NOTE: These instructions are Windows-Only: on Apple Macintosh, generating a high-quality PDF is built into MacOS.
Windows 10 introduces a built-in method for producing high-quality PDF files. However, there are issues with the extremely large file sizes produced by the Windows Print to PDF print driver. The instructions below explains several different methods to create PDFs on Windows 10, and their advantages and disadvantages.
These approaches assume that you have already set your script's font to Courier MM Screenwriter. If so, all three approaches below will generate a high-quality PDF with print density better than using Courier New.
Why Can't I Use Screenwriter's Export to Adobe Acrobat (.pfd) Menu Command?
Unfortunately, Screenwriter's FILE > Export to PDF always wants to export using Courier New, which many users report as printing and displaying too light. This is a defect in Windows Screenwriter we expect to eliminate in the next major release.
Using a Third-Party PDF Print Driver (many are free)
This approach has the advantage of making the smallest possible PDF file. The only disadvantage is that you need to download a third-party virtual printer. One that we've seen generate good results (and is free) is PrimoPDF:
- Download and install PrimoPDFUse Screenwriter's FILE > Print Setup to select the Primo PDF printer
- Use Screenwriter's FILE > Print Setup to select the Primo PDF printer
- Use Screenwriter's FILE > Print command and select "Print normally to printer" -- DO NOT select "Create PDF (Adobe Acrobat) file instead of Printing"
- Check the "Print Title Page" checkbox
- Press OK
- The PrimoPDF window opens. We recommend that you keep the default settings which both asks you where to save the document and to Open PDF. Press the Create PDF button.
- You will be prompted for the name of the new PDF file to create. Make sure to note WHERE you save this file.
- Press the Save button.
- The PDF file will open in a PDF reader, e.g. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC
- Use File>Exit Application when you are done looking at the PDF.
Using Adobe Acrobat's Adobe PDF Virtual Print Driver (paid)
If you have a paid subscription to Adobe's Acrobat DC (or an older installed version of Adobe Acrobat Pro), you can do the same process as above by selecting the Adobe PDF virtual printer. This approach is also very high quality, but not free. The free version of Acrobat Reader DC does not install the Adobe PDF virtual print driver.
1) Use Screenwriter's FILE > Print Setup to select the Adobe PDF printer.
2) Use Screenwriter's FILE > Print command and select "Print normally to printer" -- DO NOT select "Create PDF..."
3) Check the "Print Title Page" checkbox
4) Press OK
5) You will be prompted for the name of the new PDF file to create. Make sure to note WHERE you are saving this file.
Using Microsoft's Free Print to PDF Virtual Print Driver (free)
This will generate a high-quality PDF, and is free (and already installed) for Windows 10 users, but generates very large file sizes (a 120-page feature film script might be 80MB in size!). Still, the size might not matter if you're not emailing the PDF or submitting it to a contest.
1) Select FILE > Print Setup.
2) In the popup menu to the right of "Name:", select Microsoft Print to PDF. Press OK.
3) Select FILE > Print command.
4) At the bottom of the window will be a popup menu that says, "Print Normally to Printer". DO NOT change this to "Create PDF (Adobe Acrobat) file instead of Printing"
5) Check the "Print Title Page" checkbox
6) Press OK
7) Either enter a new name for the PDF to create, or just press SAVE to complete the process.