In my December 2021 blog I discussed how to fix the geometry of a page using Heidelberg’s Acrobat plugin Geometry Control. It is part of the suite of Acrobat plugins called PDF Toolbox. Prinect PDF Toolbox – Geometry Control

Now you may ask, how do we achieve some of the things I discuss in an automated way? Heidelberg’s workflow is broken down into logical steps called Sequence Templates. They guide every part of the Production Manager workflow. The Sequence Templates with these abilities are called Qualify and Prepare. I give a general overview of these two sequences here. Qualify and Prepare – Part 1 and Qualify and Prepare – Part 2

Preflight is available in both Qualify and Prepare. We are going to focus on the Qualify Sequence. Under the Normalizing step we can decompose the pages and reorder them into the correct order. We would do this, for example, in situations where files are supplied as printer spreads instead of single pages (where they are twice as big as the defined size).

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The rest of the page processing options we are going to look at are in the Preflight. Our Preflight not only checks the file for errors and give you a report, it can also fix some of the issues and make changes to the PDF. The operators can be given consistent choices in the workflow that change the pdf. Small changes can still be made to the PDF in Acrobat, but you can also process multiple PDFs that need changes fast and easy. If we look at a Qualify sequence, we can open the Preflight step and are presented with a tidy set of tabs presenting us with all the different fixes and checks that can be applied.

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Under the Advanced tab, I can change the page rotation just by submitting a file or files to the Qualify or Prepare where this is configured.

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The pages can be scaled either by a percent or by setting a target size. I can also control whether this scaling is proportional or not.

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Lastly if we look in the Pages/1 Ups tab we get a bunch of tools to check and override the Trim Box if there isn’t one.

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Why is Trim Box so important? PDF workflows can use the trim box to position the pages in an imposition.

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We can also set a dynamic rule to fix incorrect trim boxes. For example, if the Trim Box is bigger or smaller than needed, we can change it to a certain size in a specific position or dead center of the Media Box in the PDF. Otherwise, the position will be wrong in the imposition.

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These switches here let you do all kinds of wonderful things.

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From top to bottom.

  1. If somebody has combined a bunch of PDFs together, it is possible that the pages combined have different trim sizes. We can catch this.
  2. Someone has used the wrong rotation tool in Acrobat. Have you ever seen a page rotate by itself in a workflow? I have, but it doesn’t happen to me anymore because I can set the workflow to automatically recognize and ignore it.
  3. Somebody combined PDFs for a job and they did not pay attention to the orientation in the different files. We can catch this and try to fix it.
  4. The Media Box and Crop Box should be the same. This can manifest itself as the pdf looks cropped different under different conditions.
  5. There are a few places you can make sure the PDF is PDF/X compliant. For more info on that please refer to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PDF/X.
  6. If you run a document and it must have a certain number of pages in it. Say, for example, a 56-page booklet or magazine, you can catch this. This setting is a bit more specific and could be used with this older blog entry of mine, Automated Booklets With the DFE, about how to use the DFE to make booklets. Any failure notice could be emailed to those concerned, like everything else caught in our Preflight.
  7. It can be very difficult to search by hand for blank pages in a huge job. This saves the operator from having to check page by page.
  8. I am not that old, but there was a day when most prepress systems required the application outputting to them that the jobs were pre-separated. With InRIP separation and now working in composite with PDF, we don’t need it. If the art is pre-separated there are a lot of things that cannot be done easily to the pages.
  9. In that bottom right-hand corner, we can basically set a tolerance for how precise checks on things that are measured, like a trim box.

To properly build a job and especially if we are trying to reduce touch points and automate repetitive tasks we need to check and make sure the job passes the right criteria. I hope my glimpses, sometimes into the minutiae, of our workflow help you push your system further. These are tiny details in our workflow, but they are important and well thought out.


 
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    Joe Banich
    Prinect Product Specialist
    Heidelberg Canada