FAQ About PDFs and Their Benefits

Man designing a project for print on a laptop

Last updated on July 16th, 2021 at 02:29 pm

Q: Why do printers recommend that my file is sent as a PDF?

A PDF, which is short for Portable Document Format, was created to be the most universal way to communicate with documents. Submitting a file as a PDF allows the creator to control many aspects of their file, such as verifying color mode, embedding fonts, compressing file size, and combining files. On top of giving the creator control, a PDF allows a printer to make necessary changes to the file.

Q:  Does the version of Photoshop/Indesign/Illustrator/etc affect how my file is seen on another computer?

Creators run the risk of the recipient of the file not having the same version on their computer, which would not allow the Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator, etc file to open. However, PDFs can be opened and read despite the version. The reduced risk makes PDFs the ideal file type to send to most printers.

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Q: My file contains unique fonts throughout my file. How can I guarantee that all fonts will print as intended?

When you embed a unique font, you are now allowing your PDF file to display text the way you had designed it, whether the computer you are viewing your file on has the font or not. Unembedded fonts can be an issue that goes unnoticed until the final print is received. Some programs will automatically replace an unembedded font with one that the program thinks is similar if it doesn’t have the font downloaded. 

You may have used a fun font such as “Rock Salt” when designing your file on your computer. However, when it is sent to another person, that person’s computer may not have “Rock Salt” installed! In this case, that person’s computer will use a default font (such as “Arial” font) to display everything that was designed in “Rock Salt”.

PDFs allow you to check if the fonts are embedded. It is as easy as clicking the “ctrl” and “d” keys at the same time. Then a pop-up window will appear and under the “Fonts” tab, there will be a list of all the fonts used in the file and state if they are embedded or not.

Q: Why shouldn’t I just convert/submit all of my print files as JPG/JPEGs?

In addition to a larger file size, JPG/JPEGs have more limitations than a PDF. For example, a JPEG/JPG does not have color formatting information, such as color mode and color profile information. This takes away information that the printer needs to know how colors in the file should be processed. A PDF has this information which allows the printer to know what colors were intended and also gives the printer the ability to make color adjustments as necessary.

Q: Why are PDFs smaller in file size?

Sending large file sizes can be tricky and take a long time! PDFs can compress the size of the file without decreasing resolution quality. In addition, users using Adobe Acrobat Pro can merge multiple files into a single larger PDF, making it easier to keep files organized.

Q: I have designed my file in Word/Illustrator/Publisher/etc. How do I view my file as a PDF?

Most programs easily give you the ability to export the file to a PDF even if the computer does not have Adobe Acrobat Pro. Once you have converted your file to a PDF, you can view your new PDF with Adobe Reader, which you are able to download and use for free!

Do you still have questions about PDFs?

Contact our customer service representatives at 1-877-649-5463 or service@printivity.com to have all of your PDF questions answered. Email us your file and we will run a complimentary file check before your order is placed!


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