It’s a well-known fact that the most common digital file problems from ten years ago are the same digital file problems that continue to plague printers today. These problems include missing fonts and graphics, color space issues with images and illustrations, and low-resolution images, to name just a few.
Historically, preflighting was a task that was only performed by the printer in prepress. Technology advancements now allow preflighting to occur at various points in the workflow. For example, prelfighting can happen via a web-to-print interface where the errors are identified and repaired (if possible) as part of the web submission process. Designers are also becoming more involved with preflighting as new features have been added to page layout software applications. The equation is simple—the more preflighting steps in the process, the better the end result.
This brings the discussion back to a point in the workflow where preflighting traditionally didn’t happen: during design. Wouldn’t it be great to catch some many print-related problems before the file is sent off to the print service provider? What if designers could identify many of these mistakes as the job is being constructed––a kind of “pre” preflighting? There is a feature available in InDesign, called Live Preflight, which does just these things.
Live Preflight sounds exactly like what it is: it can be set up to alert designers to potential problems as they arise, rather than after the design is complete. When an error is detected as the design is being created, the problem can quickly be found and corrected. Live Preflight can be configured to alert many common file problems including low-resolution images, unwanted spot color plates, improper image color spaces, and more.
Preflighting profiles can be defined by a printer, exported, and shared with customers.
Best of all, printers can create a preflight profile to send to their designer that is specific for a particular printing condition or job. For example, a profile can be created that restricts spot colors in a document, another can be created that alerts the designer if inadequate resolution images, or if objects that have been placed next to the trim area of a page have adequate bleed. Although Live Preflight cannot identify everything that can go wrong with a file, it can eliminate some of the most common problems.
Preflighting results based on a defined profile are displayed as the job is designed.