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Chapter Two. How to Create PDF Files for Prepress

Chapter Two. How to Create PDF Files for Prepress

Few things in life are easy, so why should creating PDF files for prepress be any different? The good news is, there's a multitude of ways to go about the task; the bad news is, it can be difficult to sort through all the options. Should you choose PDF from Illustrator's Save As dialog box, or should you use the Create Adobe PDF option in the Print dialog box (new in Acrobat 5.0)? And if you're a Windows-based designer, what about that Convert to Adobe PDF button that appears in your Microsoft applications now that you've upgraded to Acrobat 5.0? You'll find the answers to all of these excellent questions and more in this chapter.

You can produce PDF files for prepress in three basic ways: Print them from an authoring application, export them from an authoring application, or distill them manually. Because each alternative has advantages and disadvantages, this chapter will first describe how the various procedures work and then tell you how to execute them in some of the most common authoring applications. By the time we're finished, you should be able to produce a PDF file that your prepress partner won't kick right back to you. (There are other ways to create PDF files, but you'll want to avoid them when your files are destined for four-color or offset printing. See “How NOT to Create PDF Files for Prepress,” page 31.) Speaking of prepress partners, talk to your service providers before you start sending them PDF files. Really. They may not want you to provide composite PDF files; instead, they may want the raw PostScript or an application file so that they can distill the files. (They may not even use a PDF or PostScript workflow, but if that's the case, you may want to work with them to develop one.) The best-case scenario would be for them to provide you with the Distiller job settings optimized for their imaging hardware and RIPs—this could save you tons of guesswork, aggravation, and time.


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