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What's the best strategy here?
For one thing, shouldn't they use "standard" fonts?
Ok, I looked it up:
From Adobe [adobe.com]:
PDF is a universal file format that preserves the fonts, images, graphics, and layout of any source document, regardless of the application and platform used to create it.
Sounds like your designer screwed up somewhere.
My understanding is that you can "embed" fonts in Acrobat regardless of platform.
the deigner may get better results by turning the fonts into paths
That should shrink the file size considerably. If the designer can't do that, find a new designer.
Your main problem is that your newsletter is created by a "designer".
Designers who haven't worked with web materials just aren't used to thinking about file size, they only think about visual impact. But if they have are willing to listen, they catch on quick.
I worked with a designer who made a living doing PowerPoint presentations and creating rather amazing animations. His first animated gif for a website was several hundred kb. I explained a few approaches and showed him my version of his test file - I made a 12 kb file which looked almost identical to his.
He's now turning our excellent work (and his PowerPoint files are getting smaller, too.)
I don't know why exactly, but I've found recently that I can get much smaller pdf's when I convert to pdf from Word - instead from a PageMaker document. The same might be true for Quark - I can't say for sure.
Because Acrobat is used for setting up files for a print house, it can contain a whole lot of information that may not be needed for a simple web download and home printer. I'm guessing that Word never sets up that kind of data in the first place.
Two questions remain for me:
1. What are the "common" fonts a on a mac that I should tell the designer to use? I'm on a pc, so yes, it's arial, times - what about on a mac?
2. She's making a two page newsletter using illustrator, and putting the whole thing in one .ai file. Wouldn't it make more sense for her to make two illustrator files to create the pdf?
You can check your pdf, if you have distiller, by opening the file in Acrobat, and clicking on Tools/Consultant/Check_use_of_space or whatever it is in English (I have a French distiller now).
Pagemaker or InDesign (or Quark if that's her flavor) would be much better choices.
Or, you can create an HTML document, and open it into Acrobat, and then save it as a PDF. Not as pretty as the layout apps' output though.
Couple of things. Illustrator is ok for pdf as long as the designer saves text as outlines, for non standard fonts, or as above by using standard fonts like Arial.
The designer will have to save each page as a seperate PDF file from "save as" under illustrator.
Open acrobat and add pages and interactivity there.
Thats all i do and i have made hundreds of pdf's.
save each page as a seperate PDF file from "save as" under illustrator.Isn't that a lot less efficient than Distiller? I mean, you have *very* few options for adjusting the compression, etc. In my experience, save as produces much bigger files than Distiller - but then, maybe I just don't know how to use Illustrator well enough! Also, saving text as paths makes for a pretty hefty file-size increase!
Thanks for confirming the one-page-per-file question. I really can't figure out how this designer made a two-page acrobat file from an Illustrator file that includes both pages side-by-side!
All I do when i save print stuff for the web is (Save for Web in Photoshop 7,) to your optimization preferences. Then open that up in PS& and save as a PDF. Granted some quality is lost but sometimes you have no choice.
Done like this all fonts will be embedded. Okay just thought i'd give u another option.
use COMMON fonts like Arial, Times, etc.
This thread is making me worry about the pdf files that I've created. Precisely because some of the fonts I like to use are not very common, I've been converting some of my marketing materials, created in Word, to pdfs, assuming that this would preserve faces regardless of what's installed on a user's machine. Have I been wrong in this assumption? I always thought that pdfs were the universal format, independent of platform or installed fonts.
I always thought that pdfs were the universal format, independent of platform or installed fonts.
They CAN be... if you embed the fonts in the PDF file. However, if you want a small downloadable newsletter in PDF format (as the original poster specified), you don't want to bloat the file size with frilly fonts.
You can 'partially' embed a font, so you're not stuffing the entire alphabet in there when you've only used ten letters, but by and large it's best to use common fonts and leave the embedding alone when you want small file sizes.
(Mind you, I am a font addict, and it hurts to take my own advice there, so I create text images in Photoshop when I absolutely MUST have an odd font for a word or two.)
I've been doing a bit of research on this issue, because one of my clients requires a tightly formatted newsletter. Some of this information is probably well known to many, but I thought it would be good to put the information here.
Acrobat Reader includes a few basic fonts when it's installed. Adobe calls these the Base 14 fonts. You can count on these, so they don't need to be embedded:
- Courier (Regular, Bold, Italic, and Bold Italic)
- Arial MT (Regular, Bold, Oblique, and Bold Oblique)
- Times New Roman PS MT (Roman, Bold, Italic, and Bold Italic)
Notice - no Helvetica! Also notice, Arial MT not plain-old Arial. Arial MT usually comes close enough, but I've heard that there can be notceable differences. When in doubt, I embed.
So what happens if you don't embed? There are two special fonts (Adobe Sans and Adobe Serif) that Acrobat uses as substitutes when a non-embedded font is called for but not present on the user's machine. The Acrobat engine stretches or compresses one of these fonts to ensure that the text in the document does not re-flow. But it can sure make for some pretty crude looking lines of text.
They CAN be... if you embed the fonts in the PDF file.
Hmmm.... How do you know when you're doing that? I've been creating my PDFs by printing in Word 97 and selecting Distiller Assistant v3.0 as the printer driver. I am guessing that my FrizQuadrata BT isn't traveling very far.
Also, while we're on the subject, how do you control page breaks in PDFs? On a two-pager I've done (in Goudy OldStyle), the page break comes late... ie, I get an extra paragraph on the first page in the PDF... but if I try to change anything, like adding a few blank lines or changing margins or increasing font size slightly, I end up shortening the first page, and there doesn't seem to be anything in between. This is all on a PC, with docs originally created in Word.
If your designer is using Mac OS X, have them Print... and then Save As PDF.... I don't know what characteristics the resulting file will have, but it's definitely quick and cheap to try.
This is all on a PC, with docs originally created in Word.
Sorry... can't be much help there. For one thing, I'm on Mac. For another, I only use Word when I absolutely have to.
I had to convert 30+ pages of oversized images and irregular formatting from Word docs to PDF on a Windows box a while ago, and the only thing I remember specifically about it was that I had to re-install Acrobat once, got the Blue Screen of Death three times, spent 10x's as long on it as I would have with InDesign and Acrobat on my Mac, and never want to use that combination of software again (Word/Acrobat/Windows) again as long as I live.
But check your Distiller preferences and see if it has any options specifically relating to font handling...
I learned that it is essential to communicate up-front to the designer that the product will have two distribution formats: one commercially printed version, and one computer-printer printed version.
While most graphic designers are aware of the constraints and possibilities of commercial printing, I have found few who give any thought to the the computer-printer environment's requirements. So when you can't find a designer who's Internet-savvy, you can alternatively give them some guidelines for designing a publication that will ultimately be distributed as a PDF. A short selection from my rules of thumb:
1. Most computer printers can't print to the edge of the page, so "bleeds" will get chopped off. Typical printable margins for laserwriters and inkjets range from .25 to .4 inches.
2. Pages are single-sided and have no left or right page orientation. If repeated elements such as page numbers are utilized, remember that they must consistently appear on every page -- they cannot be, say, only on the odd pages that are the "right-hand" pages in a commercially-printed publication.
3. Printers may be grayscale or color, so the publication should be readable and attractive when printed either way. Beware of putting text in colors that render too light to be readable on non-color printers. Beware also of color screens behind text that render too dark on non-color printers and make the text unreadable.
4. If the publication is likely to be printed, 300 dpi is usually good enough resolution; you are not just designing for 72 dpi screens.
There's also the excellent point made above about using standard fonts like Times and Arial when a distinctive font is not necessary. That can keep the file size down since those common fonts don't need to be embedded in the PDF.
What other advice would you give a designer about preparing products for distribution as PDFs?
As for making pdf's from Word, it totally depends on what software you're using. If it's one of the cheap progs now available, well, "you get what you pay for." If it's Acrobat, then avoid using the "buttons" that Acrobat adds to the Word menu bar, and use print, and choose acrobat. Then, if you click on properties, you can choose which setting you'd like, and even fine-tune it if you like.
What other advice would you give a designer about preparing products for distribution as PDFs?
Explore the distiller options. Make sure that the PDF output is set to optimize for 72 dpi images; and also that the output is not set for print. Acrobat can output files for use for printing and output files suitable for the web. The difference in file size can be an order of 400kb for print and 47kb for web.