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Preflighting

PDF is, in one sense, a pre-preflighted file format: Although it can be separated and printed in a number of ways, it represents an already-structured file containing normalized PostScript, which means it provides a more reliable foundation for turning onscreen pixels into ink on paper than do application files. In fact, it's not uncommon for prepress operators to convert application files to PDF in order to troubleshoot them even if they ultimately plan to convert them to PostScript, EPS, or some other format for processing.

Whatever the case, the PDF file itself still needs to be preflighted. Prepress providers shouldn't make any assumptions about the quality of a file even if it opens and appears to display correctly onscreen. Failure to assess problems up front can lead to wasted time and materials, not to mention costly bottlenecks if plates or film can't be rasterized from the electronic data—costs that are likely to be charged back to you as content creator. Even worse, errors can make it onto the printed page, and you may find you lose a client.


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