Here’s a neat trick that I just learned. Ever wanted to print something to PDF, but for whatever reason, printing to your PDF Printer/CutePDF/etc was blocked?
Well, I’ve found an incredibly circuitous way around it!
First, make sure your actual printer is turned off. Yes, turned off. Now, try printing out the thing which you want to become a PDF. Your computer will likely say something like “GREERRRRORR CANNOT PRINT YOUR PRINTER IS OFF MMMBBEEP”. This is good. Now, don’t cancel or anything like that: leave the error message there!
Okay, now here’s the tricky part: open up a file explorer window and go to c:\Windows\System32\spool\PRINTERS. You should see a file here like “FP00059.SPL”. The “FP00059″ could be anything, the important part is the .SPL. Copy this file somewhere else, like your desktop. Okay, now you can cancel the error or turn your printer back on and print, whatever.
So what is this SPL file? It’s what’s known as a “spool”, which is an antiquated term meaning “stuff that’s ready to print but hasn’t been sent to the printer yet”. If only there was some way to view this file…but wait! There is! I found a nice small program called EMF Printer Spool File Viewer, which, despite it’s incredibly ambiguous name, let’s you view EMF Printer Spool Files. Download it, run it, file->open the SPL file.
Ahhhh, now we see the thing which we want to put in a PDF. Fortunately, the EMF file viewer has no problem letting you do a File->Print to PDF Printer/CutePDF/etc. So do it already. Now you have a nice PDF file with which to do all manner of haberdashery upon. Now don’t use this to circumvent DRM or anything, because that would just be wrong.