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September 17th, 1999

[2:00 PM] New Plug-in Allows PDF Output Straight From BBEdit

Kas Thomas has released a free plugin for BBEdit that allows users to output PDF documents directly from BBEdit. BBEdit is a powerful and popular text editing package for the Mac. According to M. Thomas:

PDF-Blit 1.0 is a plug-in for the popular MacOS text editor Bare Bones Edit (BBEdit). It adds powerful PDF output capabilities to BBEdit so that users of the popular text editor can (for the first time) output richly formatted PDF documents straight from BBEdit. Not only that, but PDF-Blit can automatically send Apple Events to make the user's PDF file open in Acrobat Reader, launching Reader if it's not already running.

PDF-Blit allows the BBEdit user to have complete control over:

  • Margins on all 4 page edges
  • Typeface (12 fonts supported)
  • Type size (including fractional values)
  • Leading (including fractional values)
  • Text COLOR
  • Character width (expanded or condensed type, in 1% increments)
  • Auto page-numbering
  • Header content & generation (up to 3 lines of header text)
  • Colored backgrounds
  • Justification
  • HTML tag interpretation, allowing six sizes of headers, styled text (italic, bold, bold-italic, etc.), and preformatted text on the fly.
  • User-specified filled rectangles in any color, in any size, in any x-y position.

Plus, PDF-Blit allows the user to specify one of 7 different cinematic page transition effects for the PDF document, something that even Acrobat doesn't give the user control over.

PDF-Blit is a free product. As of press time, we were unable to access the product's web site at, though this could be routing troubles at Time Warner's network.

The Mac Observer Spin: This will likely be a very powerful tool for many Mac users who need to make PDF files. Commercial apps that will export files as PDF documents tend toward the expensive side. At the same time, BBEdit has legions of dedicated users who swear by it all day long. Combine free PDF software with that kind of installed user base, and you wind up with lots of users.


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