- Before we start examining the Preflight features in Acrobat Pro DC, I thought it might be helpful to have an overview of the concept of Preflight and how Acrobat thinks about it. The term Preflight actually originated in aeronautics. It refers to the checklist that a pilot consults as an airplane is being prepared for takeoff. It makes sense that a pilot would want to ensure that the plane is ready. In printing, Preflight is the process of checking files to ensure that they're set up correctly for the press. As you might expect, finding and fixing a problem early in the life of a job could certainly be less expensive than discovering that problem later on, when the job is on press.
Acrobat's approach to Preflight consists of three components. First, analysis. It checks a PDF using defined rules. A Preflight profile's rules could include multiple instructions though. For example, a Preflight profile might check for the use of spot colors and the resolution of images and the minimum size for text. Once that analysis is completed, the process will generate a report, it gives you a list of the problems that were found. A single heck is useful if you want to perform a quick analysis of a file, looking for just one anticipated problem.
For example, you might want to examine a folder full of files from a client who always submits jobs containing spot colors, even though all of her jobs are printed in four color process. Fixups are little routines that can repair problems such as artwork lines that are too thin or extraneous spot colors. Now, a Preflight profile might consist just of analysis or it might also contain fixups. So, Preflight in Acrobat isn't just about finding problems, it can also include repairs.
Acrobat ships with a huge offering of prebuilt profiles. You'll probably find that many of them work just as they are. However, you can also create your own custom profiles by combining functions in a modular fashion. Some print service providers create custom profiles geared to their particular workflow and encourage clients to use those profiles to check PDFs before submitting them for print. If you receive PDFs from your own clients, you might consider creating a customer profile, exporting it and then encouraging the client to use that profile so that they can check their own work before sending files to you.
Of course, the client will need Acrobat Pro DC. The free Acrobat Reader doesn't perform Preflight, and neither does Acrobat Standard DC. If you'd like to automate the Preflight process, you can create what's called a droplet. Now, this is just a standalone operation that contains a Preflight profile that you designate. And then you can drop files or even entire folders onto a droplet for processing. It's a great way to speed up performing Preflight in a production environment. Now, let's take a look at the Preflight panel in Acrobat.
First, Preflight is available as part of the Print Production toolset. So, I'm gonna add the Print Production tools to my right hand pane, so that all of those tools are readily available. By the way, you don't have to have a a file open to view the Preflight offerings. To add the Print Production tools, I'll just go to Tools, scroll down to Print Production, and then click Add. And there you can see it's been added to the right hand pane. When I click on that, all of these options are grayed out because I don't have a document open. But Preflight is still active.
So, I'll click on Preflight, and there you have it, the Preflight panel. And initially, I want to call your attention to these three little square icons at the top. Those correspond to those three components I mentioned earlier: analysis, single check, and fixups. This first little icon is for analysis. The second one is for single checks, and the third one is for fixups. So, let's look at some quick examples of each component. Under the analysis, I could ask it to check for version compatibility, is it compatible with Acrobat 3 or 6 or 7? I could ask it to see if it's compliant with something like a PDF/X standard, such as PDF/X-1a.
Now, you might notice, that these icons look a little bit different from one to the other. The ones with just a little magnifying glass are just analysis. Verify compliance with PDF/X-4 for example. The ones that have a little magnifying glass and a little wrench are Preflight profiles that also incorporate a fixup, and the names kind of tell the story here. Convert to PDF/X-1a, so what this would do is analyze a file, see if it already meets PDF/X-1a standard requirements, and then if it doesn't, if it can, it will convert it to PDF/X-1a.
Then let's take a quick look at single checks, for example, Colors. We'd want to make sure that there's nothing that's black and set to knock out. We don't want any black text that's smaller than 12 points that isn't set to overprint and so forth. And, you can see, this is a nice big long list, and that's what I meant when I said you'll probably find that what you already need is probably part of what ships with Acrobat. Then let's take a look at the fixups. So, a fixup could include something like converting all spot colors to CMYK.
Even converting color to black and white, so these are little repair jobs. So, that's a very quick look at what's really a very complex panel, at least given its number of offerings. So, it's a quick overview, and as we go through this course, we're going to dig deeper into each aspect of Preflight, as well as all the other very useful Print Produciton tools.
Fortunately, Acrobat Pro DC offers extensive tools for analyzing a PDF and determining its suitability for print. In this course, Claudia McCue helps you get the most from these tools, including preflight profiles, the Output Preview options, flattening, page boxes, and printer marks. She also explains the pros and cons of editing content in Acrobat vs. the original authoring applications, and shows how to manage color with the Ink Manager and the Convert Color function. After watching this course, you'll be able to use Acrobat Pro DC to find and fix many common problems before you go to print.
- Analyzing a document
- Using single checks
- Creating and using custom preflight profiles
- Choosing the correct PDF standard for print
- Using Output Preview options
- Editing vectors, images, and text in PDFs
- Controlling page boxes to crop a PDF
- Adding printer marks
- Using Ink Manager
- Creating trap presets
- Converting to PDF with Acrobat Distiller