Sep 5, 2009
Feb 20, 2011 12:11 PM
Re: https://www.createspace.com/en/community/docs/DOC-1331 "Creating a PDF for Print"
Many members have problems with converting to PDF, and most do not have Acrobat Pro. In terms of the PDF presets (high quality, press quality, PDF/X, PDF/A) and printing, Laurel and CreateSpace are inconsistent and wrong.
Lighthouse’s advice from post to post to use Acrobat Pro and to use PDF/X-1a is the best, the simplest, most reliable, easiest to remember. It obviates many problems that can arise from a careless or inattentive workflow. By flattening and converting various color spaces to one, several common member problems are resolved.
Note: assuming the original files are not corrupted, creating a good, useable PDF in Word and OpenOffice, or from Word files with most of the free conversion programs is usually easy and reliable. The CreateSpace article gives this an arcane and confusing feel. Of course, we could pay CS to make our conversion PDFs! (The publish pages have changed, downplaying how to do it yourself, and playing up CS services.)
What concerns me is the admonition:
“Avoid any other types of PDF (for example, PDF-A), as they are not intended for print production.” Laurel repeats it three times.
In Word and OpenOffice, the best choice for creating a PDF is: 1) Word— Standard > ISO 19005-1 (PDF/A) in Word; 2) OpenOffice—Export as PDF > PDF/A-1a.
CreateSpace is, however, telling people not to use this conversion mode:
Is there something inherent in the CreateSpace prepress and printing processes that makes PDF/A something to be “avoided”? If so, CreateSpace should tell us what.
Most of the PDF related complaints in the forum are:
- fonts do not embed
- the output/PDF size is wrong
- transparency (
- inconsistencies in type density/black/inconsistent color spaces
Recommended by CS
Output size/trim size is wrong
Flattens multilayered image files
If CreateSpace can recommend High Quality, which Adobe recommends for desktop printing, there is no reason not recommend PDF/A, which is much more common and in many cases the best choice for creating a print-ready PDF.
Basically, that’s my reply. Details and references follow.
Mechanics & Punctuation free, 20 page guide to everything punctuation Build Your Book free 98 page guide to designing your book Contact for graphics, design, and typesetting help GIMP tutorials, GIMP, GIMP Help, excerpts from GIMP Supremacy
PDF/A was developed for long term document preservation: that is all characteristics of the original document (text, fonts, formatting, graphics, etc.) would be preserved.
PDF/X developed to address certain prepress graphics issues but it shares many features with PDF/A.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_Document_Format cited by LoC as a good reference
Here are the major differences between PDF/A and PDF/X (from <http://www.callassoftware.com/callas/doku.php/en:support:knowledge:faqs_pdfa_pdfx>):
Trapped settings: whether or not the PDF has been trapped
Page geometry specifications, in particular for TrimBox
Comments and form fields in page areas that are to be printed
JBIG2 (compression procedure for bitmap image data)
If certain metadata is contained in the document information, that metadata must also be contained in the XMP metadata in its equivalent form.
Invisible text is often used for scanned pages to give a scanned page image text that can be used for OCR text recognition.
PDF/A does not require fonts that are used only for invisible text to be embedded.
PDF/X requires the general embedding of fonts, even for invisible text.
An output intent specifies the output purpose for a PDF file. Examples: A specific printing process such as sheet-fed offset on coated paper, printing on a specific type of digital printer, or output on the screen.
With PDF/A, if there are two (or more) output intents, their target profiles must be identical.
PDF/A, the output intent is optional – it is only required if device-dependent process color spaces (for example, DeviceCMYK or DeviceRGB) are used in the PDF/A document. If this is the case, the output intent serves to describe the color characterization of the device-dependent color specification
PDF/X always requires an output intent
For PDF/X, the output intent must refer to the intended printing method. An output intent for the screen – for example, via sRGB, is not allowed.
Most of these differences are irrelevant to most CS members and their books. And, if High Quality is good, what reason would there be not to use PDF/A?
High Quality Print creates PDF files for general desktop printing and proofing. It downsamples color and grayscale images to 300 dpi and monochrome images to 1200 dpi, and preserves the maximum amount of information about the original document. PDF files created with this settings file can be opened in Acrobat 5.0 and Acrobat Reader 5.0 and later.
Press Quality creates PDF files for high-quality print production, such as digital printing, high-resolution prepress, and color separations to an imagesetter or platesetter. When you use this settings file, Distiller retains all the information in the PDF file that a commercial printer or prepress service provider needs to print the document correctly. This set of options downsamples color and grayscale images to 300 dpi and monochrome images to 1200 dpi, does not convert any colors, embeds subsets of fonts used in the document (if allowed), allows CMYK and spot colors (and converts colors if necessary), and prints a higher image resolution than the Smallest File Size and Standard settings.
PDF/X-1a:2001 creates PDF files that comply with the PDF/X-1a:2001 standard for graphic content exchange. When you use this settings file, Distiller checks incoming PostScript files for PDF/X-1a compliance. If the file fails compliance checks, Distiller does not create a PDF/X file; instead, it creates a log file that describes the errors in the document. The PDF/X-1a standard requires all fonts to be embedded, the appropriate PDF bounding boxes to be specified, color to appear as CMYK and/or spot colors, and information describing the printing condition for which the file is prepared to be included. For the PDF/X-1a settings file, the default output condition is US Web Coated (SWOP). For more information on creating PDF/X-1a-compliant files, see “Customize PDF/X settings” in this document. PDF files created with this settings file can be opened in Acrobat 4.0 and later.
PDF/A (available only in Distiller) creates PDF files that comply with the draft of the PDF/A standard, the proposed ISO standard for the long-time preservation, or archival, of electronic documents. PDF/A-compliant files contain only text, raster images, and vector objects; they cannot contain encryption and scripts. Additionally, all fonts must be embedded. PDF files created with this settings file can be opened in Acrobat 5.0 and Acrobat Reader 5.0 and later.