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PDF Workflows

June 2000
The benefits are tangible: PDF preserves file integrity, allows for more predictable final output and facilitates smooth, cross-platform publishing. Is PDF right for you? For your customers? Six commercial printers tell their tales.


(Editor's Note: This article is the first in a two-part series focused on PDF workflows in place at a range of commercial printing operations.)

It can, if created correctly, embed images and fonts within a single file, eliminating the problem of missing elements. It can be used for remote proof routing between designer and prepress provider. It can act as the digital master throughout an entire CTP workflow. It can facilitate true, cross-platform flexibility. It can produce predictable final output.

It is PDF—and it is anything but simplistic. Adobe's Portable Document Format is in full force at some commercial printing locations, moderately becoming vital at others and, for some, not yet a relied upon technology.

Some of the greatest attributes of PDF attracting some—not all—commercial printers is its flexibility. PDF is ideal for cross-platform operations and it offers excellent file compression, which facilitates faster publishing across a variety of channels. Recently, Printing Impressions went inside six commercial printing facilities to ask company executives and prepress managers what role PDF is playing in their day-to-day operations.

DeHart Printing Embraces PDF
Don DeHart, president of the $11.5 million, Santa, Clara, CA-based general commercial printing operation that bears his name, is not intim-idated by new technologies. Most recently, DeHart has been experimenting with PDF—the file format of choice for 25 percent of DeHart Printing Services' black-and-white, on-demand digital printing, and 10 percent of the company's color work.

The appeal of the file format for DeHart and his prepress team is PDF's true device independence, page independence and cross-platform support for a more streamlined, time-efficient CTP environment.

While PostScript had been the format of record for many of the prepress tasks executed at DeHart Printing, DeHart and Mark Huiskens, preflight manager, and Mike Strauss, preflight engineer, discovered that incorporating PDF into their existing workflow resulted in time savings and an increase in overall efficiency—predominantly for the company's black-and-white, on-demand digital printing applications done through the Xerox DigiPath workflow.

DeHart and his team were equally intrigued with the predictability of PDF and its ability to preserve layouts, with all text and graphics exactly where the designer placed them originally. Earlier this year, the company also invested in and implemented a series of Adobe plug-ins to assist them in bolstering their PDF workflow, including PitStop by Enfocus.



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