Can anyone tell me why ArcGIS10 will not print to my Adobe9 "printer" in a Windows7Pro environment. Multiprocessor system, huge memory. Makes a .ai but crashes when i try a "print". ArcGIS10 also crashes when I try and use the native export to pdf function. Arc is up to date. Thanks ahead of time to those who respond.

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    Even though ArcGIS is a GIS program, the PDF export function is a bit out of scope here. I.e., it's not directly related to a GIS problem; it's more of a general IT question. I recommend asking the guys at Stack Overflow instead, you'll be more likely to get an answer in time. I would guess that your versions of Arc and Adobe are incompatible, but can't tell you what to do about it. At Stack Overflow they'll be more likely to know. Also, be sure to ask ESRI themselves. Good luck! :) – R Thiede Sep 4 '11 at 7:46
  • What settings are you using? Creating a PDF from ArcGIS works fine with simple vector maps but does not work at all with production quality maps with many vector and raster layers. It's been a problem since version 8. You might want to try to export to Illustrator then to PDF or export to tiff and convert to PDF. – Jakub Sisak GeoGraphics Sep 4 '11 at 13:47
  • do you recieve an error message? – Brad Nesom Sep 4 '11 at 19:24
  • Does your layout include rasters, especially high resolution ones? If so, try removing them from the layout as a test. Actually remove them, don't just turn off their visibility. – user3461 Sep 6 '11 at 15:26
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    I consider PDF creation very much in scope. It's the standard for exchanging print files, and cartography is all about printing (yes even in this web map world). Cartography is a superb litmus test for the quality of the data model. If you can draw international, national, state, provincial and territorial boundaries, each individually symbolised, from a single feature class you have a good, rich data model that also supports multiple types of analysis. If not, well, there's some work to do. ;-) – matt wilkie Nov 9 '11 at 22:20

As Jakub notes Arcmap has had problems with exporting, and printing which is related to exports, since 8.x. It get's better with every release, I've not personally run into them with v10, but I'll wait a year or so before I fully relax about it.

I'm not sure of all the details and I may have some of the acronyms wrong, but here's my understanding of the process: Printing and exporting both use the same method. First the map is rendered to EMF in the system temp directory, then the EMF is converted to WMF (can't remember if this happens in the system temp or ArcGIS temp dir), and then finally the WMF is converted to the desired output format (or sent to the printer driver).

This means you need at least 3 times the rendered E/WMF file size in temp space for the processing AND at least one third of that must be on C: no matter what your ArcGIS settings are. I also remember someone saying that big chunks of this space must be contiguous (so try a disk defrag, using a utility which can defrag free space).

In my experiencing exporting to vector formats like PDF, EPS & WMF is more often problematic than image formats like JPEG and TIFF. I don't know why a pdf export will fail while a tiff export does not. My speculation is that the WMF is converted to an intermediary format like postscript before being finally rendered to PDF.

To make troubleshooting these issues even more complicated, things like changing the layer order, marker symbols, or transparancy settings all can make failed vector exports appear/disappear seemingly at whim. So if making more disk space available and defragmented doesn't help start simplifying your map. This includes things like not using bitmap symbols, avoiding transparencies, and reducing the number of objects/layers/text on the map.

If simplifying really goes against the grain one technique is to flatten the base layers into a single raster image:

  • turn off all layers which absolutely need to be sharp and clear -- text, symbols, roads, rivers, admin boundaries, grids and graticules
  • export the base layers -- transparencies, bitmap symbols, polygon fills relief imagery, etc. -- to a high resolution tiff/jpeg. 300 dpi is good, include world file, and slide the quality slider to normal+one or best.
  • add the flattened export image to your map, turn off the base layers, turn on the feature layers
  • print/export.
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I've had very good luck exporting to pdf etc from arcmap 10.1+ compared to earlier versions - until recently.

On export or print to virtual printer for a 36x48 poster, arcmap would process for a while, memory usage would spike, and then arcmap would crash. Every. Single. Time. Because of the out of memory message, I tried tweaking memory and settings on my windows VM (arc 10.3) as Matt recommended. With no luck there I tried the job on a dedicated arcgis terminal server (10.2) and got exactly the same crash.

I (eventually) narrowed the crashing trigger down to two factors:
- whether the data frame was re-projected
- whether a single line layer representing streams was on or off

Reprojection was necessary, so I went through these steps:

  • the culprit (required) layer was in PostGIS, so I dumped it to .gdb... crash!
  • tried 'Repair Geometry' on the exported .gdb layer... crash!
  • quickly dumped a subset of data to shapefile... NO CRASH!?!
  • symbolized the shapefile correctly...same crash!
  • simplified symbology of .gdb layer (simple line rather than dashed line)... NO CRASH!

So rendering the stream network as a reprojected dashed line was the issue.

To fix and still retain my symbology I did what I should have done in the first place - simplify and re-project the source stream layer to a postgres temp table and point the .mxd to that. No problems now. A temp layer is necessary because adding ST_Transform inline to the query layer definition brings arcmap to a grinding halt.

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