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PDF created by ID does not print on some printers

Contributor ,
Dec 03, 2019

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Hi... I'm producing PDF documents for a client. They want to offer them for download and expect people to print the documents on office-level printers. However, on some printers these documents print just fine, while on others (including at Fedex/Kinko) text is faint gray or invisible and alternating row tints in tables may or may not print at all. While print-as-image works, the client feels (correctly, I think) that this won't do for customers who may want to run off a copy without fiddling with their printer settings (and in some offices they may not be able to change those settings from their desks).

 

From both InDesign 14.x and 15.01 I have produced PDFs compatible with Acrobat 5.x, 7.x, and PDF/X-1a (so far), with Create Acrobat Layers both turned on and turned off. On my own printers -- an ancient Laserjet 4M Postscript and Color Laserjet 3600, everything prints well (although print-as-grayscale works best on the 4M). On a co-workers inkjet, there is no issue. On the client's printer (unknown and not under my control) the CMYK text barely prints at all; when the client turned to the experts at Fedex/Kinko's, they got no text. Graphics seem to print well in all cases, with the exception of the alternating-row tables, which didn't show a tint.

 

In the original ID files, text is the top layer.

 

I am at a loss, and am pretty much at the stage of randomly trying different Acrobat settings at random. I have tried flattening the PDF and this apparently has no result (I can't test, because on my printers, everything works).

 

Anyone have any advice on what to try? I've searched the forum, and while some people have reported PDF printing problems, no one seems to have reported anything like this.

 

Thanks.

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PDF created by ID does not print on some printers

Contributor ,
Dec 03, 2019

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Hi... I'm producing PDF documents for a client. They want to offer them for download and expect people to print the documents on office-level printers. However, on some printers these documents print just fine, while on others (including at Fedex/Kinko) text is faint gray or invisible and alternating row tints in tables may or may not print at all. While print-as-image works, the client feels (correctly, I think) that this won't do for customers who may want to run off a copy without fiddling with their printer settings (and in some offices they may not be able to change those settings from their desks).

 

From both InDesign 14.x and 15.01 I have produced PDFs compatible with Acrobat 5.x, 7.x, and PDF/X-1a (so far), with Create Acrobat Layers both turned on and turned off. On my own printers -- an ancient Laserjet 4M Postscript and Color Laserjet 3600, everything prints well (although print-as-grayscale works best on the 4M). On a co-workers inkjet, there is no issue. On the client's printer (unknown and not under my control) the CMYK text barely prints at all; when the client turned to the experts at Fedex/Kinko's, they got no text. Graphics seem to print well in all cases, with the exception of the alternating-row tables, which didn't show a tint.

 

In the original ID files, text is the top layer.

 

I am at a loss, and am pretty much at the stage of randomly trying different Acrobat settings at random. I have tried flattening the PDF and this apparently has no result (I can't test, because on my printers, everything works).

 

Anyone have any advice on what to try? I've searched the forum, and while some people have reported PDF printing problems, no one seems to have reported anything like this.

 

Thanks.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 04, 2019

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Most composite printers use RGB drivers. They make the final conversion into the printer color space internally, and may not color manage CMYK color correctly— transparency may or may not be flattened correctly.

 

In a case like this it is usually best to flatten transparency and export all color to a uniform common RGB space. So in the Export>Output tab try something like this which will flatten transparency and convert all color to sRGB. If there are spot colors in the documents, convert them to Process color via the Ink Manager button (Standard: None, Compatability: Acrobat 4, Destination: sRGB, Simulate Overprint, All Spots to Process)

 

Screen Shot 5.png

 

Also, for composite printing set your Appearance of Black Preference to Output All Blacks as Rich Black.

 

Screen Shot 6.png

 

 

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Adobe Employee ,
Dec 05, 2019

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Ancient LaserJet 4M? That printer with genuine Adobe PostScript Level 2 was released somewhere around 26 years ago! And it was damned reliable! (It was actually a printer I had personal responsibility for at Adobe when I was heading up PostScript QA back when!)

 

The symptoms you describe are not something that we are familiar with here at Adobe. Quite frankly, hacking around with the color spaces is probably not going to assist here and since FedEx Office (previously FedEx Kinkos) prints by sending PDF to a PDF-native printer or at worst, sends it via Acrobat to an Adobe PostScript 3-equipped printer. Thus, converting to RGB isn't going to help.

 

Perhaps you can post the problematic PDF file here or send me a link to same via private message.

 

For what it is worth, PDF/X-1a is a very obsolete PDF/X version. The most reliable PDF for printing in the 21st century is PDF/X-4 without any transparency flattening or conversion of color to CMYK (keep original ICC-color managed RGB).

 

             - Dov

- Dov Isaacs, Principal Scientist, Adobe

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Contributor ,
Dec 05, 2019

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Thanks for the offer, Dov. We may have crossed paths long ago -- I worked on the PLRM (Redbook) with Ed Taft. Unfortunately I'm prevented from posting files or even sending files privately by an NDA. However, I can say that after setting the Output Destination in InDesign to Document RGB, the tester in the field reported that it printed well on the Fedex printers. There is a lot of Pantone in the file (specified by the client), and I think the mix of Pantone, RGB and CMYK graphics -- and Pantone text -- bollixed the printing. Again, I had no problems, a co-worker had no problem, but one consultant (and Fedex) did... but we have no control over how they have their printers set up. Making everything RGB _seems_ to have solved the problem. Fingers crossed. I will try PDF/X-4 as you suggest. Thanks again.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 05, 2019

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There is a lot of Pantone in the file (specified by the client), and I think the mix of Pantone, RGB and CMYK graphics -- and Pantone text -- bollixed the printing

 

Unless you are trying to run a composite proof for an offset job with spot color separations, there would be no reason to spec color as spots (Pantone +Solids).

 

Ink Manager lets you convert spots to process, but does not handle the conversion of spot tints very well. If there are spot tints, converting the swatches to process Lab via the swatch options is more reliable than using Ink Manager.

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