Flattening a file

New Here ,
Apr 08, 2021 Apr 08, 2021

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Hello Adobe Support Community

 

I am trying to send a Word file to print with a company and have sent it as a PDF.

However on printing, the document has some areas that are darker in tone.

The company tell me I need to flatten the PDF with Adobe Acrobat Distiller.

I currently only have Adobe Reader version 2021.001.20145.

I believe Adobe Acrobat Distiller is now unavailable.

 

I hope you can reccommend a way in which I am able to flatten my PDF.

 

Warm wishes

Elaine

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Edit and convert PDFs

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LEGEND ,
Apr 08, 2021 Apr 08, 2021

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1. Acrobat Distiller is still available. It has always been included with paid-for Acrobat Standard and Acrobat Pro.

2. It isn't a PDF flattener, but Windows users can use the Adobe PDF printer with paid-for Acrobat to print PDF-to-PDF.

3. There are at least four ENTIRELY DIFFERENT meanings of "flatten" a PDF.

4. Printing PDF-to-PDF is considered a very bad thing by experts, so this advice is pretty suspect.

 

Who is "the company"? People in your organisation, people at a commercial print shop, people who make the printer, people who sell the printer, someone else...?

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New Here ,
Apr 13, 2021 Apr 13, 2021

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Hello Test Screen Name

 

Thank you so much for your reply.

 

It is useful to know Acrobat Distiller is still available.

And bundled with Acrobat Pro and Acrobat Standard.

I see that to purchase them I have to pay an annual subscription which would be fine if I was going to use it a lot but I am guessing I will probably use it for just this one need.

 

Regarding the term 'flattening', I must admit I have never heard it before.

I am a pretty basic user of technology and can find my way around Microsoft Word/Excel etc to meet all my needs but my use of Acrobat Reader is limited, let alone any other Acrobat tool.

 

The company I mentioned is a commercial printing company that operate online.

 

The Word file I wish to print has text boxes that overlap. 

The first time the commercial printer printed the file there was no problem but there after some anomalies occured - possibly where text boxes overlapped - despite the file printing perfectly on my home printer.

 

Taking all the above into account, I am not sure how to proceed.

If you have any thougths, that would be most welcome.

 

Thank you

Elaine

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Apr 13, 2021 Apr 13, 2021

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Ask the “commercial printing company” you refer to exactly what they mean by “flattening.” By itself, the term means absolutely nothing.

 

Do they mean transparency flattening? If so, that means that the printing company's procedures are all screwed up since handling of transparency is best handled in the prepress / print production phase, not by the customer!!

 

Do they mean converting annotations into the underlying PDF content? If so, that makes no sense since PDF files from Word don't have any annotations unless you annotated the PDF file after its creation.

 

Do they mean converting all content to a raster image? If so, that is guaranteed to terribly reduce print quality.

 

- Dov Isaacs, former Adobe Principal Scientist (April 30, 1990 - May 30, 2021)

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New Here ,
Apr 14, 2021 Apr 14, 2021

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Hello Dov Issacs

 

Thank you so much for your advice.

I will send your questions to the printing company and see what they say.

And get back to you with their answer.

Many thanks

 

Elaine

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New Here ,
Apr 15, 2021 Apr 15, 2021

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Hello Dov Isaccs

 

I have just reread the email from the commercial printing company and they have said this:

"your file is not flattened, it needs standardising. You can do this by saving as a postscript file then redistilling it using Adobe Acrobat Distiller."

Does this make more sense?

 

Warm wishes

Elaine

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New Here ,
Apr 15, 2021 Apr 15, 2021

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Hello Dov Issacs and Test Screen Name

 

I have a response from the commercial printing company to the flattening/distilling query.

They have said to:

"open the pdf in Adobe Acrobat, then save as a postscript file to your desktop. Then use Adobe Distller to create a new pdf on PDF X1a settings"

Does that make sense?

If I do subscribe to Acrobat Pro or Standard, is this something that will be fairly obvious to preform ie creating a new PDF on PDF X1a settings?

 

Thank you again for all your help.

Warm wishes 

Elaine

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Apr 15, 2021 Apr 15, 2021

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It appears that what they are requesting is a PDF/X-1a file. There are functions in Acrobat Pro that provide a means of converting a PDF file to PDF/X-1a in some but not all circumstances. And that would be a hell of a lot better than refrying a PDF file via Distiller.

 

That all having been said, it seems like you are dealing with a very technically-challenged print service provider. They should be able to handle a PDF file without making you jump through flaming hoops!

 

- Dov Isaacs, former Adobe Principal Scientist (April 30, 1990 - May 30, 2021)

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Apr 15, 2021 Apr 15, 2021

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No, it makes no sense whatsoever.

 

We have absolutely no idea what they mean by “standardising” a PDF file. We need to know exactly what they believe the “problem” with the PDF file is. Saving a PDF file to PostScript and then distilling it back to PDF more often than not is a very destructive process and doesn't “fix” anything.

 

And for that matter, Acrobat Distiller is not part of the Adobe Acrobat Reader product. It requires licensing of Adobe Acrobat Standard or Pro.

 

- Dov Isaacs, former Adobe Principal Scientist (April 30, 1990 - May 30, 2021)

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New Here ,
Apr 15, 2021 Apr 15, 2021

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Hello Dov Issacs

 

Thank you so much for your thoughts - you confirm what I have been feeling.

I am going to approach another commercial printing online company and hopefully the process will be much more straightforward.

I am so grateful for your time and energy in helping me through this process.

 

Warm wishes

Elaine

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