Paper/Copy Quality Summary

Subject: Paper/Copy Quality Summary
From: Lorraine Kiewiet <lorraine -at- EZ-DATA -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 6 Feb 1998 09:35:34 -0700

Here is the summary. Thanks to all who contributed!
Would you post a summary of your responses? I have had the same
problems. I misguidedly asked our buyer to get me a carton (10 reams) of
24-lb laser quality paper, and I got 25% watermarked rag which looks
great for resumes but my copy shop had a horrible time with!

Debbie Ashcraft
Jenkon International, Inc.
I usually use paper from Hammerhill. I buy cheap stuff for drafts, though.

Talk to the place thatr's doing the printing. They can recommend the paper
that best suits their machine. Also, try having them print on slightly
heavier paper. You can use 20lb stock for your originals, but print the
final product on 22lb or 24lb stock.

When you create the originals, use a straight paper path -- have the output
come out the back end rather than out the top. You'll have to collate the
document, but it will feed into the copy machine better.

Keep your paper sealed. I use a really large ziploc bag for storing my
good paper. If it gets a little damp, that can adversely affect the
quality of the output.

If you have to print out a large original, consider doing it in stages.
Laser printers can get pretty hot, and the pages produced at higher
temperatures are sometimes not as clear, and have a tendency to curl.

Check which copier your print house uses. No matter how good an original
you create, if the photocopier only produces crummy 300 dpi, guess what you
get? Crummy 300 dpi results. Some newer machines print at better
resolutions; some are better for half-tones and photographs.

Experiment, expecially with pictures, graphics, and grey-scale originals.
Again, some machines are better then others.

Try other print houses. Some are better than others. Especially consider
finding a place that can produce paper output direct from disk using
Docutech machines. That way, you don't have the camera-ready copy to worry
about. Just insist on a proof copy, or have the right of final refusal on
a one-off job if they screw it up.

Win Day
Freelance Technical Writer/Editor
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
mailto:winday -at- idirect -dot- com
If at all possible, I would suggest a printer that has a Docutech and
can accept PostScript files.

I've been out of touch with our printer for the past 18 months (new
org chart, others handle printing), but when I worked closely with
him, there IS a difference in product. And new papers were being
produced all the time. I'd contact the printer and look at his
samples. He'll know what will give your company the best bang for
their buck!

Good luck!
Cheryl Dwyer
Attachmate Corporation
Specialty Products Division
cheryldw -at- attachmate -dot- com
Also consider what copier the copy shop is using. Often, a shop will have
higher quality machines that you can have them use, but you have to ask.
Many times, the price is the same! I know that this is the case with the
Kinko's where I worked. They have the "regular" machines, and then they
have the 5090 (better), and the DocuTech (best...a 1 million dollar

Ask 'em about it.

-David Castro
techwrtr -at- crl -dot- com
"Laser print" or "Laser premium" paper from a reputable mill
(e.g., Hammermill) 24-lb. (28 lb. would be even better). Also,
try another copy center, or complain to the present one and
tell them you want the best quality copies they can produce.
I don't know if it will improve the copy quality but a nice paper that
can be put through a photocopier that is heavier weight and copies well
(especially for double-sided) is a 60 lb offset paper. Ask your printer
to get some in- its better than the 20 lb standard Xerox type paper.

Laurie Morgan
Winnipeg, Manitoba
The best solution is to find a print vendor with either
a DocuTech or LionHeart system, and provide electronic
source. In this way, every copy is a laser-printed master.

The cool thing is, the cost per page tends to be lower than
the cost per page for straight duplication services. Go figure!


Anne Halsey
jmh42 -at- aol -dot- com
I don't think your problem is with the paper, but with the
Try to save the document as a "postscript" file and send the file
to the printer to print direct from the file. Find a printer who
do this, then every copy is an 'original'.

But if it IS a question of paper, use an "opaque" smooth-finished
white paper that is about a 60-pound weight.
Depending on what you can afford, the higher
the "rag" content, the better the product.

Good luck
I agree with John Wilcox. I'm sure if you look into DocuTech you'll
find it perfect.

The DocuTech is like a very high-speed photocopier, but as well as a
paper master it can work directly off a PostScript file.

The basic procedure is that instead of printing to your LaserJet you
'print to file', which saves the output as a PostScript file on your
disk. You send the file to the print shop, either by diskette or by
e-mail, and they print X copies on the DocuTech.

The only extra thing you'll probably need to do is to install a
PostScript printer driver. Many people recommend the Apple LaserWriter
II NTX driver. You don't need the physical printer of course -- it's
like a phantom printer that's only used for printing to file.

The process is cheap and fast and I find the quality excellent. We
used to get our manuals photocopied from paper masters, and they
looked cheap and nasty.

I've attached a message that appeared on the Framers list recently,
summarising many issues to do with DocuTech and PostScript printing.
It's very long and probably more than you need, but it should answer
most of your questions.

Stuart Burnfield "Fun, fun, fun
Functional Software Pty Ltd In the sun, sun, sun. . ."
mailto:slb -at- fs -dot- com -dot- au
Have you thought of having it printed instead of copied? Systems like
Docutech print directly from master disks at up to 1200 dpi (maybe more)
and provide much better quality.

Damien Braniff
Technical Author
PAC International
I print from a HP LaserJet 6MP to generic copier paper and submit it to
our copy shop. At my request, they copy the master to a 70# offset
vellum and the quality of reproduction is very good.

If you are sending laser quality work to the copy-house and getting bad
stuff back, you might want to consider a different vendor. They should
be able (in my experience) to give you original-looking copies from a
good laser print. The paper I use for my master hasn't been an issue
for me.

If your copy-house has the capability, you might try giving them the
pages electronically. They can then "print" directly from the original
If your Docutech vendor can only give you 3-day turnaround, I'd say look

for other vendors. There are a lot of Docutech systems out there and in
many areas there is excess capacity, making it a buyer's market. And
since PostScript (or PDF) files compress well and travel well over phone
lines, you don't even necessarily need to deal with vendors in your own
geographical region if you're willing to pop for overnight shipping
At my last company, we dealt with a local Alphagraphics franchise
location in central New Jersey who could deliver small quantities
(10-20 sets) of shrink-wrapped, 3-hole punched manual pages by close
of business if I sent the PostScript file to their BBS by noon. Perfect
binding would have pushed this out to the next day, but that's still a
lot better than 3 days.

Fred Ridder (mailto:f -dot- ridder -at- dialogic -dot- com)
Senior Technical Writer
Dialogic Corporation, Parsippany, NJ

And to keep our marketing people happy:
Get the Dialogic Edge at:
Something you might want to consider if you need a fast turnaround from
your printer...

I believe many Kinko's stores now have DocuTechs. At a former employer,
we used Kinko's when we needed something printed by DocuTech, but needed
a fast turnaround. Our local Kinko's could often provide us a 24-hour
turnaround on short print runs. You might check with a Kinko's in your
area to see if they have a DocuTech near you. They may be a bit pricey,

*this is not a sales pitch for Kinko's...I do not now nor have I ever
worked for them, but we have gotten good results from them when we were
in a bind.

Melissa Fisher
mfisher -at- mobsec -dot- com

Lorraine Kiewiet
Manager, Technical Documentation
E-Z Data, Inc.
918 East Green Street
Pasadena, CA 91106
Voice: (626) 585-3505 ext. 6206
Fax: (626) 585-3550
One thing that can be said of the period is that most writers don't reach
it soon enough.
++++++++++++++++Opinions are my own and not those of E-Z

Previous by Author: I APOLOGIZE : Re: When to use modular help
Next by Author: Intro to an Intranet
Previous by Thread: Re: QUESTION: Legal liability for incorrect documentation
Next by Thread: Justification for task-based documentation

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads

Sponsored Ads