Adobe Acrobat: Stevo’s Last Workshop

31/03/2014 § Leave a comment

Today was the last workshop we will have with Steve, which is a shame as he is a really good teacher!

We’re looking at Adobe Acrobat and the importance of it. Adobe states that “Acrobat is the most important program of the Adobe suite“. If you’re looking to be a certified print specialist, you need to pass an Acrobat exam, and another in either one of Illustrator, Photoshop, or Illustrator.

  • Go to and watch the Acrobat 10 Essential video series – all 502 minutes of it! – and by the end of it, you should have a full working knowledge on the software.

The Workshop

Open Acrobat Pro, click on the ‘Tools’ menu. The most important tab is missing, Print Production, and Acrobat hides it by default. To view it, click the top right drop down and tick ‘Print Production’. Acrobat distiller (completely different to Acrobat Pro) will convert a postscript file (a very cut down version of a PDF – a PDF is more advanced).

  • We were advised to get into the habit of saving our documents as PDFs and printing from Acrobat instead of Photoshop etc. This means that if we have any trouble with colouring during the printing process, it can be altered directly from Acrobat.

Acrobat allows us to troubleshoot separations (of colour like CMYK) amongst other problems.
Output preview’ > make sure that the (colour) separations we choose for our documents are colours we wish to use, i.e make sure we don’t have any spot colours selected that we don’t want, as this can become very costly. To convert any back from the pantone spot colours un-tick the box. Also remember to make sure we’re printing in the correct output such as CMYK or RGB, making sure that all the colours are either or – not a mixture.

  • A PDF is a soft proof – something on the screen and a hard proof is the physical copy.

Object Inspector’ preview by default is blank but by clicking on objects on the file with the crosshair cursor it will tell you if it’s protected or if there’s a problem, like a missing typeface for example. This tool also gives the resolution, pixels, size, colour space etc.

Simulation Profile’ is what the print material will be; use the U.S Standard Web Offset Press if I don’t know what the print profile is.


This is the most important dialogue box! Clicking the drop down ‘Show all’ will display other options to filter results:
Online publishing’ will optimise the print for online publishing.
With this option, we want to fix the accidental spot problem > select the ‘PDF fixups’ tag, which will drop down > select ‘Convert to CMYK only (swop)’, converting the spot colour to a process colour > click on this option and press ‘Analyze and fix’ at the bottom right > saving it as a new file. When looking at the ‘Output preview’ now, the spot colour should no longer be present.
The ‘Flatten transparency’ fix option is important. Blending modes can cause a lot of problems, with little bounding boxes present, so run this fix up option to fix it. Any errors with my document, always go on Acrobat and check on ‘Output preview’ & ’Preflight’ to rectify any issues.

Convert Colours

Clients may need to drop the price for various reasons, usually happening at the awkward stage of printing, meaning you’d usually have to go back and alter the file(s) to comply with the new budget. However, there are other ways such as ‘pre-print’. To set up criteria that converts all images to greyscale > under matching criteria > Colour type dropbox ‘Image’ >
Under ‘Conversion attributes’ Convert to profile > conversion profile drop down ‘Grey Gamma 1.8′ (1.8 being a lighter and white, and 2.2 being darker)

Add Printer Marks

Basically self explanatory.

Fix Hairlines

Hairlines are straight lines in documents, such as borders. These hairline strokes can be a problem with print, with inconsistency of these lines being present. This can occur when you scale things up or down, you increase/decrease the scale AND the stroke.

  • If anything foes wrong, PDF my document and run Acrobat.

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