I've recently started working at a new job on a media team and they currently convert all text to outlines before sending them to the printer. Sometimes the files get saved so we have the original, non-outline format, but sometimes it gets saved as outlines. (I am refering to other designers on the team doing this.) I've never converted text to outlines before unless needing to make changes to the type that needed it to be in outline format, but never did that to send the file to the printer.
I've been reading and am not sure on quite all the facts. I've seen that when you convert to oulines, it makes the font slightly thicker, is this correct? Is it a noticable change in print documents?
How does it work embedding fonts into a PDF? When does this work and when does it not work? How can you ensure that it will always show up the same when you send it to the printer.
I came across the "Flattenever Preview" in Adobe Acrobat Pro under Advanced > Print Production. There is an option here in the PDF to convert the text to outlines. Does this make it thicker as I was refering to before? What are the advantages and disadvantages to this?
Just looking for some useful information that I can take back to my team about converting to outlines. I know that we shouldn't be, but just want to know why and to explain it to them.
Converting text to outlines is considered by Adobe and most experts in the community as exceptionally poor workflow practice:
(1) Both printed output (via PostScript or PDF) and displayed output (via PDF) is of lower visual quality. Why? You've lost the intelligent scaling provided by the font's hinting information. Rendering of text from pure outlines is linear scaling which works great for higher magnifications, but works terribly for lower magnifications you get with combinations of serif type, smaller point sizes (such as 12pt and below), and lower resolutions such as you would have on-screen and for digital print devices (up to 1200dpi).
(2) You cannot search PDF files in which text is outlined.
(3) You cannot apply text touch-up or redaction on text which is outlined.
(4) The resultant PDF file is usually quite bloated in size and can tell much longer to RIP.
(5) If you are not careful, you will end up with effectively a non-editable InDesign document depending upon where and how you do this conversion to outlines.
The reason why this terrible practice persists is fear perpetuated by "old timers" who had to deal with dodgy, non-compliant RIPs in the past.
Around here converting text to outlines is considered bad form. Yes, it makes them bolder, and yes, it usually shows in print. The best thing it does is guarantee that nobody can edit your text, including you.
Embedding fonts does work. If the font can't be embedded due to licensing restrictions, nine times out of ten you violate the license by converting to outlines to get around the restriction. Pick another font.
If you absolutely positively have to convert to outlines for some hard to fathom reason, doing it with the transparency flattener has some advantages. First, it leaves the type intact in the document so you can edit, and that's a BIG deal. Second, things like paragraph rules and underlines are type effects, not actual glyphs (and bulleted and numbered lists have this problem too), so converting to outlines directly removes those things, and any anchored objects that might have been in the text (no text, no anchor; no anchor, no anchored object). Using the transparency flattener preserves all of those things. The caveat is that the page must have transparency or the flattener will not kick in.
Been dialoged to death "...because we've always done it this way"... "find a new printer who can handle a proper pdf"..."converting to outlines to work around embedding restictions is a violation of the font license"..."loses all the hinting"..."loses the bullets and numbering".
Real bummer to find a complex document with all the fonts outlined ain't it?
An exported pdf from ID will have the necessary fonts embedded.
I am a printer who often has come across this problem. What you ask about the flattener preview is answered by clicking here..
It does increase the file size, but as far as I can tell does not make the text "Thicker", as it does when you opt to "Save as curves or outlines" from indesign or some other application.
I have used it for printing business cards with very small text and it seems to be fine. The problem I have is importing embedded fonts into another application that I can easily print business cards from on a digital machine by applying crop marks automatically.
Let me know if this information helps.
I'm finding it pretty hard to believe that anny application that can read PDF can't use embedded fonts, so I wonder just exactly waht you might be doing that would require you to convert embedded fonts to outline?
I am using Serif's PagePlus X4 to import the PDF, which it does, but it always tries to substitute the embedded fonts with a font that's on my system. PagePlus has a cool automatic layout on the print driver for business cards. I am printing digitally to A3 sheets.
Have you looked at the Page Plus options? I know it's an inexpensive product (I'm surprised a profesional printer doesn't have a real imposition program or an imposition module on the digital printer), but perhps there's a setting for using local fonts, as there is in Acrobat or Reader, which can be turned off.
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