Re: techwr-l digest: July 27, 2000

Subject: Re: techwr-l digest: July 27, 2000
From: "David Seid" <dseid -at- access-laserpress -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2000 12:38:28 -0700

Yes.creating a PDF can greatly simplify the printing process. As Ted
indicated, you should (1) Create a Print Optimized PDF and (2) Use embedded
fonts. If Adobe Acrobat tells you that it can't embed the requested font, it
may be because the font is copyrighted and embedding it results in copyright
infringement. The solution is to create a separate file for that font and
provide it to the printer. Or, perhaps more legally correct, create a
PostScript printfile which can be converted for ease of handling.

The problem with most (color) screenshots, is that they were created for
viewing on a computer monitor at a low resolution. What works on a monitor,
however, won't satisfy the requirements of a DocuTech. The solution is to
recapture the screenshot and save it as a higher resolution file, then
replace it into the document file. Otherwise, you'll find that the images
are fuzzy and, possibly, illegible. Also, most screen captures are in RGB
which is ok unless you intend to print in color, then you need them
converted to CMYK. Word only outputs RGB color at this time.

Another thing, all colors are printed in gray scale tones by the DocuTech.
This can cause visual confusion when the difference between the selected
colors-as seen in a gray scale-isn't particularly great. Dark blues, reds,
and blacks can be virtually indistinguishable on a gray scale. Try to select
your colors to ensure the maximum difference when they're printed in black
and white.

We much prefer it when our clients send us PDFs or PS files. As you
correctly noted, Word files are subject to the most unpleasant surprises
when your fonts and our fonts don't exactly correspond (which is most of
the time because Word relies on the printer driver to determine line endings
for text).

Another useful tip, if you create reduced size documentation (like 7" x 9")
and also want to distribute the in PDF format as well, is:

- Create only one original file in 8.5 x 11 (Word likes this format better
anyway) using even left and right margins.

- Use a larger font, say 12 points for your body text, design your page
layout so that it meets your needs (check how it will look at an 80%
reduction when you proof it.12 point becomes a very readable 10 point).

- Then let your printing company scale it to 80% when they print it. If they
are truly efficient they will print these 2 books at a time (for runs over
say 20). Otherwise they will be passing production inefficiencies on to you.

- You then have a PDF file that prints an attractive full size sheet, when
printed by the user!

Voila.What you end up with is a single source file that supports both
on-line and print documentation.that will fill an 8.5 x 11 when the end user
prints the electronic version.

We provide clients using Acrobat 4.0 with a preferences file that optimizes
PDF files for both web and print (DocuTech) distribution. I would be happy
to provide that to can use it with any printer that is Acrobat 4.x

David Seid
Access Laserpress, Inc.
dseid -at- access-laserpress -dot- com

> Subject: Printing from Word using DocuTech systems
> From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
> Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2000 10:29:55 -0400
> X-Message-Number: 24
> The user manuals I've produced for two of our products (in Word97
> contain many screenshots, which means they photocopy really badly. We
> printing enough copies to make it worthwhile to go with offset printing,
> Docutech seems to be the most likely compromise solution. Since I'm
> attempting this for the first time, I'm looking for advice on how best to
> prepare the files. I've seen recommendations to send PDF, to send a
> Postscript printer file created with a Docutech printer driver, and to
> simply send along the Word file and let the printer deal with it (the
> recommendation of my current service bureau). I really don't much like the
> last option, since there will be considerable unpleasantness if the
> has a different version of the Windows fonts than the ones we're using--I
> don't even want to think about all the problems with line breaks and
> symbol characters. Which brings me back to the notion of using PDF or
> Postscript instead.
> Any tips, warnings, war stories, or suggestions (other than "use a real
> program")? I'll be talking to another service bureau today to find out
> specific recommendations for their specific Docutech setup, but I'd like
> have some facts in hand to perform a reality check on the advice I've
> received.
> --Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
> geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

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