Preflight Success: Tips for Designers and a Free Preflight Checklist
Preflight Diagnostic Tools for Designers
Preflighting tools for digital files are abundant today, and there is really no excuse not to perform this necessary task. Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress contain built-in preflight and packaging options. Adobe InDesign and Acrobat have easy-to-use diagnostic tools that can help you quickly assess and correct common print-related problems before sending the job off to the printer:
InDesign Diagnostic Tools
- Overprint Preview: It’s critical to be able to preview on-screen objects that are set to overprint to avoid potential errors on press. Overprinting is the technique often used to create trap areas between adjacent colors in order to prevent white paper gaps from showing up on press. Black text is typically set to overprint for the same reason. With Overprint Preview turned on (View>Overprint Preview), you can see how inks will interact with each other on press. If the preview shows something that isn’t how the file should print, it gives you the opportunity to repair it before sending it off to your print service provider.
- Flattener Preview: An extremely useful diagnostic tool for checking to see if fonts will be converted to outlines in Adobe InDesign (and Illustrator) is the Flattener Preview palette (Window>Output>Flattener Preview and Window>Flattener Preview, respectively). By selecting the various options under the Highlight pull-down menu, you can preview which objects are transparent on a page, which objects will be affected by transparency, and which fonts (if any) will be converted to outlines.
- Live Preflight: Live Preflight (Window>Output>Preflight) sounds exactly like what it is: It can be set up to alert designers to potential problems as they arise, rather than after the design is complete. When an error is detected as the design is being created, the problem can quickly be found and corrected. Live Preflight can be configured to alert you to many common file problems including low-resolution images, unwanted spot color plates, improper image color spaces, and more.