Fools and Their Foolproof Workflows –McIlroy

Oddly enough neither report asked the simple question: What percentage of the PDF files you receive require additional work? How does this compare to the percentage of QuarkXPress files requiring rework? Is the reworking of PDF files, on average, easier, the same as, or more difficult than the reworking of QuarkXPress files?

The Seybold study asked “What are the three best things about working with PDF?” and the top responses were “fewer cross-platform issues” (55 percent mentioned), “more efficient workflow” (35 percent) and “smaller files” (32 percent).

Looking for More Speed

The PDF print production respondents to the GATF survey responded to the question, “What do you consider the top benefit of working with PDF files in your organization?” “Faster system throughput” was the number one answer at 32 percent. Second was “reduced cross-platform issues” (about 23 percent). Third was “smaller files, easier to work with” (about 22 percent).

Again, very similar results in each survey. It sounds like PDF workflows are faster and somewhat less error-prone but, as we also learn, far from error-free.

Seybold reports the file receivers rate the biggest problem in working with PDF as “more difficult to edit than native files” (61 percent). I guess you only need to edit files if there’s a problem. Tied for first place is “file not made properly” (61 percent). The next five responses each gain about 25 percent ratings: “PDF different from native file,” “RIP and output problems,” “hard to troubleshoot,” “display doesn’t match output” and “final color doesn’t match original.”

Over at GATF the print production folk were asked “What do you consider the top two problems of working with PDF files?”

Hold onto your seats as you read this! Eighty-eight percent report that “clients do not create them properly,” while 64 percent lament that “they’re more difficult to edit than native files.” I think you can guess what some of the other responses were, and their relative percentages. Again, very similar feedback.

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