Monday, April 04, 2011

PDF Settings for Professional Printhshops and a Few Tips

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 (Acrobat Pro 7):

- Under General set Resolution to 2400 dots per inch;
- 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.
These should give you CMYK ready PDFs and keep your printer happy.

This is an excerpt from the longer article 'From Pages to CMYK PDFs'. I am republishing it in short version just to give the settings.

A few additional tips:

- If you are planning to use a professional (commercial) printshop for your project, arrange for a visit to sync your settings with them.
- If that is not practical, send them a test sample of your PDF to check that it's ok.
- Always ask for press-ready proofs, especially for larger projects such as books or magazines, preferably on paper, but surely in PDF form.
- It is not difficult to produce press-quality PDFs from iWork/Pages. But avoid getting into too much technical detail, decide early at what stage your work is finished and you hand it over to others. You may find a printer who would take the Pages document and convert them for you. Or 'print' your Pages project to PostScript and take PostScript files to the printer.
- Avoid those who tell you Pages can't be used for professional printing, they can. 
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  1. please can you help, I have been asked to convert my text to path on the doc I exported to pdf from pages, any suggestions?

  2. you mean export so that it is in DOC format?

  3. No the O.P. is asking how to convert all text to vectors.

    This is not possible in Pages, but you can do it via pdf and a drawing program like Illustrator or Acrobat Pro.

    Frankly I would not use any Printer who demands this. The Printer may have a very old RIP or very old workflow.

    pdf files form Macs reliably embed all fonts and as fonts they retain all hints which are lost when converted to vector outlines.

  4. Anonymous5:25 am

    sorry not as savy as most... but when you say under general... where is general... can't seem to find it...

    1. I am talking about Acrobat (not Reader, but full version). When you open settings dialogue there are several tabs, sections, including General.

  5. Anonymous5:17 am

    Hello...Love your you have any hints as to how to include trim and bleed marks in a pdf made through pages....I am really struggling to do this for an urgent project. Thanks and best wishes, Ingrid. PS. Thanks so much for your tips re. CMYK from pages through PS....fabulous tip.

    1. Ingrid, hi, thanks for joining me on facebook.
      Pages don't have trim and bleed marks as tools. But you may find that these days printers don't need them so long as the quality of the pdf is sufficiently good.
      If you process your Pages documents through Acrobat yourself there is an option 'Add trim marks' and other pre-printing options (registration marks, clor bars etc.) under tools (depends on your version of the programme).
      If not, just make sure that every page of your project has at least one repeating element with exactly the same vertical position and the same horizontal position on each left and each right page. Look at the Pages user's manual, it has a vertical bar (line) next to the page number. That's one element against which printers can align pdfs when assembling them for their presses.
      Hope this helps.


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