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12,477 Views 17 Replies Last post: Sep 9, 2011 5:16 AM by cathyd RSS
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Level 5 14,253 posts since
Sep 5, 2009
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Feb 20, 2011 12:11 PM

How can I create a PDF?

Re:  https://www.createspace.com/en/community/docs/DOC-1331  "Creating a PDF for Print"

 

Many members have problems with converting to PDF, and most do not have Acrobat Pro. In terms of the PDF presets (high quality, press quality, PDF/X, PDF/A) and printing, Laurel and CreateSpace are  inconsistent and wrong.

 

Lighthouse’s advice from post to post to use Acrobat Pro and to use PDF/X-1a is the best, the simplest, most reliable, easiest to remember. It obviates many problems that can arise from a careless or inattentive workflow. By flattening and converting various color spaces to one, several common member problems are resolved.

 

Note: assuming the original files are not corrupted, creating a good, useable PDF in Word and OpenOffice, or from Word files with most of the free conversion programs is usually easy and reliable. The CreateSpace article gives this an arcane and confusing feel. Of course, we could pay CS to make our conversion PDFs! (The publish pages have changed, downplaying how to do it yourself, and playing up CS services.)

 

What concerns me is the admonition:

“Avoid any other types of PDF (for example, PDF-A), as they are not intended for print production.”  Laurel repeats it three times.

 

In Word and OpenOffice, the best choice for creating a PDF is: 1) Word— Standard > ISO 19005-1 (PDF/A)  in Word; 2) OpenOffice—Export as PDF > PDF/A-1a.

CreateSpace is, however, telling people not to use this conversion mode:

 

Is there something inherent in the CreateSpace prepress and printing processes that makes PDF/A something to be “avoided”? If so, CreateSpace should tell us what.

 

Most of the PDF related complaints in the forum are:

  • fonts do not embed
  • the output/PDF size is wrong
  • transparency (
  • inconsistencies in type density/black/inconsistent color spaces

 

High Quality

Press Quality

PDF/A

PDF/X

Recommended   by CS

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Embed   fonts

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Output   size/trim size is wrong

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Flattens   multilayered image files

No

No (?)

No (?)

Yes

Color   spaces

No

No

No

Yes

 

If  CreateSpace can recommend High Quality, which Adobe recommends for desktop printing, there is no reason not recommend PDF/A, which is much more common and in many cases the best choice for creating a print-ready PDF.

 

Basically, that’s my reply. Details and references follow.

 

Walton

Mechanics & Punctuation free, 20 page guide to everything punctuation Build Your Book free 98 page guide to designing your book Contact for graphics, design, and typesetting help  GIMP tutorials, GIMP, GIMP Help, excerpts from GIMP Supremacy

 

 

 

 

PDF/A was developed for long term document preservation: that is all characteristics of the original document (text, fonts, formatting, graphics, etc.) would be preserved.

http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/formats/fdd/fdd000125.shtml   LoC document

 

PDF/X developed to address certain prepress graphics issues but it shares many features with PDF/A.

http://www.digitalpreservation.gov/formats/fdd/fdd000124.shtml   LoC document

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_Document_Format   cited by LoC as a good reference

 

 

Here are the major differences between PDF/A and PDF/X (from <http://www.callassoftware.com/callas/doku.php/en:support:knowledge:faqs_pdfa_pdfx>):

 

PDF/A

PDF/X

Trapped settings: whether or not   the PDF has been trapped

optional

required

Page geometry specifications, in particular for TrimBox

optional

required

Comments and form fields in page areas that are to be printed

permitted

forbidden

JBIG2 (compression procedure for bitmap   image data)

permitted

forbidden

If certain metadata is contained in the document information,   that metadata must also be contained in the XMP metadata in its equivalent form.

required

not required

Invisible text is often used for scanned pages to give a scanned page image text that can be used for OCR text recognition.

PDF/A does not require fonts that are used only for   invisible text to be embedded.

PDF/X requires the general   embedding of fonts, even for invisible text.

An output intent specifies the output   purpose for a PDF   file. Examples: A   specific printing process such as sheet-fed   offset on coated paper,   printing on a specific type of digital printer, or output on the screen.

With PDF/A, if there are two (or   more) output intents, their target profiles must   be identical.

 

PDF/A, the output intent is optional – it is only required if device-dependent process   color spaces (for example,   DeviceCMYK or DeviceRGB) are used in the PDF/A document. If this   is the case, the output intent serves to   describe the color characterization of the device-dependent color specification

PDF/X always requires an output   intent

 

For PDF/X, the output intent must refer to the intended   printing method. An output intent for the screen   – for example, via   sRGB, is not allowed.

 

Most of these differences are irrelevant to most CS members and their books. And, if High Quality is good, what reason would there be not to use PDF/A?

 

From http://partners.adobe.com/public/asn/en/print_resource_center/AC7_PrintingGuide.pdf :

 

High Quality Print creates PDF files for general desktop printing and proofing. It downsamples color and grayscale images to 300 dpi and monochrome images to 1200 dpi, and preserves the maximum amount of information about the original document. PDF files created with this set­tings file can be opened in Acrobat 5.0 and Acrobat Reader 5.0 and later.

Press Quality creates PDF files for high-quality print production, such as digital printing, high-resolution prepress, and color separations to an imagesetter or platesetter. When you use this settings file, Distiller retains all the information in the PDF file that a commercial printer or prepress service provider needs to print the document correctly. This set of options downsamples color and grayscale images to 300 dpi and monochrome images to 1200 dpi, does not convert any colors, embeds subsets of fonts used in the document (if allowed), allows CMYK and spot colors (and converts colors if necessary), and prints a higher image resolution than the Smallest File Size and Standard settings.

PDF/X-1a:2001 creates PDF files that comply with the PDF/X-1a:2001 standard for graphic content exchange. When you use this settings file, Distiller checks incoming PostScript files for PDF/X-1a compliance. If the file fails compliance checks, Distiller does not create a PDF/X file; instead, it creates a log file that describes the errors in the document. The PDF/X-1a standard requires all fonts to be embedded, the appropriate PDF bounding boxes to be specified, color to appear as CMYK and/or spot colors, and information describing the printing condition for which the file is prepared to be included. For the PDF/X-1a settings file, the default output condi­tion is US Web Coated (SWOP). For more information on creating PDF/X-1a-compliant files, see “Customize PDF/X settings” in this document. PDF files created with this settings file can be opened in Acrobat 4.0 and later.

 

PDF/A (available only in Distiller) creates PDF files that comply with the draft of the PDF/A standard, the proposed ISO standard for the long-time preservation, or archival, of electronic documents. PDF/A-compliant files contain only text, raster images, and vector objects; they can­not contain encryption and scripts. Additionally, all fonts must be embedded. PDF files created with this settings file can be opened in Acrobat 5.0 and Acrobat Reader 5.0 and later.

Level 0 21 posts since
Oct 15, 2010
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1. Feb 20, 2011 12:43 PM in response to: walton
Re: How can I create a PDF?

Fascinating data.  Thanks very much.

Level 5 9,269 posts since
Aug 22, 2008
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2. Feb 20, 2011 1:14 PM in response to: walton
Re: How can I create a PDF?

As you probably saw, I posted a comment to those instructions early on.

 

In contrasting the differences between PDF/A and PDF/X-1a here, you noted, "Most of these differences are irrelevant to most CS members and their books."  I'd suggest that while the differences may be "hazy" to many CS members, they are relevant to book printing.

 

As your chart illustrates, PDF/X-1a requires or forbids a variety of things that are key to commercial print reliability and consistency (many of which are not included in PDF/A files) -- and PDF/A files allow/include things that can be problematic for press RIP software.  Some of these differences result in files being rejected (and leave the member wondering why), some result in the press operator or software having to intervene or make a decision, and some result in conditional anomalies that don't necessarily occur in every job run.

 

Because our books are (usually) produced one-at-a-time in mutliple locations using more than one workflow, it seems like a standardized preset format like PDF/X-1a would be particularly advantageous (to everybody).  If it isn't for some reason, I'd really like to know why it isn't.  (Of course, I'd like to know a lot of things that I probably never will!)

Level 5 9,269 posts since
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4. Feb 20, 2011 3:24 PM in response to: walton
Re: How can I create a PDF?

walton wrote:

Unfortunately, I don't recall seeing PDF/X as an option in any of the free conversion programs. My concern is that Laurel didn't just write an article, she represents CreateSpace, and CreateSpace promoted her article. Therefore, CreateSpace is recommending using "High Quality" and recommending against using PDF/A.

In the case of Options 1 and 2, any software that offers the licensed capability to either print (and distill) or export to PDF format should have the PDF/X, PDF/A, High Quality, Standard, and other presets as options -- so it makes sense to say "avoid PDF/A" on those (because, as the article states, PDF/A isn't intended for commercial print production -- for reasons you illustrated in your chart).  My concern is that the article recommends using the "High Quality" preset, yet goes on to say that specific High Quality settings need to be modified (and those modifications result in settings that are consistent with the PDF/X-1a preset).  So why not just specify PDF/X-1a to start with?

 

In the case of Option 3, I agree with you.  Free programs and plug-ins that can Save to PDF format are geared toward home/office document exchange and archiving, not the creation of commercial print-ready files.  So it's unlikely these will ever have the selection option or capability to produce PDF/X-compliant files.  My assumption has always been that CS was trying to be less demanding and "fussy" about file submission standards than your average book printer (and their business has probably grown because of that).  If so, that's terrific -- but then why not say, "for best results, we prefer that files are submitted in PDF/X-1a format, but we will accept files in the PDF/A or standard PDF formats."

Level 0 1 posts since
Dec 10, 2010
Currently Being Moderated
6. Jun 18, 2011 7:40 PM in response to: walton
Re: How can I create a PDF?

Very informative, but while you address a lot of the definitions in this post, there aren't any links to possible solutions.

 

I fall into the category you mentioned of having my output pdf not translating into the right page size. While my native document's formatting was kept intact, the pdf has pasted all of that onto 8.5x11 pages and there are no options in the pdf reader to alter the page settings. Any suggestions on how I can correct this problem?

Level 0 7 posts since
Aug 20, 2011
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7. Aug 31, 2011 6:56 AM in response to: walton
Re: How can I create a PDF?

Hi, I really need help with all this because I understand very little about it all. I need to know the step by step of how to take my ready and formatted Word perfect document, and convert it into PDF thats ready to upload and later print. I dont know what PDF/X'1A is, or what options I have to choose etc.  The article "Creating a PDF for Print" gives me the three options of how to do the conversion but will my formatting stay? The 5 x 8, the font, the spacing etc? I really need help with this!!!

Level 5 13,363 posts since
Mar 8, 2009
Currently Being Moderated
8. Aug 31, 2011 7:02 AM in response to: cathyd
Re: How can I create a PDF?

First of all, what is your source file written in? That has a lot to do with how you go about which program to use to create your PDF.

 

If you are using OpenOffice then Export to PDF.

 

If you are using Adobe's Creative Suite, then use Adobe Acrobat.

 

If you are using MSWord, then you may have to find a third party PDF creator. I use PDF995 for things I don't create in OpenOffice. Both will create a PDF/A version that is entirely acceptable to CS.

 

Seal

http://www.stevenwjohnson.com

Level 0 7 posts since
Aug 20, 2011
Currently Being Moderated
9. Aug 31, 2011 7:32 AM in response to: Seal
Re: How can I create a PDF?

Hey, thanks for your reply. I'm using MSWord, but I don't know hat you mean by a third party PDF creator? I can't use Adobe Acrobat to convert for example? I also don't know what PDF995 is.

 

What's the difference between PDF/X-1a and PDF/A? Everyone talks about them but I don't know too well what they are or which one I "should" use. Thanks again.

Level 0 7 posts since
Aug 20, 2011
Currently Being Moderated
11. Aug 31, 2011 8:09 AM in response to: walton
Re: How can I create a PDF?

Wow, thank you so much for being so thorough in your reply, it really helped and I'm glad to know I might be able to use one of the free programs you posted links to. Thanks a lot for those too by the way - do you recommend any specific one? And your article wasn't confusing, I'm sure it's really detailed and great for people who understand all about this.

About the output/trim paper size, that's what I was most worried about too; making sure it all stayed formatted, so thanks for also letting me know how I could access the options to fix it. Again, thank you for the details, I really appreciate it.

Level 5 13,363 posts since
Mar 8, 2009
Currently Being Moderated
12. Aug 31, 2011 8:11 AM in response to: cathyd
Re: How can I create a PDF?

As I use PDF995 be aware of the fact that when you go to create your pdf you will need to click on the Paper button and in the pull down menu change Letter to Custom and that will set your paper size correctly. Also it might help to click on Features and change the Printer Default option to 600dpi.

 

Seal

Level 0 7 posts since
Aug 20, 2011
Currently Being Moderated
14. Sep 1, 2011 8:08 AM in response to: Seal
Re: How can I create a PDF?

Hi, thanks for the extra info about PDF995, I will need it if I end up using the program. Thank you!

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