The Portable Document Format (PDF)

October 21, 2009 at 5:11 pm Leave a comment

PDF for printingThe versatile PDF format has become the de facto standard for file transfer. It is a “device independent” software application, and has a completely open system that can be used on a multitude of output devices and media. For instance, it can be used to convey information onto the Internet, in printed format, on cd-rom, or via e-mail without losing image quality or the layout, style, etc. of the document.

Its strength lies in, as the name suggests, the portability of the document it produces. What this means is that a PDF document can be transferred between systems, i.e. Macintosh® to Windows® PC, PC to printer, without being altered. So what you see on the computer screen is exactly the same as everyone else sees. In this way, it can be sent anywhere for remote proofreading, and this consistency can be conveyed to the final printed piece.

Adobe® Systems is the company that developed the PDF file format, and all PDF files can be opened and viewed using Adobe Acrobat® Reader® – a free download application from Adobe (www.adobe.com). PDF is a direct development of Adobe’s own PostScript® page description language that has been, and continues to be, the print industry’s standard output format. For the most part, PDF file format has gained considerable momentum because it addresses the needs of the overall multimedia market in general.

  • Simplified PostScript Code – PDF files reduce the complexities of the graphic constraints found in PostScript files that need to be rasterized by RIP devices.
  • Embedded Fonts – The type characters and instructions for kerning and manipulating Type 1 and TrueType® fonts are placed inside the file so the user does not need the font to view, process or edit the document.
  • Compressed Graphics – File compression can be dramatic with no loss of quality of the image. Vector graphic files can be reduced to 25 percent of their original size, while bitmap graphics can be reduced by up to 75 percent of their original size. All PDF files are scalable (to 800 percent) and printable on PostScript and non-PostScript printers.
  • Forms and Indexing Features – These Enables PDF to serve as a complete Integrated Document Management System.
  • Page Independence – Single pages can be sent to the RIP, rather than the whole document, giving significant workflow benefits in the production process.

Prisma Graphic has many tools available on their website to answer your questions, so you do make the right choice

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