It is also important to know about the different ways a PDF file can be printed because this can affect the final printed output. There are two methods that can be used to print PDF files. The first is the Application/Printer Driver method. As its name implies, the Application/Printer Driver method requires two pieces of software in order to print a PDF file. The Application is software that can open and view the PDF file (e.g. Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader). The Printer Driver is software used by the application to convert its documents into a format that can be printed. Both the application and a printer driver are required to print the document.
The second method is called Direct PDF Printing. This method uses an application to submit PDF files directly to the printer. The PDF file is converted in the printer using a PostScript® interpreter or processor. No printer driver is required. (Please note that not all printers support this method.) Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each method can aid in getting troublesome PDF files to print properly.
Application/Printer Driver Method
If Adobe Acrobat software can open a PDF and it is displayed correctly on the screen, then there is a good chance that the PDF will print correctly. Both Adobe Acrobat software and the printer driver work to convert the document into a language the printer can understand. Adobe Acrobat software and the printer driver handle most of the processing and this occurs on the computer. During this process Adobe Acrobat software also flattens any transparencies in the file. The printer is given a rather complete file that should print correctly. The disadvantage to this method is there is no easy way to handle batch printing of multiple PDF files. But, it is a good fallback when other printing methods fail.
Direct PDF Printing
The major advantage to the direct PDF printing method is its ability to batch print multiple PDF files in one job. However, there are certain caveats to be aware of when using this method. There are many software and printer companies that have written their own interpreters to emulate Adobe PostScript software. Some are better than others. But, even when using true Adobe PostScript 3™ software, there is no guarantee that all PDF files will print correctly. Since Adobe PostScript 3 software can only process specific versions of PDF files submitted using the direct PDF printing method. Not all PDF files are supported, or can be expected to process correctly. As seen in the table below, anything created with Acrobat 7 software or later has the potential to have issues with direct PDF printing. Keep in mind all the third party software applications on the market that create PDF files. Some applications generate PDF files that print without problems; some do not. Some PDF creators even make different types of PDF depending on the content in the drawing. As you can see, there are many different types and versions of PDF files that you may run across.
To learn more about PDF Printing, download the Free PDF Printing Explained White Paper.
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