds -- the sunshine is getting kind of bright in here. ;)


2007-01-24 14:29:20
What - scripting - utility are you using for these actions ? Hitting Command-P gives me just an option to Save as PDF and not much else ( I'm running 10.3.9 ). Please enlighten me !
2007-01-24 14:40:34
This is, I believe, a 10.4 feature, so you would need to be running that.
Dave Kosiur
2007-01-24 14:50:59
Anothe thing you can d with PDFs in the Print window: direct PDFs to a specific folder of your choosing. Just go the PDF Services folder in your Library folder and add aliases for any folders where you'd want to store PDFs. Those folders will now show up as destinations when you click the PDF button in the Print window.
Lee Davis
2007-01-24 19:03:27
Is there anyway to assign a single keystroke (or new menu item) to one of the Save PDF to ... workflows. Print, then PDF button, then select the save to... I do this frequently and am very lazy so a one-button/click/keystroke would be nice.
2007-01-24 22:18:43
Following up on Dave's comment, Peter could drop an alias for the Mail app in the PDF Services folder and rename it to "Mail PDF", you can have exactly the same behavior under 10.3 as described here for Tiger.
2007-01-25 02:33:44
I just wish I could access things like "Print to PDF" with a single shortcut. Otherwise the PDF Workflow stuff is pretty hand as you can integrate Applescript and through that even Shellscripts to work some magic.

And yes, this was introduced with Tiger, so no dice for you Panther folks, sorry.

2007-01-25 06:28:54
Thank you all for your comments and very helpful suggestions ! I was not aware of the existence of the PDF Services folder and consequently have some catching up to, it seems.

2007-02-24 23:39:22
Finally got around to trying this recipe out -- quite tasty, especially with rice. :)
2007-07-28 22:30:00

anyone who's more adept w/ applescript than myself
(or who might even know a quicker/easier way?) been able to create a quick-and-easy hotkey or shortcut directly to the 'Save as PDF...'

I know it's just a few more keystrokes, i.e. Commnad-P and then clicking the dialogue box for 'save as pdf...'
but i'd offer magic words and thoughts if someone has come upon a quick n easy way to directly assign a keyboard shortcut directly to 'save as pdf.'
cheers. :) (wingedmonkeys -at- mac period com)