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Friday, May 11, 2012

How to Save a PDF of a Chicken Salad Recipe Exactly Where you want it

I find one of OS X handiest features is the ability to save a PDF of an article, such as a chicken salad recipe, instead of printing it out.

Figure1-PrintDialogue-2012-05-11-14-10.jpg You do this by going to the print menu of an application and selecting PDF instead of a printer. (Figure 1)

Just click on that PDF button I put the red rectangle around and you get more options. (Figure 2)


Now you see several options. You can open the PDF in Preview to look at it before saving it. You can just save it as a PDF with a name of your choice. You can save it in the PostScript format. You can FAX it, although recent Macs don’t come with a modem.

Below the divider line are more options. You can add a PDF to iTunes. You can e-mail it. You can save it to the Web Receipts folder, which OS X puts into your Documents folder. They thought of you going on-line, doing shopping and paying the phone bill.

You see the option “Recipes Alias.” This is the one I added. “Save PDF to MacJournal” and “Save PDF to Paperless” were added by two programs.

“Recipes Alias” is one of my own. This is how I added it.

First of all, some background. The heart of this lies in the folder “PDF Services” which you will find within your Library folder within your User’s folder. Look at Figure 3 to see the route


Start at the Library folder within your User folder and NOT at the Library folder at the root level. That’s not the folder you want.

Within that folder you will find “PDF Services”. If you don’t find it, you can add it by adding a folder and naming it PDF Services

Put a space between “PDF” and “Services,” and capitalize the S in Services.

In most cases, you will find it already made by OS X.

Now for the secret sauce.

Decide where you want your folder for Recipes or Jokes or George Will/Paul Krugman columns in your Mac’s Document folder. Yes, you can put this folder within another folder if you like. That’s where I put my Recipes folder.

Now click once on the desired folder to highlight it. Now press Command + L. Command + L is the command for making an alias. You will see an alias appear below the original folder (Figure 4)


Notice that the icon shows a folder, but below it at the left-hand corner is an arrow. That arrow indicates this is an alias, a small file that points to the original folder elsewhere.

Now for the last part. Set up two finder windows side by side. You display the PDF Services folder in one window. You display the alias you just made to the folder for your PDF articles. Now drag the alias over to the PDF Services folder. That’s it.


Time to test it. Open up your Internet browser of choice. I will use Safari for this illustration.

I put “chicken salad” into the Google search bar, pick a recipe, and display it.

Now I go under the File menu and pick Print. The Print dialog comes up. In the corner is the PDF button.

Click on that and voila!. There’s the Recipe Alias. Click on that and the recipe goes to the folder as a PDF. See Figure 6


Notes to those who have OS X 10.7. Where’s the Library folder?!

By default, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion hides the Library folder from view. This is to avoid problems caused by the inexperienced and clumsy.

If you want to view the Library folder, hold down the Option key while clicking on the Finder’s Go menu. Now you can view the Library folder.

For more tips, go to Macworld’s article 18 Ways to View the Library Folder.

As you can see, I keep a copy in my Recipes folder :o

Tom Briant

Editor and Media Manager, MacValley User Group

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