Acrobat: Introduction

Todays tutorial we was introduced to Adobe Acrobat, although familiar with Acrobat, we were told that it is a very important program within Adobe and essential for a serious Graphic Designer.  This is because Acrobat allows you to set up and check a document for its required purpose- to ensure you get the most out of that document and in the easiest and best way possible. Therefore the program is used in advertising, publishing and digital media and printing. However many designers overlook the importance of Acrobat.

We began by focussing on print production tools using a document provided by our tutor Steve. The first tool we looked upon was the “output preview”.  This setting allows you to see the colour separations of the PDF document, for example, cyan, magenta etc.  It is very useful for if you use spot colours by mistake as it allows you to identify.  Spot colours are expensive in printing therefore want to be prevented.  This is due to the colour being a pre mixed ink.  Its use would cost more money- unnecessarily.  On the document used, a spot colour was involved to print the telephone number at the bottom of the page, this is something which could be transformed into a cmyk colour to identify efficiency in costs. The output preview also allows you see search for specifics within your document, such as RGB colours which are commonly used for web design but for printing required cmyk or problems may occur.

The next tool we looked upon was the “object Inspector”.  This tools allows  us to select a certain aspect such as the image or text, and provides details of that object.  This is simply done by clicking the object within the document. By doing this you can see whether or not the content within the document is printable; for example if the image is below 300 dpi it is best for a print, if over- web.  The image can be compressed if necessary. When using images you don’t want the quality to be affected. When using Acrobat, it is common that if designers have downloaded a font, the type can be protected and will not want to be printed.  In the object observer it lets you know why the text will not print.  However you may still have problems converting the document to a PDF.

The next tool we only touched upon, the “pre-flight” tool.  This can fix any problems found within the document, rather than changing the original and checking it again. With the colour settings, you can find and transform all colours to cmyk by clicking and fixing.  If the program has been successful in completing the task, it will notify you, but you can check by seeing whether or not the colour spot has disappeared from the output preview. Another method of altering colour- more obvious method, is by using the “colour convert” tool.  This can be useful for when a client may want only 2 colours, or at the last minute can only afford a couple prints of colour and the rest black and white (grayscale). Having to go back and change the original document, the settings simply help you do this.

The next tool we looked at was “fix hairline”.  If you create a hairline in a program, for example Illustrator, and scale it down- it may stretch out and become too fine and unable to print.  This can be fixed easily.  By using the point settings, you can make sure each hairline is set to the same size.  By doing this it evens out the sizing ensuring they are all equal.

The last tool we looked at was the “JDF” TOOL (Job definitions).  We only touched upon this briefly.  This simply allows you to add notes to the document which the printers may need to be aware of. Examples of use can be with binding, non-standard page sizes and printing on the spine or spot colour information.

This tutorial covered a lot of information considering it was our introduction. I was unaware how important Acrobat is to a designer, and therefore found today useful. I found the information a little overwhelming, and have become aware that I need to know more about this kind of stuff as a designer in regards of printing and file formats.  However I have gained some knowledge today and look forward to the next tutorial.


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