10 reasons why you should preflight PDF files


Preflight PDF files to help you save time and costs,
increase customer satisfaction by improving quality control,
and allow you to hit deadlines and avoid reprints.

Every day thousands of printers, publishers and designers are saving millions and ensuring their quality control by preflighting PDF documents.

Very simply put, preflight is checking the quality of PDF files before they get processed. Preflight checks whether the characteristics of those files are in sync with your desired output.

Preflight ensures not just the technical content of a PDF file but also the printability of the layout and design based on the printing technique, printing device and substrate used.

20% of printers preflight their PDF's

But why do you need to preflight a PDF file?
They look mighty good on screen and you can print it on your $ 200 printer, why can't it be printed on a $300,000 press? And who pays for reprints?

Many errors that are detected by PDF preflight software, can't be detected in any other way. And those errors do create trouble afterwards!

PDF preflight infographic

To ensure a PDF is printed as you expect, quality needs to be assured. That sounds like an essential task right?

Our solutions also offer correction of the most common prepress errors, saving you even more time.

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10 most common problems in print
that you can prevent by preflighting your PDF files


For print output, the image resolution needs to be higher than for viewing a PDF on a screen, a general rule of thumb is the resolution should be 2 x your halftone screen ruling. Otherwise you will see jagged edges and artifacts in the image.

Read more about preflighting on image resolution.

preflight on image resolution
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PitStop PDF Preflight checks the resolution of images in your file.
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Unintended RGB images in PDF files can cause unexpected results after processing. The images could be of low quality, the final printed color could be incorrect and there may even be a color shift.

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PitStop PDF Preflight checks PDF files for RGB images and even converts them to CMYK.
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Most designers like to work with spot colors (e.g. Pantone), especially in logos. But in many cases, these logos need to be printed using only CMYK inks, an extra 'dedicated' ink for the spot color is more expensive.

PDF preflight on spot colors
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PitStop PDF Preflight checks on presence, number and suffix of spot colors.
PitStop PDF Preflight can handle color conversion from and to spot colors.
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preflight PDF on font issues

Numerous problems can occur with fonts
E.g. if a font is not embedded, the output equipment will need to replace that font with another font. This font might look similar, or not. In all cases it will be a different font. Small type can become hard to read when printed, especially if it's printed in multiple colors.

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PitStop PDF Preflight checks font embedding, font size, font type and number of separations in combination with font size.
PitStop PDF Preflight can automatically download and embed missing fonts from the cloud via the Monotype Baseline service.
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Ever seen a job where a white element looks great on the screen or paper proof suddenly disappears when on press? White elements could be set to "overprint", which means that the white ink will be output on top of the inks below and basically disappear. Unless you are in packaging or use a specific white ink in your production process, the white elements should be set to "knock out".

PDF preflight on white elements
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PitStop PDF Preflight can check if white elements are set to knock out.
PitStop PDF Preflight can automatically fix white elements so they knock out.
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PDF preflight deep black

How do you define a nice deep ('rich') black, one that won't cause trouble on a printing press? Every company has their own recipe for a nice black.
But a black that carries too much ink can be a problem for some printing methods.
A black that's too heavy can cause web breaks on a web press and marking or set off.

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PitStop PDF Preflight can specifically check for too high Rich Black color values.
PitStop PDF Preflight can reduce or standardize the Rich Black values to your own values.
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Although transparency is now a widely accepted functionality within most design and page layout applications many printing companies are still wary of PDF files containing transparency and like to give them specific attention to ensure they are processed and imaged correctly.

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PitStop PDF Preflight can check files for transparency.
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PDF preflight layers

Layers were introduced with PDF version 1.5. These layers can be visible, or hidden. If your proofer or your RIP doesn't support PDF v1.5 or higher and there are layers in the PDF, they will be placed on top of each other.
If a file contains a hidden layer, which is set to to 'Always print', it will be printed.

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PitStop PDF Preflight can check if hidden layers are present in the file.
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If a file that contains images or content that extend to the edge of the page and it contains no or not enough bleed, white borders can appear after cutting the sheets.

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PitStop PDF Preflight can check if bleed is present in a PDF file and add it automatically.
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PDF preflight ink coverage

Excess ink coverage causes marking from one sheet to another, long drying times and increases the risk of spoilage. Wet paper can cause registration issues and can cause you to have to slow the performance of a press to ensure the final printed quality.

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PitStop PDF Preflight can check and reduce ink coverage.
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Preflight benefits

Enfocus has the right solutions to guarantee that
PDF's flow reliably through production.
Our solutions come with award winning Certified
technology and offer correction of the most
common prepress errors.