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Why it is necessary to export files to a PDF before printing

Published time: 2012-06-18 10:55

Exporting a document to a PDF is the safest way to ensure that the file you designed will come out exactly how you designed it because the PDF standard was created so a file renders the same on every computer (provided you designed your file in CMYK colorspace and that you flattened your file before exporting to a PDF). A PDF saves all of the metadata including fonts, positioning, and rasterization so that the file will be rendered the exact same on any computer. Other file types, including PSD, DOC, and PUB do not save all of the metadata, so when the file is transferred to MGX Copy and opened, the file could look very different.

There are many incompatibilities that could happen when opening a non-PDF file on a different computer:

     1.  Different versions of the same program may render the same file differently.

A file created by one version of a program may not render the same when opened on a different version of the same program. For instance, a document created in Microsoft Word 2007 may not look the same when opened in Word 2003. Or a document created in Word 2007 on a Windows operating system may not look the same when opened in Word 2008 in OS X on a Mac.

     2.  Missing Fonts cannot be rendered

There are thousands of fonts in existence and the vast majority of them are not free. We do not license these fonts and, thus, does not have them stored on our computers. Most file types do not save the font files, so when we tries to open these files, the font either changes or we are unable to see any of the characters using that font. This can be dangerous because not all programs give a warning about missing/changed fonts, so if the pre-press department does not notice any missing text, the problem may go unnoticed.

     3.  Missing plugins may make the file unopenable

It is fairly common for people to design files using third party plugins. However, if the file needs that particular plugin to open, we will not be able to open the file. we do not guarantee to have any plugins installed, so we will most likely be unable to open any files that require plugins. IF converted to a PDF, the PDF has all the available metadata inside the PDF to properly render the file.

Export to PDF to prevent these common mistakes

It is our goal to have the prints we create be exactly how the designer designed them to look in their design programs. However, as a printer, we require properly prepared print-ready files so we can print them how they were designed. Exporting a file to PDF prevents many issues from happening and ensures that your file looks the same on every computer.