A Trick for Printing Troublesome PDFs

Answered by Jay Nelson, Editor and Publisher, Design Tools Monthly

We often receive PDFs that simply won't print. And sometimes our clients complain that the PDFs, other than "spend $700 to buy Pitstop Professional and learn to use it"?

One thing to try when a PDF won't print is to select "Print As Image" in the Advanced section of the Print dialog box in Acrobat 6/7/8. (In Acrobat 5, it's in the Print Method pop-up menu in the Print dialog box.) This fixes many problems when printing to printers and RIPs that use a "clone" of PostScript instead of licensed PostScript from Adobe.

One example of PDFs that cause problems are those created directly by Adobe InDesign CS/CS2, rather than processed through Distiller. It turns out that when exporting a PDF, some versions of InDesign convert fonts to a "Double Byte CID" format that is not supported by many PostScript clones.

QuarkXPress can also create PDFs that are perfectly acceptable by true Adobe PostScript RIPs, but that may use operators that trip up PostScript clones.

Enabling "Print As Image" tells Acrobat to convert each page of the PDF into a bitmap image and then send it to the printer. Of course, this slows down the printing process because a huge file is then sent to the printer, but it's better than having no print at all!

Also, be sure to turn off that setting the next time you print -- sometimes Acrobat keeps "Print As Image" turned on for all subsequent print jobs until you turn it off again. Wouldn't you think that Adobe would make the opposite behavior be the default? Oh well...

This question was answered by Jay Nelson, Publisher & Editor, Design Tools Monthly. We love DTM's tips and advice and think you till too. For a free sample PRINTED issue, contact Design Tools Monthly at 303-543-8400, e-mail info@design-tools.com, or go to their website: www.design-tools.com.
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