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This has probably happened to you, you've received your PDF and it has these white lines in it. So you can see above my cursor there's this white line that looks like a gap, and you can see a little bit down here and one on the left. So I'm going to tell you that that white line is not going to image when this job goes to press. And I'm going to explain to you why it's there. First, I want you to take a look at this pinwheel on the right and this text. They look nice and smooth, don't they? That's because they are vector art, you know that vector art is always going to print smoothly.
I'm going to go to my Preferences, now on Windows it's going to be under Edit > Preferences, and in the left-hand column choose Page Display. Notice this Smooth Line Art. This is an option that's on by default. When I uncheck it, and I click OK, hey, my white lines are gone, that's great. Oh! But now my vector art looks really pixelated. So here is what's going on. Acrobat by default wants to smooth line art and make it look nice on screen; wants it to look the way it's going to image. But why it makes the white line? Well, it's a little bit more complex.
I'm going to go back to Preferences, turn that default setting back on, and we see the white line return. This job uses transparency. You can see the glow around the guy, and coming out of InDesign when this PDF was made it was set to Acrobat 4. It is a PDF/X-1a file. Acrobat 4 doesn't support live transparency, so InDesign has to sort of take the file apart and reassemble it in a form that is understood by these older workflows. So the white lines are where little segments touch each other, so it's had to sort of cut apart that purple background and reassemble it.
They touch each other; there's no gap. But what's happening is that Acrobat is trying to soften that intersection where those two pieces touch, and it's doing the same thing that it's doing around the vector artwork on the right-hand page. So it's trying to make things look better but one of the unfortunate side effects is that you see this illusion of white lines. And I say illusion because it's not going to print. So just know in your heart everything is fine, but here's another thing to consider. If you're sending a PDF to a client, you don't want them to see those white lines because you'll have to go through this big long explanation, have them change their settings, and that's really annoying.
So if you're using transparency in InDesign or in Illustrator for that matter, when you go to make a PDF to send to a customer just for approval, make it Acrobat 5 or above because those versions support live transparency, there's no flattening that takes place, and they'll see no artifacts onscreen and then you won't have to explain to them. But if you're submitting the PDF/X-1a file, which is Acrobat 4 flavored, to the printer, just know that even though you see these lines onscreen, they're just a display artifact in Acrobat; they are not something that's going to image on your job.
So now you know where they come from and you know how to hide them.
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