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Create a Preflight Droplet for Acrobat

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

I'm in charge of a group of designers who want to know if their PDF files will have problems at output time. I've showed them how to use Acrobat's Preflight feature, but it's too complex for them. Is there a simple solution?

Indeed, Acrobat's Preflight tools are powerful and complex. You can simplify their preflight tasks by creating a standalone droplet. Then, any PDF they drop onto it will be tested against specific project requirements. The file can even be automatically moved into a different folder and a report generated.

A few of the possibilities for a preflight droplet are:

  • List all images
  • List non CMYK objects
  • List text using non-embedded fonts
  • Document creates more than four plates
  • PDF/X-1a compliant
  • PDF/X-3 compliant
  • Magazine ads
  • Sheetfed offset
  • Web offset
  • List images below 250 ppi
  • Compatibility with Acrobat 3 (or 4, 5, 6 or 7)

To create a droplet, do this: In Acrobat 7 and earlier, choose Tools> Print Production> Preflight. In Acrobat 8, choose Advanced> Preflight. Click Options and choose Create Preflight Droplet.

Choose an appropriate preflight Profile from the pull-down menu labeled "Run Preflight Check Using", or create a new one by clicking the Edit button. Choose options for what Acrobat should do when a file passes the test or fails the test -- such as move it to a different folder. Click Settings to specify the details of the report. Click Save and choose a location for your new droplet.

When prompted to choose a report type, choose the default PDF report. This tells Acrobat to create a new PDF document that highlights any problems with your PDF.

You can copy these droplets to other computers, and as long as Acrobat is installed on them, your designers can simply drop their PDF files onto a droplet and see a report of what's inside!

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

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