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PDF: The Cure for Dawdling Digital Files

(December 1999) posted on Tue Dec 14, 1999

Learn the basics of creating PDF files.

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By Mark A. Coudray

Acrobat Distiller For high-resolution graphics, the best approach is to use Acrobat Distiller, which is designed specifically to convert PostScript code into the most compact and efficient file possible. We can use Distiller in two ways. Using the first method, we convert the file to PostScript code by selecting the "Print to File" option in the print dialog window (an option available in all graphic-arts programs). Next, we open the PostScript file in Acrobat Distiller. We then convert it to a PDF document, selecting the Distiller options that will satisfy the specific job parameters we've established.


The second method requires more RAM and additional hard drive space. The specific amounts will depend on the size of file we're converting. If these conditions are met, we can distill directly from the graphics program, creating a PDF file and bypassing the "Print to File" step in the process.


It's important to note a few rules for working with Distiller. When converting to PDF, make sure that all images are in CMYK format, not RGB. Secondly, be aware that the default settings in Distiller are intended for a low-resolution (computer screen or Web) application. You will need to change the settings for your intended use. Like any job you would send to a service bureau, or your own imagesetter, good preflighting procedures will result in fewer problems down the road. Make sure that you are only using Type 1 or TrueType fonts. Embed all fonts in the graphic file to avoid substitution problems. Also make sure that Distiller can locate the necessary outline and printer fonts when it converts the file to PDF.


Acrobat Exchange Acrobat Exchange is used to view and perform limited editing functions on PDF files after conversion. Specifically, it contains the Touch-up tool, which allows for minor text editing within the document. If extensive editing is necessary, you will need to acquire one or more of the third party plug-ins available for this purpose, such as Crackerjack.



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