Thursday, July 24, 2014

10 Reasons To Send Us PDF Files

Having just spent twice as much time as usual trying to print Excel files today, I am making a general appeal to all our customers to always send us PDF files for printing. 

Canon came up with an alarming statistic that although more than two thirds of all business documents are now sent across the Internet as a PDF file – only 10% of our computers are capable of saving a file as a PDF.

Created in 1993 and perfected over more than 20 years – PDF’s have been one of the most welcome software developments for digital and document printing companies.

Editing documents in the world’s most popular piece of software for document printing - Microsoft Word - illustrates the problem.

Word files can be easy to create, save and send. However, if you save a Word document on two separate PC’s with different printer settings you will almost certainly get problems with pagination – line breaks, margins and page breaks can easily be altered. 

That 75 page document suddenly becomes 77 pages when it is printed and all the headings have jumped from the top of one page to the bottom of the next.

If you transfer between different versions of Word or between a PC and a Mac, the situation may be even worse.

Microsoft PowerPoint can be just as problematic.  And Excel can be a real nightmare!

So here are 10 Good Reasons why there are more than one billion PDF files in existence today and why it would really be appreciated if you sent us a PDF rather than your documents or digital printing in any other format:-

1.        What you see is what you get! 

PDF’s are viewable on any device.  They exist independently of the hardware, software and the operating systems.  It doesn’t matter what version of the software you run or whether you use a Mac or a PC.

The clue is in the name – PDF stands for Portable Document Format and is designed to be universal and work across all platforms.

We get digital artwork for print in every possible format from Microsoft Publisher for PC or Mac, to Quark Xpress for PC and Mac or InDesign for PC or Mac.  The permutations run into thousands!

Even if we had the same piece of software there could be big problems when we send a file to print.

It is not always the case – but in most circumstances – “what you see is what you get” when we print a document from a PDF!

2.        Trusted Security.
Many industries deal in sensitive material or intellectual copyrights that need a high level of security. 

The password protection option with a PDF allows both recipients and those receiving the file to know that their information is secure.

Even legal professionals trust PDF’s as their preferred file format.

For an electronic document to be admissible in a court of law, it must be created in a file format that cannot be altered without leaving an electronic footprint.

PDF’s satisfy that need.

And because records are stored in PDF format they are likely to remain the legal standard format for many years to come.

The originator can set passwords to protect the content or create permissions to disable printing or modifications and even add watermarks or encrypt the data.

Remember though – let us know the password for printing otherwise your delivery may be delayed!   We had a real rush job last month and were unable to print because we were not supplied with the password.

3.  Quick and Easy to Create.

Creating a PDF is no different to adding an extra printer option on to your computer.

You simply select the PDF creator as one of the printer options and can usually select the desired resolution – whether you want to just need the file to be read or printed contents. The press-ready option with some creators is designed to supply the highest resolution file for printing.

Your document is converted to a PDF file with a couple of clicks of the mouse and you can store it anywhere you wish on your computer.

Simply send it as an email attachment or upload the file for printing to our FTP Server or one of the file transfer services, like Dropbox.

With some software you can always easily convert them back into their original format if necessary, so that further editing and amendments can be made.

4.    Decreases the File Size.

You can usually convert any file into a PDF without sacrificing quality.   

The PDF should effectively embed all your fonts, text and graphics. 

This ensures that even if recipient doesn’t have the same fonts loaded on their computer they will still be able to view and print the file correctly.

When the PDF is created it also tends to compress large files so that it is easier to transmit over the internet.  On average it compresses the file to approximately a quarter of the original size.

This saves transmission time when sending the files or uploading.

There may be a slight deterioration in quality when printing or even some colour variation but this is often too small to determine and not usually applicable when printing documents.

With digital printing we sometimes print from the original file if there are no obvious issues to maximise the quality.

We have had a few problems with PDF’s but the number of issues is very small relative to the number of documents we produce.

5.   PDF readers and creators are Free.

Adobe Reader is a free download and can even be pre-loaded on new PC’s and Macs for reading documents on the Internet.

Anyone you send the file to should also be able to see the full version of your document on their screens and print it out without a problem.

Adobe and a few other suppliers can provide software for creating and manipulating PDF files although these come with a range of costs.

However, there are some excellent PDF creators that can be downloaded and used for free on the Internet.

For 20 years or more we have provided a “Useful Link” on to some of these.

CUTE PDF is a good option – and we have arranged for many clients to use the free download when sending us the order.

6.   Create Interactive Documents.

To create a fully interactive experience, the latest versions of the PDF software will allow you to add hyperlinks, rich media, music, movies, and many other advanced features.

You can even create interactive forms for a multitude of applications to save time, increase reliability and reduce the cost of postage of the more traditional methods of capturing and sending data.

7.    Mobile Access.

Mobile devices are taking over from PC’s and are beginning to dominate the digital world.

Fortunately, this is not a problem. 

Adobe Reader is available on any device, so people can read your PDF files anywhere they want, while still accessing a lot of the same functionality they would get on a desktop.  

8. Completely Searchable.

Users can easily find what they are looking for through a quick search.

PDF documents can even be organized with a table of contents that link all sections to the appropriate pages in the file.

There are two forms of PDF – ones created from an electronically processed document and a scanned PDF which has searchable capability.

Using PDF as the basis for document storage and archiving results in numerous benefits to companies wishing to reduce paperwork and free up time and space for more productive use.

And with password protection they can be stored without any tampering or changes applied.

9.   Provide Print imposition. 

There are some clever optional software features for specific applications and uses in different industries.

Within the print industry alone there are some excellent features to make the printing a lot easier.

You could merge multiple documents, such as spreadsheets, photos, and presentations, into a single PDF file.

You could simply impose files ready for printing - this is not only a great time-saver but saves any paper wastage as well. 

Some add-on programmes are designed to search out for any issues prior to printing.  This is designed to highlight problems such as low resolution images that would result in poor quality printing.

10. Document Tracking and Analytic Capability. 

In addition to the security measures mentioned previously, recipients can also view who has had access to the information within the document.

If the password is breached, the appropriate actions can easily be taken.

Anyone who originated the document can allow any of their colleagues to mark up and comment on the contents. 

This will allow them to respond and suggest modifications but still leave you in control of editing the original.

So these are just 10 of the obvious advantages. There may even be more.

They are just some of the reasons why we would recommend you obtain probably the most important piece of software that has been created and developed over the last 20 years. 

You can then email or upload a PDF file to Direct2Print confident in the knowledge that the quality will meet your expectations.

Especially for our own peace of mind!!

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