Is the quality of my print job in jeopardy if I send PDF, instead of Quark files, to my printer?

Answered by the experts at EU Services

Recently we have had to convert our Quark 6 files to PDFs for some of our print vendors to be able to produce for us. Either they don't have Quark 6 yet or they are having problems with it. Am I compromising quality by sending them PDFs instead of the original Quark document or will the final printed piece be of the same quality?


The issue you are running into is not unique. Printers have been slow to upgrade to Quark 6 on the Mac for a couple of reasons. First, Quark 6 will only run on Macs with OS X. Many printers have not migrated completely to OS X mainly due to the way the new OS handles fonts. Quark also has its share of problems and simply put...the output is unpredictable. Not a good thing in our business. Whether this is an Apple or a Quark issue or both is up for debate. The bottom line is that not all printers are accepting these files. PDF then becomes the bridge between content creators and print service providers.

If the PDF is created using the proper postscript settings and Distiller job options, you can expect the document to print with the same level of quality you would get from the Quark file. Today, many printers use workflows that are based on PDF, such as Creo's Prinergy and Agfa's Apogee. These workflows use PDF pages to create both the proofs you see and the plates that are used to run the job on press. The key to using PDF for document delivery is to make sure that you create a hi-res, print-ready PDF. Your printer should be able to send you a small .joboptions file that will preset your Acrobat Distiller settings and help you to choose the best way to create your PDF.
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