Fanning Software Consulting

PostScript Landscape Output Thing of the Past

QUESTION: OK, I'm just trying to use the IDL 8.1 function graphics commands to produce a PostScript file in landscape mode. This seems like such a simple thing, but I have been working for two days on this with no joy. Here is the command I am using.

   windoObj.Save, '', BITMAP=1, HEIGHT=5*600, $
        WIDTH=8*600, /LANDSCAPE  

I don't get any errors with that command, and a file with the correct name is produced. But the file is not a PostScript file, it is an encapsulated PostScript file, and the output is always in portrait mode. Am I being unreasonable here thinking this should work!?

ANSWER: I don't know. You are probably getting old and didn't get the word that PostScript landscape output is terribly old-fashioned. Now the hip thing is PDF output.

In any case, the LANDSCAPE keyword you are using in that command is recognized only if you are creating a PDF file. You should have known this because... Well, I don't know how you would have known it. The keyword doesn't throw an error, it's just ignored. I guess it's your fault for not reading the Landscape keyword documentation closely enough. Or, maybe it's your fault for just assuming you knew something about PostScript output after 25 years of IDL programming.

These days the only kinds of PostScript files you can create are encapsulated and they only come in one flavor: portrait mode. You can't live with that, go back to those damn old IDL graphics routines that did exactly what you asked them to do, and complained if they didn't know how to do it!

Version of IDL used to prepare this article: IDL 8.1.

Written: 26 September 2011