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Issue: Layout Layer May Rasterise Export EPS

Adobe EPS icon

Warning re Export EPS

If you have an image in Layout Layer, then all elements of a map get rasterised (bit mapped) in Export EPS.

Vector map lines
Vector map lines
Raster map lines
Raster map lines


This means you lose the precision of lines and edges that vector art gives you. The printed result will not look good and could look terrible. But you won’t know until the print is done or you produce a PDF from the EPS and check it. Try 400% zoom on the PDF and look at line edges. Vector will be as above left and raster above right.

Only images (jpg, gif, png etc) in Layout Layer give rise to this issue. Using Layout Layer for legend, crop marks, text is fine.

You might also get the warning below or similar.

Layout to EPS warning
Layout to EPS warning

Solution: Export PDF, not EPS

About 5 years ago, the print industry was moving seriously towards PDF as the preferred format for receiving print files. One reason is that PDF can carry data into the workflow for more automated printing. From our cartographer viewpoint, PDF is preferable to EPS because you can see what the printer is going to get and thus from time to time avoid quality and time issues.

From my experience, both as owner of a print & design centre (earlier this century :-)) and as a sports mapper interested in map print quality, I can assure you that I have not seen any PDF output from OCAD that is better than that produced by OCAD‘s Export PDF. I have seen many that are worse.

The latter have been produced by using the Print function and directing to PDF output. Unfortunately, free and low cost PDF makers are preset to office print settings rather than press quality settings. And usually you do not have the opportunity to change those settings. Even if you have the professional Adobe Acrobat or GDoc Fusion, you need to ensure you select Press Quality for output.

Adobe PDF iconWhy bother when Export PDF will get the best result every time?

Update 15 Aug 2013. The latest version of OCAD 11 produces PDFs up to 10x faster.


Due to Export PDF providing a more useful output than EPS and due to PDF being overall the preferred format for print centres, OCAD AG does not intend addressing this issue in the foreseeable future. My guess is that Export EPS will fade away in the next major version or so.

See also Six Tips on Layout Layer


Your comment is welcome