Correcting Most Common Print Errors

Jeff Montgomery -

PDF/X Compliance
If a book is not PDF/X-1a:2001 compliant, our automated system will try to preflight it to be compliant.

  1. If the preflight is successful, the files will print.
  2. If it is unsuccessful, either the files will fail premedia and an email will be generated to notify you; or it may try to print the file, which will result in many print errors, including white boxes around art and text.

Be sure books are compliant BEFORE you upload them. Use the PDF/X-1a:2001 setting to export your PDF. If that is not an option, it can be converted using Acrobat:

  1. Open the file in Acrobat. 
  2. Open the Print Production menu on the right side of the window (can also be found under the Tools menu).
  3. Next, open the Preflight window and click on Standards.
    1. Set standards to PDF/X and click through to the last window.
    2. Set color to (SWOP). 
  4. Click "Save as" and give the file a new name.

PDFX1.png

 

Bleed
All books need a 0.125" bleed on the outside three page edges only. 

To check if your bleeds are correct in Acrobat, go to the File pull-down menu and select Properties.

 Pulldown_Properties.png

In the window that opens, under the Descriptions tab, there is a lot of information.

Toward the bottom of the window, you can see the Page Size listed. Since bleed is .125" on outside 3 edges, page size should be .25" taller and .125" wider the the print size once the bleed is included. For example (as you can see below), an 8.5" X 11" book should have a final page size of 8.625 X 11.25.

NOTE: This menu truncates the decimal, so it shows "8.62" even though the page size is actually 8.625.

Bleed_Check_copy.png

The most common way bleed is missed is in exporting from InDesign. Once you select the compliance, InDesign resets the bleed to 0, so it needs to be turned back on.

PDFx.jpg

 

CID Font Embedding
CID font embedding can cause odd errors in print, such as individual letters dropping out.

To check if you have CID embedded fonts in Acrobat, open the properties menu from the File pull-down menu.

 Pulldown_Properties.png
In the window that opens, select the Fonts tab and look through the font listing to see if there are any CID fonts.

CID_Fonts_copy.png

The easiest way to correct CID fonts is to "Convert Fonts To Outlines". See the screen capture below for the locations of various options.

  • In Acrobat, click the Print Production icon (1) (or the Tools tab on the top left between Home and Document), and open the Preflight menu (2).
  • In the Preflight menu, click the little wrench tool (3) and search for fonts (4).
  • In the results, you will see Convert fonts to outlines, and click through to save. We recommend saving with a new name to keep the original file. Doing so will flatten the fonts as part of the file, making it unnecessary to embed the fonts.

NOTE: It's best, of course, to avoid CID fonts to begin with if you can.

Fonts_to_Curves.png

 

Gutter
Color books must have a gutter (white space) allowance of 0.125" on the inside edge of every page, top to bottom. This area is glued into the spine, so it is not the live area of the page, and nothing will be lost. The gutter allowance ensures that the spine glue holds as tight as possible.

Adding a gutter allowance is not difficult.

On your master page, simply add a new layer (be sure it's on top) and make a white box 0.125" wide that runs top to bottom on the gutter side. If your pages are set to use the master, the white line will appear on all pages and will look similar to that in the image below:

Gutter.png

 

Ink Coverage
Color books cannot have ink coverage that exceeds 240%.

When selecting colors in layout, set blacks to Cyan 0%, Magenta 0%, Yellow 0% and Black 100%.

If you want a richer black, you can set values to Cyan 60%, Magenta 40%, Yellow 40% and Black 100%. (The rich black may look better, but if it is layered with other elements, it may push the combination to be over ink.)

If you are working in any version of Adobe CS, ink coverage can be viewed and corrected in a few steps.

Check Ink Coverage in InDesign layout

  1. Click on the Window pull-down menu (1) at the top.
  2. Mouse over Output and select Separations Preview.
  3. In the window that opens, there is a little pull-down menu next to where it says View
    1. Select "Ink Limit" (2) and set the percent to 241% (3). This will show you all the things on your page that are over ink coverage, in red. 

CI-IDD.png

 

Ink Coverage Correction in Photoshop

  1. Open the file in Photoshop.
  2. In the Edit pull-down menu (1), select Convert to Profile (2).
  3. In the menu that opens, under "Destination Space - Profile", select Custom CMYK (3).
    1. Make sure Ink Colors is set to "SWOP (Coated)" (4).
    2. Change the total ink limit to 235% (5).
  4. Leave all other settings as they are.
  5. Save as .tif or .psd.

When the files are corrected, you can relink them to the InDesign file or replace them in the Illustrator file.

CI-PS.png

NOTE: Ink coverage is best checked and corrected in Photoshop and replaced in the layout. If you are unable to do so, you can check and force correct in Acrobat, although the results may be poor. However, if you have no better option, the instructions to correct in Acrobat are below.

Check Ink Coverage in Acrobat

  1. Open the final PDF/X in Acrobat.
  2. Click on the Print Production icon (1) to open the menu.
  3. Click "Output Preview" (2) to open that menu.
    • In Acrobat 9 and earlier, this menu can be found in the pull-down menu: select Advanced > Print Production > Output Preview.
  4. In the window that opens, check the box next to "Total Area Coverage" and set it to 241% (3). Anything that is over ink will show up as a bright neon green.

AcroInkcov.png

Ink Coverage Correction in Acrobat

NOTE: There can be a large color shift when this process is used in Acrobat, which is why we consider it a last resort.

 Open your final PDF/X file.

  1. Open the Print Production menu.
    • In Acrobat 9 and earlier, it's under the Advanced menu at the top.
  2. Choose Convert Colors. In the window that opens, find the shaded section called "Conversion Attributes".
    • Change the center pull-down menu to "Japan Color 2002 Newspaper".
    • Under the shaded Convert Options area, check all three boxes (Preserve Black, Promote Gray to CMYK Black, Preserve CMYK Primaries).
    • Click OK. You will get a warning; it's fine. Click OK.
  3. When the file is done processing, choose "Save As" and give it a different name (so as not to save over the original file, in case there's a problem).

Please check to make sure your document is now within Ink Coverage range and that the color value is acceptable before uploading to print.

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