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Proactive Preflighting

October 1999
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Preflighting via the Internet. Emulating RIPs to ensure accurate digital files. Automating workflow-critical checks for font usage in PDF documents. A variety of fresh innovations are signaling a new dawn for preflighting.


BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO


Preflighiting is experiencing a renaissance, of sorts, with the Internet, PDF and the pressing demand for more intensive automation, which is pushing technology providers to deliver more interactive file checkers.

Markzware is moving its preflighting efforts onto the Internet—proof being the company's recently introduced MarkzNet, a Web-based preflighting application that uses drag-and-drop tools to preflight digital files.

Extensis, also moving to the Internet, has launched Preflight Online, a Web-based preflighting system that allows users to inspect PDF files for dozens of potential problems with fonts, colors and images by dragging the files into a Web browser and clicking a button. Good news: Preflight Online requires no special client software and is free to the end user. Instead of printers having to wait for files to arrive from customers in order to preflight them, the preflighting happens on-line as part of the file submission process.

The goal? Preflight Online was designed to improve preflight communication between customer and printer. Preflight Online addresses common problems associated with digital file submission by providing an automated system to screen files over the Internet—before they are submitted to the service provider—by generating an on-line report displayed in the user's Web browser. The report enumerates the problems that need fixing

The latest product from Enfocus is a new InDesign plug-in that tailors Enfocus PDF Checkup preflighting software for Adobe InDesign applications. Enfocus PitStop 4.0, meanwhile, posts preflighting in its capabilities roster, which includes interactive and native PDF editing and automated correction for PDF documents.

Ultimate Technographics recently released Flight Simulator 3, an automated PostScript and PDF flight checking solution that RIPs files with an Adobe PostScript 3 RIP. Flight Simulator can also emulate any RIP in a shop. It can test RIP PostScript and PDF files and view them with Ultimate RIPViewer on Mac or NT workstations. Ripped files and reports may also be distributed over the Internet.

And then there is EZ-PDF. Acquired Knowledge automatically creates PostScript files, launches and configures Acrobat Distiller based on predetermined printer specifications, and places a resulting PDF file into a user-selected folder—all in EZ-PDF. The company is also continuing to refine its QuickCheck preflighting software, designed to analyze and preview PostScript files in Macintosh environments.
 

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