26 October 2006
If you only print a dozen or so copies of your work, you can print straight from Pages to printer.Larger print-runs require working with professional printers. Most, Mac or Windows based, will take your work in PDF format.
Pages provide several options to produce PDFs. However, not all are suitable for professional print shops. One difficulty to overcome is CMYK colour separation. For instance, 'Export to PDF' option under File menu will give you PDFs that look okay on screen, but will not break into four colours needed for professional printing.
One efficient way of preparing Pages files is by using the ColourSync utility. On its own it is in Applications - Utilities folder. But you launch it through 'Print' dialogue window.
1. In your Page document go File - Print. Print dialogue window opens.
2. Click on the third pop-down menu bar (by default it starts with 'Copies & Pages'.) Go down to ColorSync (fifth option down in Pages 2).
3. In ColorSync dialogue second pop-down menu bar is called 'Quartz Filter'. Click on it and go down to 'Add filters...' ColorSync launches and a Preview pdf of your document opens after a few seconds. In the top left corner of the Preview there is an icon with red, green and blue filters. Click on it.
4. 'Filters' dialogue window opens. Click on the triangle next to the third option 'Create Generic PDFX-3 Document'. At the bottom of the window click on + to create a new filter which will be your configurations choice for producing PDFs for printers. 'Untitled' option appears at the bottom of the list.
5. Double click on it to change the name of the option. Click on the little triangle to the right of the 'Untitled' and a choice of option opens. Go down to 'Add PDF retouch component' and when options open choose PDF/X-3.
6. Click on the little triangle to the left of your 'Untitled' and you will see that a new 'Create PDF/X-3' submenu has been added.
7. Click on the little triangle to the left and a choice of PDF settings appears. Now here, on the fourth line you have 'Destination Profile' drop-down menu. If you choose 'Generic CMYK' you can start producing PDFs already colour separated for professional printers. Next, go further down to 'Flatten Transparency'. By default it is checked and resolution is set at 72 dpi. That is good enough for the internet and for e-mailing pdfs. But for professional printing, especially for larger runs that can't be handled by digital printers (here in Normandy it is normally upwards from 500 copies,) you need a much higher definition. 300 DPI gives good results. I print on glossy magazine paper, so I set my DPI to 2400.
8. Next step: click on your preview pdf, at the bottom left there is a choice of filters - a drop-down menu bar. Click on it and you will see your 'Untitled' at the bottom of the menu. Go down to it and click 'Apply' on the right.
9. Close Filters dialogue window, close preview, and go back to your Pages document. Click Print under File menu and in Print dialogue window go to ColorSync again. Click on the Quartz Filter menu bar and you will see that the 'Untitled' filter with your PDF settings sits there.
10. Now, follow the Print - Save as PostScript - Create PDF route, but in a slightly modified way:
- Open Print dialogue;
- Choose ColorSync and set Quartz Filter to yours - e.g. 'Untitled'.
- Under PDF menu choose 'Save as PostScript'
- Launch Acrobat (or drag the PS file onto the Acrobat icon) and 'Create PDF from file' under Document menu or Open the PS file under File menu.
Changing PDF settings allows you to prepare ready CMYK converted files for printers, and it gives you control over output quality of your project. One problem that I had been struggling with was the text blur when wrapping tightly around graphic objects. The blurring of text becomes totally unacceptable when you ad shadows to objects. Increasing DPI definition solved that problem.
It may look cumbersome, but, mind, you only have to adjust your PDF settings once to find what best suits you, and then it's just sliding down to ColorSync and clicking on your settings.