Re: preflight & fonts

Subject: Re: preflight & fonts
From: "D. Margulis" <ampersandvirgule -at- WORLDNET -dot- ATT -dot- NET>
Date: Sat, 26 Sep 1998 09:02:39 -0400

bjf -at- wavefront -dot- com wrote:
> In our previous episode, D. Margulis said:
> > MS Office is not designed to produce work for the press. Every time you
> > open a Word file, it looks to see what your default printer is and
> > reflows text to accommodate it--not something you want to happen when
> > you send a Word file to a printer.
> Uh, that's not just a Word problem. As I understand it, that's
> inherent to any Windows program -- Frame or PageMaker included.
> (Dunno about Quark, but I'd guess the same thing.)
> I've had decent luck sending PostScript files based on Word to service
> agencies (using their printer driver), but that was before Acrobat --
> I'd agree that's a safer solution. But that's pretty much true for
> any program.
> Or am I missing what you're saying?


You're missing what I'm saying because I said it _very_ badly.
Immediately after I sent my post I realized that I had used the
unqualified word _printer_ to refer both to the networked laser printer
and to the company that puts ink to paper. By the time I finished
rereading my post, even I didn't know what I had meant.

So let me try to clarify.

In PageMaker,you can specify a "target printer," which should be the
output device that the printing company uses. Page layout proceeds
according to the specifications of that machine. You can then print
proofs on your local laser printer without the text reflowing. If you
select a different target printer--because another print shop came in
with a lower price, for example, and uses a different output device--the
text reflows for the new target printer. But you can change your default
Windows printer six times a day and PageMaker won't care.

Word and Excel, though, work strictly in the context of the currently
specified Windows printer. If the current print driver is a PCL driver,
the program works with the fonts it knows that driver can handle. If the
current print driver (that the user has selected) for the same device is
a PS driver, the program works with a different (maybe overlapping)
collection of fonts. Graphics may be handled differently as well. If you
live on a network with multiple printers and you happened to switch to a
different printer yesterday before you shut down, then that new printer
is your default when you start Windows today, and the next thing you
know, every document you open reflows. This is bad behavior from my
point of view, but for many users I guess it's desirable.

In any case, once you generate the PostScript output from Word or Excel,
the pagination is frozen. However, the original question was about
preflight checking, and the easy way to see what is in a PS file is to
convert it to PDF and view it in Acrobat. PDF files are also extremely
compact compared to the PS files they come from, and you have the
explicit ability to embed fonts. You can embed fonts in a PS file as
well, but that requires a bit more fussing to do so in a legal manner.


I don't have any leads on jobs for tech writers, but if you know any
software developers looking for a great opportunity, send 'em to me.

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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