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PDF export: blacks not black (for one printer), jagged, and with HOLES!

Engaged ,
Sep 08, 2023 Sep 08, 2023

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I've spent about a dozen hours trying to fix this problem, exporting to PDF, EPS, PNG, Postscript, using a variety of settings (several PDF/X, all the Compatabilities, with or without profiles), but no luck.

In the past year I printed two books on a Fuji-Xerox Versant 3100i, with my usual PDF export settings; all was fine. A few months ago I purchased a colour laser printer for home use, and the problems started. No changes to OSX or Adobe CS in the meanwhile.

 

Here's my system:

  • iMac 2013 (my iMac #1, running OSX 10.9 and Adobe CS6)
  • iMac 2013 (my iMac #2, running OSX 10.15, no Adobe CS6)
  • HP 5200L mono laser (from iMac#1)
  • OKI C834 colour laser (from iMac #2)

So, two separate print systems.

 

Here's the problem:

  • When I use Text Edit on iMac #2 to create a simple test document and print from Text Edit, the text is black.
  • When I convert that document to PDF (call it "XXX") via Mac's Preview , the text is black.
  • When I create a similar document in InDesign on iMac #1, export to PDF in 20-30 different ways (call them "YYY"), and then print on iMac #2, the text is CMYK.

 

I came to the conclusion that the two PDF containers (XXX and YYY) are somehow different, and that's what's causing the problem. So I tried a workaround. I opened XXX in Acrobat on iMac #1, appended YYY, saved as ZZZ, and printed on iMac #2 as grayscale (a setting in the printer). The text for YYY is now black, but it is jagged and has holes in it. See attachment called Test Scans.

 

So, changing the "container" for my InDesign PDF improved matters, but the print quality is still not up to scratch. Attached are ZZZ, YYY, ZZZ, and Test Scans from the printouts.

 

Any suggestions as to where this problem lies?

Why is "container" XXX good and YYY poor?

Why does YYY change when it is appended to XXX?

 

P.S. The HP5200L, even though it is 20 years old, gives sharper text than the new OKI C834. So much for print progress!

 

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Engaged , Sep 09, 2023 Sep 09, 2023

I can call a halt to this thread.

 

The OKI website has two distinct download for the printer drivers: a package for everything; and separate downloads. I had chosen the package, but after all the experimenting above, I removed the printer and drivers and started again, installing just the Postscript printer driver and none of the other options.

 

Blacks are now black, and as sharp as my HP1200L. Other colour problems have been corrected as well.

 

So, it may have been the printer driver. But, more li

...

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Community Expert ,
Sep 08, 2023 Sep 08, 2023

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What Color. Management settings do you have, Color Management Policies? If you have CMYK assets, I recommend to Preserve Numbers, otherwise you end up with 4c-black. Therefore it is better to use RGB-images and CMYK graphics.

 

Never use Apple Preview for PDFs in any way.

Screenshot 2023-09-09 at 07.57.38.png

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Engaged ,
Sep 09, 2023 Sep 09, 2023

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Thanks, Willi, for the feedback.

Colour management in InDesign is not the problem. For some reason, the OKI printer in combination with OSX 10.15, works as it should with:

  • Text Edit files (created and printed in OSX 10.15)
  • PDFs out of Text Edit and then through Preview (created and printed in OSX 10.15)
  • iText Express files (created in OSX 10.9, printed in OSX 10.15)
  • iText Express files, output as PDF (both created in OSX 10.9, printed in OSX 10.15)

 

But the text in PDFs out of InDesign does not print as it should. Some intereaction between my OSX 15, Preview and the OKI print drivers, is causing PDFs coming out of InDesign to mishandle text – the blacks are CMYK and the edges are jagged.

 

I doubt there is a solution, other then OKI updating their print drivers. But if someone has some suggestions, please come forward. But I've already been through virtually every possible combination of colour management and output format from InDesign.

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Engaged ,
Sep 09, 2023 Sep 09, 2023

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LATEST

I can call a halt to this thread.

 

The OKI website has two distinct download for the printer drivers: a package for everything; and separate downloads. I had chosen the package, but after all the experimenting above, I removed the printer and drivers and started again, installing just the Postscript printer driver and none of the other options.

 

Blacks are now black, and as sharp as my HP1200L. Other colour problems have been corrected as well.

 

So, it may have been the printer driver. But, more likely, it was the default use of AirPrint, imposed by Apple, which has less features than the proper Print Driver. To fix this problem:

 

  • After installing, remove the OKI Printer from the list of printers under Printers & Scanners. Use the "-" sign.
  • Click on the "+"sign to add a printer and the OKI should appear.
  • Under the Use option, select OKI C834 PS (instead of AirPrint). A new panel will appear and the printer will turn on automatically while the new printer driver is set up.

 

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