The main goal of the PDF file format was to create the means for presenting documents in a “manner independent of application software, hardware and operating system.” One notable function that’s missing? Printing the document.
This is not to say that it isn’t as easy to print a paper copy of a PDF document, as it is to print a file from a word processor such as Microsoft Office. Printing a PDF file is as simple as clicking on the print button. However like any other type of document there are things that might go wrong when printing a PDF. Luckily, these issues are rather simple to address.
Missing fonts in a PDF file
One of the biggest problems that you may face when opening shared documents is the fact that if the font used in the document is not installed on your Computer. When that’s the case, the software application will simply change the font type to its default. This could alter the layout and the typography.
PDF editor software allows you to embed the fonts you’ve used in your document. Using the process defined by the PDF software application, you have the ability to embed all fonts, non-standard fonts or even no fonts at all. You may decide to embed only some of the fonts due to size restrictions, as each embedded font causes the file size to increase, or due to licensing issues with the fonts used. If you do not embed the required fonts in the file, there is a high likelihood that there will be problems printing the PDF as well.
Colors in a PDF file
When you create a document using PDF software, or any other application for that matter, you may face a problem with the printed document looking different from how it appears onscreen. While resolution, monitor quality, printer quality and other variables may play a part, the biggest culprit is often that colors presented on a monitor are in RGB (red, green and blue) while the file will use CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) when printed. The conversion from one to another may cause degradation issues resulting in a printed document that does not look the same as its on-screen counterpart.
You can overcome this issue with a well-designed document. Choosing clear images and using image-editing tools within the application will help you minimize problems that can happen in the color conversion process.
Layering your PDF document
When creating PDF files, you have the option to use layers to help protect your work. If you make a mistake, or need to remove something, you can delete the layer that the offending content exists on without altering any other part of the document.
While the layer feature of PDF software aids you in creating a document, it may cause issues when it comes to printing since you have to flatten the layers, which can lead to mistakes being made in the final output.
Flattening layers as you complete certain elements is one way to help alleviate this problem, however, each time you flatten layers, be sure to save a new version of the document. Store the original file, with all of the layers intact, as a separate file in case you ever need it.
PDF software rarely presents display problems when files are opened on a computer or device, or even when they’re printed. It’s always good to be aware of the issues you may run into, however, and understand how to fix common problems.