Workflow with Adobe Systems' Portable Document Format (PDF)
Adobe's Portable Document Format
(PDF) is anything but new but it is only now gaining momentum
in Design and Print houses. With Quark, Corel and Adobe pledging
continued support for this format, PDF is likely to become a
staple with designers and production crews alike. A completely
device-independent language, PDF will print on high end as well
as low budget printers - regardless of PostScript functionality
- to the highest achievable quality of the device.
in PS environment
As a part of the workflow, PDF
is invaluable to reducing file size and increasing portability.
Like .eps the PDF file contains printing information embedded
such as fonts and images so supplemental files are not needed.
An .eps file however is not page independent and outputs from
various applications differ widely. The PDF file also contains
a compression algorithm so the size of the resulting file is
reduced up to 80% of the eps output. What this means to a production
department is a reduction in the total time ripping files for
output. Working with a Xerox Fiery system the comparative times
for ripping a document were evident. The .eps took 5 minutes
to run through the queue and the PDF 35 seconds - an identical
file with identical printing results.
in PDF environment
In a typical post-script pre-press
environment the designer creates a file and outputs it to a
Post-script format. The postscript file is then handed off to
the production department - along with the images and fonts
to deal with. In a traditional production environment based
on PS files it was impossible to know what the last page of
a 100 document looked like without first processing the first
99 pages. It was also impossible to make last minute corrections
without sending the file back to the designer, who would have
to open the original file, make the corrections in the application
that created the file and then output the file again. With a
large multi-paged document this can be a very memory intensive
and time-consuming job. If the production dept. needs to correct
a simple punctuation mistake an up to date version of various
application software is needed. Then the file needs to be ripped
and finally outputted.
can open pdf files, (single pages at a time) edit, and resave
to pdf format
In a typical pre-press environment
based on the PDF format a designer creates a file and outputs
it to PDF format. This file can then be handed off to the production
department. There is no need to include font files with output
as the PDF file contains all the font knowledge imbedded in
the file. If a change needs to made to the file the production
department needs only a to open a single page of the document.
The library of applications the production department needs
is reduced from many to one. Times for ripping the file are
greatly reduced resulting in a much more manageable workflow
and reducing the load on internal networks.
What this means to the design department
is postscript results on a non-postscript printer or a manageable
file that can be sent directly to clients by email or disk for
proofing that can be viewed on-screen or printed in-house. If
the client has software that will edit a PDF file, they can
make changes directly to the document before sending the file
back to the designer.
can open pdf files (single page at a time) with plugin available
from adobe. To save changes, the file will need to be distilled.
One of the most revolutionary concepts
behind the adobe .pdf format is also what makes it attractive
to production and design departments. Instead of spending thousands
of dollars on software that will only allow the opening and
printing of proprietary files, the adobe reader program is distributed
freely and allows for both the viewing and printing of files.
Pages can also be added into exact position from document to
document by opening both documents and selecting the View Thumbnails
option. If there are no thumbnails saved, they can be created
through the Document menu. Stretch the window so that both the
page view and the pdf you wish to add the page to can be viewed.
Drag the thumbnails into position, moving from one document
to the other. Creating .pdf files can be accomplished through
Adobe Distiller, a program that comes free with selected Adobe
products and Adobe Acrobat, a tool for creating hyperlinked
and multimedia PDFs. Adobe Illustrator can also save and edit
PDF files and an upgraded plugin for PageMaker 6.5 allows for
the viewing and saving of PDF files. It should be noted that
both Illustrator and PageMaker only open a single page of the
PDF file at a time and when saving these edits file sizes are
application shipped with PageMaker you can create pdf files
printer and eps files from a variety of sources.
With Distiller and a PS driver
almost any program can be induced to create PDF files. By using
the Print to File option available on most application print
screens, the resulting file (.eps or prn) can, in most cases,
be run through the distiller to create a PDF file.