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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 32 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Printer-Friendly PDF?  (Read 1932 times)
Cynthia Celeste Miller
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Posts: 268


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« on: November 03, 2008, 01:30:51 PM »

How does one go about making a printer-friendly version of an existing PDF product?

This may sound like a rather silly question, considering that I've been involved with PDF publishing for years, but I've never needed to do a printer-friendly version until now. However, upon releasing Cartoon Action Hour: Season 2 on Halloween, I've been bombarded with emails asking for one. I'm clueless in this department.

I'm assuming that any element that uses color (sidebars, header bars, etc.) should be made so that they have no fill. Beyond that, I'm figuring that the removal of artwork is going to be necessary as well. Removing such things will change the whole layout, which means that I'll basically have to re-do the table of contents and index.

Have I covered all the bases in this post or is there more I should know?

Thanks.
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Cynthia Celeste Miller
President, Spectrum Games
www.spectrum-games.com
Vulpinoid
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Posts: 936

Kitsune Trickster


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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2008, 03:26:00 PM »

What are you hoping to achieve with this printer friendly PDF?

I've been working for a company that produces the pricing tickets that you see in retail chains...in this case, most stores have different printers with different margins, inks and print quality. I've found that you can never get a consistent product produced from a range of different printers, and trying to achieve this is an exercise in futility. This will get complicated further when the US uses letter sized paper in their printers while much of the rest of the world uses A4.

Most file types are far worse than PDF for standardisation purposes.

The best I could suggest is ensure that there is decent white-space around the page. Keep images to 100dpi or so to reduce spooling times and minimise download bulk...this also means people will purchase copies of your book for the better quality images (if that's the path your taking).

I could offer a few more suggestions, but you'll have to let me know what specific issues you are trying to overcome.

Note that producing pages that are able to be photocopied is a completely different story to producing pages that are able to be printed. For photocopies you'd be looking at minimizing gradients and coloured images.

Fill us in and we'll help you out.

V
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
Cynthia Celeste Miller
Member

Posts: 268


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« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2008, 03:30:51 PM »

What are you hoping to achieve with this printer friendly PDF?
V

Basically, the customers want something that won't suck up their printer ink when they print it out.
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Cynthia Celeste Miller
President, Spectrum Games
www.spectrum-games.com
iago
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Posts: 863


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« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2008, 03:40:11 PM »

Yeah, for my printer-friendly stuff I eliminate all background textures and try to go easy on the ink-heavy art.
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Cynthia Celeste Miller
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Posts: 268


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« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2008, 03:45:32 PM »

Yeah, for my printer-friendly stuff I eliminate all background textures and try to go easy on the ink-heavy art.

Yeah, almost all of my art is ink-intensive, as it's full color. Would you suggest eliminating the art outright?
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Cynthia Celeste Miller
President, Spectrum Games
www.spectrum-games.com
iago
Member

Posts: 863


WWW
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2008, 04:11:10 PM »

Yeah, for my printer-friendly stuff I eliminate all background textures and try to go easy on the ink-heavy art.

Yeah, almost all of my art is ink-intensive, as it's full color. Would you suggest eliminating the art outright?

If your stuff has a black line-art basis behind the color, you could probably play with photoshop, making it greyscale, dinking with the contrasts and whatnot so most of the now-grey colors wash out, leaving you with the black line. 

But if you're doing that level of effort, losing the art entirely might be easier. :)
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Vulpinoid
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Kitsune Trickster


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« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2008, 04:56:26 PM »

Given that perspective, I've gotta agree with Fred here...to a point.

It might be worth having two versions, one with images, for those people who like to print things out for themselves then stick it in a binder (I know a few people who do this), and another version that's really "image-lite" or "image-zero" for those people printing out on a budget.

I realise that this is extra work for you, and I am intimately familiar with the concept of "not being able to please all the people all the time", but most people like options and this certainly makes the product more user-friendly.

V
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
btrc
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Posts: 328


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« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2008, 01:52:16 PM »

There's printer-friendly and cpu-friendly, and they are often but not always the same. Printer-friendly, as mentioned before, generally means not using up gobs of expensive toner or ink. If your project relies on lots of color pics, not much can be done. You felt the need for the big color illustrations as part of the project, so removing them is probably going to detract from it.

But, it's a given that someone who can download a file with lots of color images is going to have a decent connection, so what you could do is also include a greyscale version of the file. This also gives better quality output for those folks who only have a black & white laser printer.

CPU-intensive means doing images and graphics that optimize quality and minimize processing time. If you're using line art, can you make it high-res bitmap instead of greyscale? Are you using lots of processor-intensive Postscript commands like fancy font effects or gradient fills? If you did any post-pdf editing, did you compress the pdf afterwards? Have you stripped out unnecessary overhead from the pdf file?

I've been doing this for a long time and each job has its idiosyncracies. I tend to create the largest, most complex postscript file possible, and then work my way through the Acrobat Distiller options until I get a combination of file size and quality that I can live with.

Greg Porter
BTRC
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