The key here is to use the PostScript stage when converting Pages documents to PDF. Simple Export to PDF will not work with professional printers who use CMYK (four colour) separation.
- 'Print' Pages to PS
- launch Acrobat Distiller and process your PS files through Distiller
Acrobat Distiller has several settings. Choose Press Quality or Prepress, whichever settings are available in your version of Acrobat. Here is a summary of my settings which have given me consistently good results for over a year now:
- Under General set Resolution to 2400 dots per inch;These should give you CMYK ready PDFs and keep your printer happy.
- Under Images set Sampling off and resolution for color and grayscale to 300 pixels per inch and 1200 pixels for monochrome;
- Under Color: Settings file none, Color management policies: set to 'Convert All Colors to CMYK';
- Under Fonts: check Embed all fonts checkbox.
If you regularly use the same printer, I strongly suggest that you arrange a session with them to synchronise all your settings. It's easy to overlook a minor difference in settings which can result in serious problems at one of the later stages in the printing process.
Most printers use specialised computer service companies to fine-tune their machines and processes. Find out who they use, get in touch with them and ask them to run through your workflow and settings.
I also highly recommend Enfocus Pitstop software which works like an extended set of tools to Adobe Acrobat. It allows you to convert your PDFs to CMYK in one go and thoroughly check the prepress quality of your PDFs.
Nearly two years ago I described a different process of creating press quality PDFs using Colorsync in an article on this blog . The Colorsync process worked great for me in the early stages of my project and allowed to produce good quality PDFs. However, with the iWork/Pages version 3 (2008) I found that there is no need for it. It is enough to Print a Pages document to PostScript and process it through Acrobat Distiller with Press Quality settings to create a CMYK separated PDF.
A linked list of other articles dealing with CMYK and PDF on this blog is here.
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