Something doesn't make sense here. A gray shading background in Microsoft Office applications is normally a filled vector item which has absolutely no inherent resolution. The same is true for text with a gray colorant. It is rendered on screen or in print at whatever the device resolution is without any lossiness due to upsampling or downsampling.
One possibility is that the 50% gray background that you are producing is not truly gray where in such RGB applications as all the Microsoft Office applications, gray is defined as all values of R=G=B exactly! R=G=B=0 is black and R=G=B=1 is white. Check your original Word document to make sure you have properly specified gray as R=G=B exactly. If not, fix and try again, making sure you create the PDF file using the save as Adobe PDF using Acrobat X Pro. Note that under Windows all text and vector content from Office for which R=G=B is automatically output as grayscale PDF when you create PDF with Acrobat X Pro using the save as Adobe PDF feature. If you were using something dicey like “PDF995” instead of Acrobat, it is possible that what is happening is that your grays are coming out as what we would call “rich gray” composed of C, M, Y, and K colorants, not pure K (i.e., black) and your so-called service bureau is not properly accommodating for this.
Another thing to check is transparency. For your purpose, all these items, i.e. the text and backgrounds, should be fully opaque. (In other words, 50% gray is R=G=B=127 with transparency of 0%, not R=G=B=0 with transparency of 50%) If not, it is conceivable that somewhere along the line your vector fill backgrounds and/or gray-colored text is being converted to raster images at some resolution. The fact that your service bureau is talking to you about a particular image resolution would be indicative that transparency may have been unknowingly used by you for this coloring.
I have no idea what your service bureau means by the PDF file is layered. That comment makes no sense!
Check on the ideas above and let us know what you find. Or post the file (both Word and PDF) for us to examine.
Thanks for the reply, Dov. I have to plead ignorance! All I know is that I tell MS Word to use wdColorGray125 (I use a macro to apply shading behind a word) or that I set the Font color in the Font dialog box to "White, Background 1, Darker 50%" I don't see how to load a sample file--sorry for my ignorance--or I would post a sample Word and .pdf file. Thanks again,
I've e-mailed you with information as to how to send the files to me as e-mail attachments.
As a follow-up to anyone following this thread ...
Joe sent me his PDF file. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it. All text, vector, and raster content was in DeviceGray color space. I had no problems viewing or printing any of the content on any of my devices.
There must be some issue with his print service provider with whom he will now consult!
True thanks to Dov Isaacs for his great help. I checked with other printing houses, some of whom were able to provide true gray. However, I also discovered that there is an option to "Leave Color Unchanged" in advanced print settings for the Adobe PDF printer for MS Word 2010. The default is "Convert all colors to CMYK" and perhaps I'll see if changing it to "Leave Color Unchanged" makes a difference for the printing house. I'm very impressed by Adobe customer support.
(1) You shouldn't be printing to the Adobe PDF Printer to create PDF with Acrobat X Pro and Office 2010. You should be using the Save as Adobe PDF option that Acrobat installs into Office 2010. With this option, there is no stink'in PostScript intermediate. PDF is directly generated from the Word document. In terms of the joboptions file to use, I would recommend the High Quality Print settings for best results for PDF that might need to be printed!
(2) Hopefully you don't think that I am part of Adobe Customer Support. I'm just a dumb engineer here!
Aah, I see. But when I "save as PDF" I don't have the choice of quality, as far as I can see. However, PDF files seem to use the options most recently chosen for printing to Adobe PDF (instead of saving as), so I guess I can get the control I need. Thanks, Dov!
Absolutely don't use the plain Save as PDF. That's Microsoft's PDF generator which is fairly crufty and can cause major problems with transparency, fonts, and color.
In Office 2010 applications (let's deal with Word 2010 here), Acrobat installs its own tab for PDF. You want to use the Create PDF button from this tab:
(Click on the images to get an enlarged version to view on this forum!)
You can set the joboptions via the Preferences button prior to pressing Create PDF. (The results are “sticky” and persist between invocations!)
This is where you specify High Quality Print:
You can also access the Adobe PDF creation function from the File tab selecting Save as Adobe PDF:
Again, don't use the Microsoft PDF option (has more bugs than an entomology lab and more errors than an early Mets game!).
In my ignorance, I've been doing it wrong all these years! Who knew these things would make a difference? But from now on I'll use the proper method for creating PDF files, and I'm very grateful for the guidance.
I have one problem left: I tell MS Word to print in reverse order (it's a Hebrew book, after all).
When I save to PDF of course the file is saved from front to back.
If I use Word's print function and print to Adobe PDF, Word prints in reverse order, which is what I want.
If I use the create PDF command, of course it prints front to back, not back to front.
When I used to use Acrobat 7 Pro, I could print an existing .pdf file in reverse order, but I can't find this command in Acrobat X Pro.
I looked on message boards and found a .sequ file that lets me reverse the order of pages in a .pdf file. Will that be the best approach? Here's the link: http://acrobatusers.com/content/reverse-page-order-0
Why in the world would you want your Hebrew book in PDF format in reverse order?
You still read or print page 1 first followed by page 2, etc.
Is it a matter of printing the resultant PDF file or imposing the resultant output in some way?
I produce and print Hebrew content on a regular basis and have never had the need to use any special procedures!?!?