"Our customers have been telling us that we achieved our goals with PitStop 4.0 to streamline PDF workflow and to make PDF workflow, itself, as simple and automatic as possible," McCarthy reports, adding that the PitStop Server, announced at Seybold San Francisco, fulfills preflight automation promises with a robust hot folder capability for batch preflighting, automatically executed action lists and fixing files according to preset profiles.
Acquired Knowledge offers QuickCheck—a preflighting program designed for the Macintosh platform, which previews and analyzes PostScript files for missing or embedded fonts and various color and separation red flags. The vendor was recently honored by the Digital Imaging Industry for EZ-PDF, Acquired's latest preflighting tool, designed strictly for PDF.
To use EZ-PDF, the user selects a EZ-PDF printer from the software's print dialog and then prints as normal. EZ-PDF automatically creates a PostScript file, launches and configures Acrobat Distiller based on the selected printer's PDF style and then places the resulting PDF file into a user-selected folder. EZ-PDF can e-mail or FTP the PDF file automatically.
Bottom line: While a number of effective desktop preflighting tools exist, one of the biggest headaches for commercial printers and service bureaus is that the preflight process typically happens much too late in the production cycle.
Although, to date, commercial printers cannot force customers to submit flawless files—or at least execute some degree of intelligent, fundamental preflighting before submitting any and all files—some solace can be taken in the knowledge that a new variety of preflighting solutions, teamed with the Internet, intend to make managing fonts, images and design intentions a little less troublesome.