Trumbull, CT – Today, Portable Document Format (PDF) files are used more than ever, and the architecture/engineering/construction (AEC) market is no exception. Because Adobe Reader software is freely available for every computer, PDF has become the ubiquitous file format for electronically distributing, viewing and printing all types of data and information. In fact, most reprographers cite PDF files as being the most common file type received from their customers.
However, not all PDF files are the same. Since the introduction of Adobe Acrobat software, Adobe has created numerous versions of Acrobat software and PDF files, adding new features and expanding functionality. Creating and printing PDF files without an understanding of all their nuances can create challenges and delays.
Below, Océ, a leading international provider of digital document management technology and services, outlines key considerations to help AEC professionals take the mystery out of wide format PDF printing.
Familiarize Yourself with the Most Common PDF Problems
Multiple editions of Adobe Acrobat have lead to a variety of PDF file versions, which in turn create challenges to ensuring print accuracy. Layers of transparencies (i.e. when two or more objects in a document overlap), missing fonts and poorly defined page boxes are the most common problems that affect processing speed and printing accuracy.
The use of color and how the color is defined also impacts processing time and the final printed output. While most engineering and architectural drawings are created in color, many are still printed in black and white. Problems can arise when color is converted to grayscale. For example, the color yellow might be very visible on a monitor but will become a very faint gray when printed in black and white. For on screen viewing, RGB color is appropriate; however, color printers typically use CMYK inks or toners, potentially causing colors to change during the conversion process.
Understanding the issues that can impact the printing of PDF documents can help AEC professionals be better equipped to handle them.
Understand the Nuances of Each PDF Printing Method
Since the method used to print PDF files can affect the final output, it is important to understand each method's unique characteristics.
Application/Printer Driver Method
Requires two pieces of software in order to print a PDF file – Application software that can open and view the PDF file and Print Driver software used to convert documents into a printable format. Both work together to convert the PDF into a language the printer can understand.
Adobe Acrobat software flattens any transparencies in the file, giving the printer a complete file that should print correctly.
Using this method, there is no easy way to handle batch printing of multiple PDF files.
Direct PDF Printing
Submits PDF files directly to the printer, where the file is then converted using a PostScript interpreter or processor. No Printer Driver is required.
Offers flexibility by giving users the ability to batch print multiple PDF files in one job.
Adobe PostScript software can only process specific versions of PDF files using this method as not all PDF files are supported.
Anything created with Acrobat 7 software or later has the potential to have issues with direct PDF printing.
Not all printers support this method.
Utilize PDF Printing Solutions
As PDF printing continues to gain in popularity, it is important for AEC professionals to understand how to best use the software and identify problems or issues before documents are printed and distributed.
To learn more about how AEC professionals can improve their PDF printing, download the Océ whitepaper "PDF Printing Explained for the AEC Market" at www.oceusa.com/PDF4AEC.