Let’s look at a very specific feature in my blog this month. It is part of Prinect PDF Toolbox – a group of plugins for Adobe Acrobat Pro developed by Heidelberg. Acrobat plugins are a way for third parties to extend what Acrobat can do and work on either the Mac or PC versions.

The specific feature we are going to look at is Geometry Control. Geometry within a PDF allows it to define important things for prepress workflows, the most important being the trim size. Heidelberg has made this tool a lot more helpful then just editing the trim boxes of PDFs, though. It’s surprising that in this day and age that so many printers still receive jobs sized wrong or the geometry is just incorrect (e.g., those jobs provided in readers spreads instead of just the individual pages with the correct final trim size). This tool can help you fix these. Most of the functionality we will discuss is also available in the preflight step of our Production Manager workflow, so if you consistently have issues with certain files, you can configure your system to fix them on the fly.

Prinect PDF Toolbox can be accessed in Acrobat from the Plugins Menu. From there choose PDF Toolbox > PDF Assistant Geometry Control.

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From here we are presented with tabs showing everything that this tool can do. Let’s look at some of the neat functionality.

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In Page Sizes, we can edit the Trim Box which PDF workflows use to determine the trim size of a document. In many cases, the artwork is the correct size but does not position itself into the imposition correctly because the trim is defined incorrectly. The trim box is, to the everyday Acrobat user, an invisible box that defines where inside the pdf should be trimmed. Tools like PDF Toolbox allow us to see them and edit them, not just the trim box but other boxes within the PDF. For example, the Media Box controls the overall size of the PDF.

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Normally we don’t visually see these boxes, only something like below, the trim marks and bleed in the corner of this job.

When I first open Geometry Control, it shows me the hidden trim box information. The green lines are the invisible definition of the trim size of this job that Prinect Production Manager will use to determine how to place the page in the imposition.

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There are several helpful things this tool can also do to make fixing incorrect jobs much easier. Under the Format tab, we can fix the orientation of the page. We can also use this to mirror the artwork. We can scale the whole page, just the artwork inside the page, or scale it to a target size if we are trying to fit it into a specific trim size and it is not currently correct. It is surprising how much this actually happens still to this day – but now you have to tools to fix it

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Regroup is a very clever tool. Say you are provided a saddle-stitch job that instead of being single 8.5” x 11” pages, they have built everything in spreads of 11” x 17”. On top of this, they have built it in Reader’s Spreads, meaning they laid it out the way it will be folded. The first page is the outer back of the cover and first page is the front cover. This can be a lot of work to fix without this tool. With it, we can tell it to cut the pages into their proper trim sizes and reorder the pages to the correct order. To do this manually can be very tedious and prone to errors. My example below is to split the 8.5” x 11” in half and reverse the page order. The green line signifies where the split is occurring.

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The Content tab allows us to center the artwork if it isn’t to the trim. We can also clip artwork, so it does not hang off the media box, and remove it completely if it is hanging in the space outside of the media box. This happens with poorly created artwork and can cause problems like font errors for a line of type that exists outside of the artwork that is being printed. This will also clean up these extraneous objects that can create unnecessary work stoppage and create more touch points.

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Lastly, let’s look at Bleed. There are still many occasions when bleed is not supplied or not enough. This tool clones the edge to create the standard bleed required for your shop.

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Geometry Control is mainly for fixing deficiencies in the artwork you are supplied. This is done to individual Acrobat files and could be to fix a one-off issue. As I mentioned earlier, many of these tasks can also be completed inside the Production Manager workflow. If, for example, you always receive particular artwork with deficiencies, whether packaging, commercial, and/or digital, you can fix these issues in an automated and consistent fashion every time. In my next blog we will look at how we can accomplish these fixes in the workflow.


 
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    Joe Banich
    Prinect Product Specialist
    Heidelberg Canada