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Architecture-Student
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Print PDF vs Save as PDF - Quality Difference?

Nov 11, 2010 1:11 PM

I know there's other posts about PDF vs Save but I didn't see my issue answered, so here it goes:

 

I print a lot of large-format (24"x36" and larger) Illustrator files that contain both vector drawings and raster images.  The guys at my print center insist that we do a print to PDF and not a save as PDF.  So my questions are: 

 

Is there a quality difference between printing and saving? 

Does one have better vector quality?

Does one have better raster quality?

 

 

Thanks!

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 11, 2010 3:03 PM   in reply to Architecture-Student

    A.S.,

     

    May I suggest you ask the guys at your print center exactly why they insist on Print to PDF? Ask them what problems they've experienced with Save As PDF.

     

    Some users have been able to produce smaller file sizes when printing some PDFs instead of saving them. Many prefer the greater control afforded by the Save As PDF dialog. The Adobe folks who have visited this forum tend to recommend the Save As route.

     

    But I make the suggestion so you can determine whether this is merely your guys' superstitions or outmoded work flow or something peculiar about their equipment or something else. Listen in particular to how clear and specific their explanation is. It will reveal a lot.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 11, 2010 3:17 PM   in reply to Doug Katz

    could it be that when you print to pdf the file is uneditable (i think, it's been a while since i've done it), and when you save as pdf it is editable? maybe their only concern is that if there are any mistakes, they want to make sure they are not to blame.

     

    i dont know... just throwing it out there.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 11, 2010 5:03 PM   in reply to Architecture-Student

    FWIW - I have been told that Print pdf writes Postscript compliant code whereas Save As pdf doesn't and that's why there are less problems when printing to an output device with a front end Postscript RIP. I don't print much from pdfs anymore but several years ago when I did I found this wisdom to be true. FWIW.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 11, 2010 6:20 PM   in reply to rich_oh

    I'd really like (for both the OP and me) for others to weigh in on this. I have never gotten the impression from my reading nor my discussions with other artists nor threads on this forum in recent years that Save As PDF is in any was less PostScript-compliant than a Print to PDF. But we needn't wildly and wrongly speculate about this. There are people here who know.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 11, 2010 8:25 PM   in reply to Doug Katz

    It's a smaller file size and I believe it RIPS faster. But I think it is mostly a file size issue.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 11, 2010 8:39 PM   in reply to Wade_Zimmerman

    Hi Wade - Just curious... if the file size is different between the 2 methods wouldn't that mean the underlying code is different too? One of these things is not like the other?

     
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    Nov 11, 2010 8:56 PM   in reply to rich_oh

    That is the part of the pointI think. It has been stripped of things not related to output is my belief.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 11, 2010 9:02 PM   in reply to Architecture-Student

    I am dealing a lot lately with PDF's. I'm in the process of writing a book, It was formated  in word and I had to pay someone to create a "Print Ready" PDF.. I had no clue all the work that goes into creating a Print Ready PDF. I'm not sure if there were using illustrator or not.

     

    As far a vector I know you can blow that puppy up to billboard size, not sure you want to do that tho :O)

     

    Blessings,

    George

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 11, 2010 9:13 PM   in reply to Wade_Zimmerman

    I beleive you are correct, but most of my knowledge on this stems from these forums.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 11, 2010 9:36 PM   in reply to Wade_Zimmerman

    So that means the 2 methods are different. All things are not equal here. I've been thinking back... if memory serves the difference between the 2 that I found w/ EFI Postscript Level 3 RIPS attached to Canon and Xerox printers was that printing to pdf would eliminate the white lines that would print at the boundaries of the atomic regions when the pdf was generated via Save As. I also remember the good old days when we first wrote a .ps file and then ran that through Distiller to get a pdf to print. Now I'm dating myself. And to get a print ready pdf (even now) from InDesign you need to Export because Save As doesn't work. (And don't get me going on Adobes infuriating inconsistencies between the "Suite"!) Just for kicks I built a simple Illustrator file, did a Save As and a Print pdf and then opened the resultant files into Word. The code looks very different. I'm not saying one is superior to the other but they do not mirror each other. All things are not equal. Like fraternal vs. identical twins?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 11, 2010 10:10 PM   in reply to rich_oh

    If i remember correctly printto pdf works similar to the .ps to distiller. In that things that are irrelevant are thrown out, such as multimedia features. But my memery isn't that good on this subject. so...

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 11, 2010 11:10 PM   in reply to Architecture-Student

    bottom line... do as your service provider requests. if/when there is a problem the ball is in their court.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 10, 2012 2:12 PM   in reply to Architecture-Student

    An important oversite is accessibility. Apparently screen readers, like JAWS, used by visually-impared students, can NOT interpret PDFs created via printing. However, PDFs created by "Saving As" CAN be read by JAWS.

     

    Since colleges, like where I work, are required by law to be accessible ("508 compliant"), this becomes a huge issue. Therefore I'll be recommending that all faculty create PDFs using the "Save As" function, large file or not.

     

    BTW, I suspect the problem with reading "print" PDFs may have something to do with JAWS inability to interpret Postscript.

     

    Any ideas anyone?

     

    If so, feel free to e-mail me at slanders@cuesta.edu.

     

    Thanks.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 11, 2012 6:27 AM   in reply to Architecture-Student

    On one of my jobs I did testing to improve workflow at a company, and found that by printing to .pdf write on WinXP at the time, that I could get the .pdfs significantly smaller(due to some buried settings) so we could attached a dozen .pdfs to one email and not go over the email attachment limit. This was for trade show graphics so the page sizes were large also. I realize you are looking for the oposite which is quality not file size, but just wanted to let you know my experience.

     

    I really can't see there being a difference in quality between both settings, as long as both settings do not have compression on them. The print center guys will have to give you more information, as they may have found something that works better on their systems, or at a minimum they may believe that to be the case.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 11, 2012 9:43 AM   in reply to Architecture-Student

    Not a matter of "quality" per se, but you usually use Print to PDF in order to do things you can do when printing to a printer (in this case, a virtual printer)…such as print to color separations.

     

    JET

     
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