Three Common Wide Format PDF Printing Problems

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Three Common Wide Format PDF Printing Problems

The proliferation of Adobe software has helped to create a universal language for documents throughout the world.  This universal Portable Document Format is known more commonly as “pdf”. Unfortunately, even though pdf files are used all over the world, they are still vulnerable to various types of digital issues.  Some of the most notable of these issues often occur when trying to print a pdf file in as Big Acrylic large photo prints.


PDF files use layers and transparencies to create the documents and images you save and/or print.  Issues with the complexities of these various layers and transparencies can negatively affect processing speed and even cause unexpected results in your print jobs.  To clarify—perhaps you don’t know—transparency refers to how two or more objects overlap in a document. Adobe Creative Suite applications frequently rely on transparency features as the means by which they can apply special effects to various objects; these features include things like: opacity, feathering, and shadows.

It is very important to understand transparency issues; and to do that you first need to understand “flattening” of a pdf document.  Flattening is the process of converting all of the layered and transparent objects on any page into opaque objects that all look the same as the original document to which they have been added. The process of flattening can actually be pretty time-consuming, but that depends on how complex the pdf file is.  The more transparencies you have (often upwards of several thousand) the longer it takes to effectively “flatten” a document. Sometimes, though, transparent objects are not successfully flattened and that results in prints that do not match the original document (what you see on the screen).


Another of the most common problems you might encounter has to do with fonts.  The thing about fonts is that your word processing program may have access to thousands of different, exotic, fun, interesting fonts but when you save the document as a pdf, some of those fonts may not automatically transfer. When a pdf fails to save/transfer a font from an original document, it results in font substitution when you print it (which often does not look like what you intended).


Most of the time, architects and engineers create drawings in color, even if they know the document will be printed in black and white. They do this because, of course, the different colors help them to differentiate between different items in a document.  Color could be used in something simple like a company logo, but it might also be used to help distinguish floors or walls or doors in a building, etc. Obviously, colors can change during the pdf conversion process, which can be remedied by ensuring that your pdf conversion program has identified the colors you are using.

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