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Chapter SIX. Printing > TIP 47: Print Troubleshooting 101

TIP 47: Print Troubleshooting 101

These troubleshooting tips won't state the obvious, such as telling you to check whether your printer has paper or that it's turned on. However, I will offer some basic tips and hints that you may find handy in times of stress (usually one minute before a deadline!) If you're having trouble printing a PDF:

  • Rewrite the file. Choose File > Save As, and resave the file as itself (don't change the name, and click OK when prompted to overwrite the existing file). I usually save it as itself so I don't get confused by storing multiple copies of the same document. Each time you save a PDF file, it actually saves a version of itself. When you choose Save As and resave it as a PDF, it overwrites all the stored versions, sometimes clearing a stored problem.

    Don't Print Everything

    In a pinch, you can try printing the file in sections. You may find the printing problem comes from one object on one page, and that single error could prevent the document from printing. Once you isolate the problem, you might have to re-create a page, but that is much simpler than starting over.

  • Print the file as an image. Sometimes a document won't print because of errors in interpreting the text or font information. If you print as an image, font and text information isn't required. In the bottom left of the Print dialog, you'll see the Advanced button (Figure 47a). Click this button to open the Advanced Print Setup dialog, and then select the Print As Image option (Figure 47b). You'll note that the Settings option switches from Acrobat Default to Custom when you click the Print As Image check box. Click OK to close the dialog, and then click OK to try printing again.

    Figure 47a. Click the Advanced button to open the Advanced Print Setup dialog.

    Figure 47b. You can print any document as an image; choose from a range of resolutions.

  • Re-create the PDF file using a different method; for example, if you originally converted the file using PDFMaker, try again using Acrobat Distiller. Sometimes I have had luck converting a file from within Acrobat that didn't work correctly when originally converted from within Word.


    If you run into printing problems, click Printing Tips at the bottom left of the Print dialog to open Adobe's print troubleshooting document—an excellent and comprehensive reference.

  • If you are using a PostScript printer, you can set the printer to display printing errors. Check your printer's documentation. Check that the PostScript Printer Description (PPD) file is up to date, and that you are using the PPD file recommended by the printer manufacturer.

  • If you are using a Web file, download the PDF again and try printing once more.

  • In a layered document, merge or flatten the layers in the PDF file to determine if a layer is causing the printing issue. To preserve your original, save the document with another name after flattening layers.

  • If the document you are trying to print has color separations, print a composite of the document to see if a color plate is causing the problem



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