Pre-Press at Printers and Publications Tools

Subject: Pre-Press at Printers and Publications Tools
From: Harold Henke <hessian -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 1995 09:53:34 MST

In regard to Word, FrameMaker, Interleaf and so on, you might
want to consider this. I visited a print company, two days ago,
to see their pre-press operation. (Pre-press is where the printer
gets your documentation ready to create press plates. Most pre-press
operations now use softcopy from you as the source. This printer
said about 80 percent of all their print jobs were softcopy submitted
by their customers.)

The pre-press manager said that they preferred jobs to be created
in FrameMaker or Quark Express. The reason being these applications
gave them flexibility to massage the data before creating the press
plates. Some of the massaging that goes on includes messing with text so
that the text fits on the page, making sure color separations are correct,
making sure registration is correct and so forth. (Much of this work is
required because the printer prints at 1200 DPI, 2400 DPI, and higher and
the printer needs to make some adjustments to your source for these higher
resolutions. Especially when color is involved.)

All in all, if you send or plan to send softcopy input to a printer's pre-press
department, find out what applications they use to create their press plates.
You may want to use a similar application to create your documentation.

PS> I must add that if you are printing a black and white manual, chances
are you can create a PostScript file from your favorite word processor
and the printer's pre-press room will have no problems with your file.
But if you are using color or your document is full of complex graphics
(please don't ask me to define complex), you WILL want to find out what
application your printer is using in their pre-press room.

PPS> I make no endorsement of any of the products listed above; just passing
onto you what the pre-press manager told me.

Harold Henke
Information Development
Pennant, the IBM Printing System
Boulder, CO

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