Handing off finalized content to the press in the form of a high-resolution PDF is a common step in print workflows.
Such a press-ready PDF file typically includes information relevant to high-quality printing—spot color data, fonts, trapping parameters, and overprint settings. Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Distiller users often wonder what settings they should choose while generating press-ready PDFs. The purpose of this blog post is to ease that dilemma.
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The pictures looked amazing on your computer monitor, but the printouts failed to reproduce that brilliance. You tweak a few settings and customize them to match the desired output. However, after a few prints, you realize that the permutations and combinations you applied, although apparently working, do not match the desired quality.
If you know your print environment well and are conversant with Distiller, you can start pretty much anywhere and start adding and subtracting job parameters. For beginners, though, the various settings offered can be overwhelming. Acrobat ships with several preinstalled JobOptions that you can use.
These settings are suitable for different use cases and have a direct impact on the size of the PDF file created. Using this table, you can make educated decisions about which JobOptions setting to pick for your files.
Check your document before exporting
When the files are heading out for high-resolution printing, you could use one of the commercial printing options. High-Quality Print leaves the color unchanged.
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High-Quality Print was created for high-quality desktop printers rather than actual offset print production environments. Also, they may not preserve ICC color profiles. It also sets color working spaces. They flatten your file and prevent you from editing any transparency that was present earlier.
For a PDF to be good enough for printing as a poster, it must preserve high resolution as well as high color quality.
About PDF print publishing tools
Often, posters are printed on devices that support more than just CMYK colorants. It is desirable that such PDFs retain any transparency and all colors, rendering inadequate the JobOptions settings we discussed so far.
If your source file is an Illustrator document, ensure that images in it are linked and not embedded. Illustrator converts embedded images to CMYK—something we do not want.
However, save the file from within Illustrator instead of exporting it from InDesign. Save the file as PDF from within Photoshop instead of exporting it. Assuming that you have Acrobat DC installed, do the following:. This should work OK for most printing scenarios unless the file contains transparency groups with RGB transparency blend color space specifications.
Before we get started
Such transparency groups can cause havoc during printing. To fix this issue, you need to run a Preflight fixup to remove these transparency blend color space specifications.
After this fix-up, any reasonable print service provider or print shop should be able to print the file without problems.
All you can do is click the Create PDF button and specify where you want to place the file. The kernels in the DFEs get updated on a regular basis to keep up with standards developments and other changes in market requirements, such as broader support of file types, color management, trapping, imposition, and more.
The more you experiment with them, the better your prints become.
Create a print-ready PDF
Once you have made the required changes to the file, perform a final check by running preflight in Acrobat. The preflight will highlight unembedded fonts, transparent objects, low-resolution images in the PDF file, and other similar issues.
You might want to fix these issues prior to submitting your work. Once fixed, your PDF is press-ready. Share the post "Optimal settings to create print-ready PDFs".
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Set the output intent to whatever print condition is expected. Otherwise, leave it at the default value. Color, grayscale, and monochrome images should be downsampled to combine pixels in a sample area to make one larger pixel.
Illustrator If your source file is an Illustrator document, ensure that images in it are linked and not embedded. Happy printing!