Global Graphics Presents PDF Efficiency Techniques at AppForum

Posted on by Greg Cholmondeley | No Comments »

Martin BaileyAt this year’s AppForum, I sat in on a presentation by Martin Bailey, Chief Technology Officer of Global Graphics on better ways to use PDF and PDF/VT for direct mailing. Global Graphics provides high-speed Harlequin RIPping software for numerous digital production press vendors – so Martin knows a thing or two about efficiently processing PDF files. The great thing about this presentation was that it provided valuable information about techniques on how to improve print productivity that don’t cost a dime. In fact, even the guide he prepared is offered for a free download.

Efficiently processing PDF file is critical in today’s production environment because, according to data Martin shared, over 85% of the market lists PDF as one of their top formats for variable data job production. This is only going to increase as PDF/VT usage increases in this space. PDF/VT helps guarantee that more jobs are producible by requiring all fonts be embedded and all colors characterized. It also supports “document part metadata” which enables connectivity to job tickets at the page level and is a key technology for variable-length personalized jobs. But PDF/VT alone does not guarantee that these files can be quickly and easily RIPped.

Martin gave examples of how, while many PDF jobs smoothly flow through a production system, you can also receive a file which looks no different than the rest but which clogs your production arteries and stops your presses. It’s these jobs that can bust deadlines and crash productivity. He gave examples of PDFs which took hours to RIP, even though they looked much like PDFs which RIPped in seconds. But the difference doesn’t need to be as dramatic as that to have a profound impact on delivery. Consider this:

  • A 120ppm sheet-fed press needs to process a page every half-second. Thus, an extra half-second per page on a 10,000 page job adds 30 minutes to the run.
  • A 5,200ppm continuous-feed DFE needs to deliver a page every 11.5ms. In this case, an extra tenth of a second on a big, million-page job will add 24 hours to the run!

So, what do you do? Start by reading the guide they produced. It’s free and available online at:

It not only provides tips and techniques for creating more efficient PDF files, it also provides background information so you understand how these tips work and why they’re important. This really is a must-read for anyone generating PDF files for production use. Some of the key areas it talks about include:

  • How to optimize images with proper resolution, cropping and personalization overlays
  • How to optimize transparencies: when to remove, when to NOT flatten, and other hints
  • Hints on how to optimize vector graphics
  • Techniques to optimize VDP layouts
  • How to optimize PDFs in VDP workflow software

This is valuable stuff, not only to your staff, but to your clients. Not only can you improve your production efficiency, but you can use this to position yourself as a knowledgeable expert to your customers. Share the guide, or share information from in in an educational session at an open house event. With content like this, everyone wins.

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