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Unless you're in the printing industry, you may not realize that Acrobat is the primary application that people who work at printers in the department called Prepress use to make sure that the files that are about to be printed will print correctly. PDF is the standard format for these kind of files. So if you're a designer, you're not really sending your live InDesign, or Word, or Publisher, files to their printer; you're exporting them to PDF and then sending the press-ready PDF to your printer. Or even if your printer is asking for the native files, just in case you did something wrong, which of course you wouldn't, otherwise only people who don't go to lynda.com make mistakes.
They will take your native file, and they will convert it to PDF and then run it through various checks in Acrobat. So there are a whole bunch of tools built into Adobe Acrobat that are specifically for prepress, meaning before they go on a printing press, to check various things like colors, and printer's marks, and resolution of images--things like that. They're not showing by default in Acrobat X. To see them, you need to go to the Tools Panel menu right here, and choose Print Production--that's where they are hiding--and then you could just whole new dropdown of all these cool tools.
Now in this video, I'm actually going to give you a brief synopsis of what each of these tools does, just in case you're curious. We are not going to go into a lot of detail at all in any of them, but in the other videos in this chapter, I will go into some amount of detail on some of the more commonly used ones, things that you might want to use, even if you're not working in prepress at a big, huge commercial printer. So starting from the top, Acrobat Distiller used to be sold as a separate program. For the past few versions it's been part of Adobe Acrobat, and if you click it, it'll open up the small mini program that actually converts PostScript files and EPS files to PDF files.
Distiller is hardly ever used these days because most programs have it built-in. Like in Microsoft Word, the PDFMaker, that whole Ribbon there--that's actually Distiller, all right. Or in Adobe InDesign, when you export to PDF, it's using Distiller in the background. So it's not used that often. Output Preview is a big, fat dialog box. It has lots of tools for looking at a PDF to preview any kind of issues. It doesn't really fix anything; it just helps you look at specific things. Preflight is a monster of a dialog box. It doesn't look so monstrous at first glance. But it has a ton of little programs built-in that can check and correct, in other words it can modify a PDF to fix things.
Like it can convert color to grayscale, it can do all sorts of PDF fix-ups and prepress things, and create layers, as you can see. It also has a Standards panel that we will be talking about that will let you save it in a press-ready standard format. That's what the whole Preflight dialog box is about. It comes from preflighting, like when you're going to fly a jet airplane. Before the pilots take off, they go through a check list of things to check to make sure that everything is cool before they are up in the air. And that's what a lot of people do before you send a job out to a very expensive press is they make a bunch of checks of the document to make sure all the fonts are there, the pictures are there, and so on.
That's what the Preflight dialog box helps you do. Trap Presets are just to create something called trapping, which is when two colors abut, in case things slip on press to make sure there is no white gaps in between things. Very technical. You'll never need to use that. Convert Colors is pretty cool. It lets you convert colors, believe it or not. Yes, it's true. The Ink Manager gives you fine-tuned control over the actual inks that are going to be used on press, the primary process inks plus any spot color inks. Set Page Boxes is actually the Crop tool, which I talked about before, just that when you're in Prepress you use Set Page Boxes a lot to do things like add extra room for bleeds--things like that.
Once you've added extra rooms for bleeds then you might want to add printer's marks, trim marks, crop marks. Sometimes a designer will export a document to PDF but forget to include printer's marks, which printers really need when you print it out, in order to be able align things up correctly on press. Fix Hairlines is a nice little fix-up that I guess is so commonly in need of fixing that they created a special tool just for this, and we'll be looking at that in a different video. A hairline is a very thin line or rule on a page, but sometimes if it's too thin, it will just disappear completely once it's printed.
So this will make sure that that doesn't happen. The Flattener Preview is a very large dialog box that shows you live transparency on the page, and what things will be effected by live transparency-- a little bit beyond the purview of our video. And finally JDF Job Definitions, these are kind of like files that go along, or they are included in a PDF, embedded in a PDF, that help the workflow. It describes like binding requirements and what job identity and all sorts of information.
So if you're using a JDF job workflow, then this is very useful to you. And that's it. That was the fastest tour of all the Print production tools that I have ever heard, and now if you'd like to learn more about them, I encourage you to watch the other videos in this chapter.
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