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One of the most useful tools in the Print Production pantheon--did you like that?-- is the Fix Hairlines tool right here. Before we go into it though, let me help you out. If you're not seeing Print Production, you can get to it by going to your Tools Panel menu right here, and choosing Print Production, so you can see all these tools. It's not enabled by default. Okay, so what these Fix Hairlines do, and what is a hairline in the first place? A hairline is a print industry term for a very thin line or rule.
Sometimes, hairlines can be too thin, and they won't show up when they are actually on press. It's a very common mistake to happen, because a lot of people are just dragging outlines onscreen and then scaling them and not paying attention to what's happening as they scale the lines. So the screen will always show the line. It will make the line disappear, right? It'll always be at least one pixel wide. But sometimes when it's actually printed, it's less than that, so the printer can't print it. So, this will go through and look for hairlines, narrower than or equal to a certain measure, and then fix them-- actually, replace them with a thicker line.
So let's take a look at this document, for example. It might not be obvious from the get-go where is the problem lying, but if you zoom in closely and hold down the Ctrl and the Spacebar to get the temporarily Zoom tool, or Command+Spacebar in a Mac-- I'm just going to drag a little selection rectangle at the upper left-hand corner-- you can see how this line does not match this line. Let's say that we wanted this line to match this line. What we could do is use Fix Hairlines, and I am more of a points person than an inches person when I'm working with the printing.
So I'll just say find a line that is less than half of a point, 0.5, and replace it with a half of point, because I believe that this is a half of point. So you can say all pages in document, or the current page, or a page range, and then click OK. Are you sure you want to do it, because you can't undo. Well, of course, you could always like close the document without saving your changes. So you don't need to worry about that too much. There you go--nice and fixed. Even though this wasn't a hairline per se, it's a really nice way of being able to change the width of certain lines.
But let me show you an actual hairline problem. I have a document opened called Two Trees Business Card. Here is something that typically happens is that the designer lays out the business card, has some beautiful artwork, places the artwork, and then scales it down. Now I happen to know that the original artwork of these two olives on the olive branch is about a letter-size page. This is a business card, which is about 2 inches x 3 inches. So this was scaled down a lot. And when you scale an image down in Word, or PowerPoint, or InDesign, or QuarkXPress for that matter, it always scales everything down, including line widths.
If we zoom in closely here--again with Command or Ctrl+Spacebar--and drag, these lines are extremely thin. So we're going to use our friend, Fix Hairlines, to actually bring any line that is less than a hairline to a hairline's width. Now in the US, we are typically using .125 of a point as the lowest amount of width that a line can hold. That is called a hairline. So we're going to again switch the units to points. I'll put in .125.
So any line that is less than an eighth of the point, please make it an eight of the point. It might be difficult to see a change, but keep your eye on this line and this line here, and click OK. You can see they got a little bit thicker. And so they're still nice, and thin, and delicate, as the designer wanted, but at least they'll print. So that is the job of Fix Hairlines. It's just a one-trick pony, but it's often just exactly the pony that you need.
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