Fixing Issues with PDF Map Pages

This article discusses tips and tricks for improving results when publishing a PDF map page with TNP. This includes extra large margins on the right and bottom of the PDF, layers (such as polygon fills) that do not render correctly, missing or out-of-place page blocks, and any other anomalies where the preview presented in TNP's print window does not match the resulting PDF file.

Introduction

TNP's printing and publishing engine (accessed by opening the File menu and choosing Print/Publish Map) is a powerful tool to create maps for printing to an attached printer, or delivering virtually in a wide variety of formats. The Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format) is a popular choice for presenting a map that may be printed later, emailed to a colleague, or attached to a report. However, there are several ways to create a PDF, which may cause erratic or inconsistent results.

If you are having trouble generating a PDF that matches the preview area of TNP's Print window, here are a few tips.


1. Ensure TNP is Up-to-Date

With each release, TNP becomes more reliable and feature filled. While updates usually are applied automatically, there can be cases where this functionality has been inadvertently (or intentionally) is disabled. Be sure you have the latest version of TNP as described at:

If the TNP update does not apply automatically, please see:


2. Ensure the PC's Video Display Drivers are Up-to-Date

Map pages are constructed using the computer's video memory. As such, video drivers that are outdated, damaged, or corrupted can cause erratic behavior. For details on how to download and install the latest video display drivers, please see:

Note that it is important to get video drivers directly from the manufacturer's  web site. Do not rely on automatic "check for updates" routines as they are often unreliable. Also, take care to avoid downloading drivers from a 3rd-party website or service; the manufacturer of the video display adapter (or computer) is always the authoritative source for driver updates - which occur frequently.


3. Use TNP's Built-In PDF Export (Use <<Export Preview>> and Export Image.)

There are two different ways to create PDF images in TNP. The most common is to use the built-in PDF export option. Here's how:
  • Set the Print window to <<Export Preview>>.
  • In the Printer/File tab of the Print window, set the Save As Type to PDF File.
  • Set the page dimensions accordingly at the bottom of the Printer/File tab.
  • Adjust the DPI, if necessary (see below.)
  • Position the map add other page blocks, etc.
  • Once satisfied with the map as it appears in the preview area, Press Export/Save (rather than Print) to generate the PDF.
When I export a PDF file, I do not get the desired results. What is wrong?
There could be several reasons why the finished PDF does not match the preview area. First and foremost, double check that your TNP software and video display drivers are up-to-date (as described above.)

We have observed an odd side-effect when the Windows Interface is sized larger than 100%. In certain cases, this can cause the PDF rendered in TNP to be sized incorrectly - with large margins added to the right and bottom of the map. To correct this on future PDFs published with TNP, either: a. Set the Make everything bigger control in Windows 10's Settings, Display to 100% (the Make text bigger option does not appear to affect TNP's PDFs and could be adjusted to suit your taste) or b. Use a 3rd-party PDF printer already installed on your PC (see below.)

In some cases, the DPI of the map image, coupled with its dimensions, could cause issues with the final map. Try lowering the DPI (in the Printer/File tab) to 150 or 96 dpi.

Also, it is possible that the Print Template that is being used (or started with, before editing) is damaged. Try loading the "Map Only" template in the Templates tab, adjusting the page dimensions (and DPI), then exporting the PDF. If that works, add back in the desired page blocks, and save it as a new Print Template for later use.

If all else fails, try using a 3rd party PDF printer driver...


4. Use a PDF "Printer" Already Installed on the PC  (Use <<Print Preview and Print Page>>)

The alternate method to creating a PDF map is to use a PDF printer driver that may be installed on your PC. There are many 3rd-party PDF printer drivers available, some are even bundled on new computers and/or included with popular software products. Chances are you have one (or more) PDF printers already installed on your PC. Here's how to use them in TNP:
  • Set the Print window to <<Print Preview>>.
  • In the Printer/File tab of the Print window, set the Printer to Adobe PDF, Microsoft Print to PDF, or a similarly-named PDF printer.
  • Set the Paper Size and Orientation accordingly.
  • Adjust the Properties of the PDF printer (if needed.)
  • Adjust Image on Printer/Image on PC, if issues occur (see below.)
  • Position the map add other page blocks, etc.
  • Once satisfied with the map as it appears in the preview area, Press Print (rather than Export/Save) to generate the PDF.
When I print to a PDF printer driver, I do not get the desired results. What is wrong?
There could be several reasons why the finished PDF does not match the preview area. As before, double check that your TNP software and video display drivers are up-to-date (as described above.) Also, ensure that you have the latest version/updates for that particular PDF printer driver. (Consult the manufacturer of that PDF printer driver for more details and any applicable updates.)

TNP provides three options for creating the printed map page: Image on PC, Image on Printer (High DPI), and Image on PC (Low DPI). Try these settings to determine which works best for your particular PDF printer driver. 

In some cases, the DPI of the map image, coupled with its dimensions, could cause issues with the final map. Try lowering the image DPI (in the Properties of the PDF printer) to 150 or 96 dpi.

Also, it is possible that the Print Template that is being used (or started with, before editing) is damaged. Try loading the "Map Only" template in the Templates tab, adjusting the paper size, then printing the PDF. If that works, add back in the desired page blocks, and save it as a new Print Template for later use.

If all else fails, try exporting as a PNG or JPG image (details below.)

I don't have a 3rd-party PDF printer driver. Are there any that you recommend?
There are a myriad of PDF printer drivers available - with many different prices, features, and degrees of reliably. Adobe's is the gold standard (as they developed the PDF format.) We've also had excellent success with pdfFactory by Fine Print Software.


5. Save the Map in PNG or JPG format.

PDF files can sometimes be persnickety. If the map presented in the PDF still does not accurately reflect the print/publish preview in TNP, consider not using the PDF format at all. Instead, PNG or JPG formats are ideal for most applications - including email or embedding in reports. To make a PNG or JPG:
  • Set the Print window to <<Export Preview>>.
  • In the Printer/File tab of the Print window, set the Save As Type to PNG File or JPG File.
  • Set the page dimensions accordingly at the bottom of the Printer/File tab.
  • Adjust the DPI, if necessary (see below.)
  • Position the map add other page blocks, etc.
  • Once satisfied with the map as it appears in the preview area, Press Export/Save (rather than Print) to generate the PNG or JPG image file.
The PNG or JPG is still not correct. Now what?
Assuming that the video display drivers are up-to-date (and bug-free) then something is likely damaged with the print template. Try loading the "Map Only" template in the Templates tab, adjusting the paper size, then exporting the PNG or JPG. If that works, add back in the desired page blocks, and save it as a new Print Template for later use.

If results are still unsatisfactory, please take a screen shot of the entire Print window, showing the Printer/File tab, and email it, along with the errant PNG or JPG image to TNPSupport@Trimble.com. Then we will do our best to identify and troubleshoot the issue for you.

I made a great looking PNG (or JPG) image. Is there any way to convert that into a PDF?
Yes. Here's how:
  • In the image viewer that is displaying the PNG (or JPG), choose Copy to Clipboard. (Or press CTRL+C.)
  • Open Microsoft Word (or similar document word processor.)
  • Choose Paste (or press CTRL+V.)
  • Adjust the image size, page layout, margins, etc.
  • Print the page to a PDF printer (or export as PDF.)

Other Common Questions


What's the deal with landscape vs. portrait orientation when creating a PDF (or PNG, JPG, or other exported image type)?
In short, images are not orientated with a direction - they are defined by dimensions of length and width. A "portrait" orientation appears taller than it is wider. A "landscape" orientation appears wider than it is taller. For a detailed discussion on this, and other map imaging tricks, please see:


When I print the PDF file, the map's scale is incorrect.
TNP goes through great lengths to accurately scale its printed (and exported) maps. When printing the PDF, be sure the option for Page Sizing and Handling is set to Actual Size. (The PDF viewer used to print may have slightly different wording - the point is to print the page at Actual Size - and NOT "fit", "shrink", "scale" or similarly-named options.)


I get a message about not being licensed to create maps larger than 11x17. Is there a work-around for this?
Yes. Please see:


How do I "save" my page size so that it remains the same whenever I use TNP?
The default page size for a printer (or 3rd-party PDF print driver) is set by the Printer's driver, not TNP. Access the printer (or 3rd-party PDF print driver) via the Windows Control Panel to set a default page size for that device.

When exporting from TNP's Print/Publish Maps window, the image size for the resulting PDF, JPG, etc. is set by the Template. Set the page parameters you wish (page blocks, etc.) including the desired export file type and image size. Then use the Templates tab to save it (and load it in future sessions.) You can also set a default template to load automatically each time the Print window is entered.

For more information on Print Templates, press the Help button in the Print window.

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