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Preparing Mac Files for the PC (or Doin' The Illustrator Two-Step)

Illustrator format is the lingua franca of graphics exchange, both Mac-to-Mac and PC-to-Mac. Here are some tips that will help you prepare your Mac Illustrator files for best results in mainstream PC presentation programs like PowerPoint and Freelance. There are two main problems to overcome: Fonts and Colors.

1. Fonts

Two problems:

Two possible solutions:

If they don't have the fonts, or if their version of the font comes from a different manufacturer, or if you're not sure which fonts you used, the safe bet is to convert all of the text to outlines. To do this:

2. Colors
Except in the most recent versions, Illustrator works in Pantone or CMYK colors. These are the standard for the printing industry, but most presentation programs work strictly in RGB. Some CMYK colors convert nicely to RGB, others look horrible.
Like it or not, your carefully chosen colors will get converted to RGB. You can trust that the conversion will work (let me know if you do I have some very nice bridges for sale) or you do the conversion yourself and make certain it's done right. Assuming you want to do the right thing, here's how you convert to RGB-friendly colors:

Once you're done converting fonts and colors, re-save the file under a new name. Don't simply resave the file under the original name. Once the text is converted to outlines, you can't edit it, and the colors will no longer be appropriate for other uses.

In the Save dialog box, choose Illustrator 3 format (this may show up as Illustrator 3.02 or similar) and give the file a PC-style name 8 characters, then a period, then "AI". Spaces, commas or more than the one period are verboten. In other words, XXXXXXXX.AI

Doing the Illustrator Two-Step taking care of fonts and colors won't make all the potential problems disappear, but it will prevent the majority of Mac-to-PC misfires.

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Preparing Mac Files for the PC (or Doin' The Illustrator Two-Step)
Last update 07 June, 2011