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Adobe Illustrator/some pdfs not printing correctly


QUESTION: I'm using PDFs from Finale music files, and recently noticed that when I email the PDF to my local copy store, the printouts are missing some details that are clearly visible on the Preview of the PDFs. And they made sure their ink setting was good. As I said I am viewing my PDFs with Preview but I am not sure that I have Adobe Reader on my computer. Is this possible and if so, how is my computer creating PDFs?
I have heard that I can compare the Preview with looking at the PDF in Adobe Reader but I searched my computer and there is no "Adobe Reader." It has been suggested to me by a Finale tech person that I save the Preview as “Create Generic PDFX-3 Document” and to use that instead. What is the difference between the PDF I have been using (Preview) and the Generic PDFX-3 Document? Hoping you can clarify this for me!


Acrobat Reader is free for download, but will only allow you to view PDFs. Everything you are hoping to do is not available in Acrobat Reader. You can print from Reader as an image, which might solve this. Anything more you will need to purchase and use Adobe Acrobat Pro.  

Saving to a PDFX-3 will not help you with this issue. It's just an ISO certified format.  If it is not showing up when you save form your Finale software to Preview, it won't in PDFX-3 either.



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I'm simply not understanding parts of this.
1. I have assumed all along that I have PDF files on my computer. If I do not have Acrobat Reader, are those actually PDF files?
2. When I send the PDF files to my copy person (Office Depot) I assume they have
full Acrobat capability there; that is why they they can print my PDF files. But how am I able to print out my PDFs on my home computer if all I have is Preview?
3. If I download the free Acrobat Reader and it will only allow me view, then how is that any different from viewing them as Preview, which is what I currently have? Please set me straight if you can. Thanks.

ANSWER: Hi David,

Yes you have PDF files on your computer generated by your music program. Acrobat Reader is another viewing program, like Preview.

You should be able to print them out at home using Preview. If you cannot, you have bigger issues with these files and/or your setup.

Preview is the built in Apple viewing software. While it can read and view a PDF, it is not exclusive to PDFs (you can view other image files also). Acrobat Reader has more options for printing than Preview since it is built exclusively for PDFs.

I would try downloading and opening these files using Reader and see if that will allow you to print. If not, I'm not sure how much help I can be since I am not familiar with your music software and how it is generating the PDFs. Perhaps their customer support could be of more help if Reader does not solve your issue.



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks. One more follow-up here.
Assuming that my copy store has Acrobat Reader in their printing facility, is there a printing option within that program that I should advise them to use in order to get a more accurate printing result?

Hi David,

The printer should have the full version of Acrobat Pro. There really isn't a print setting that will improve the quality of the original file saved from your music program. What you see on screen is what you will get printed. Your printer should know what they are doing, they are the experts.



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Kevin Stohlmeyer


I am an Adobe Certified Instructor, Adobe Community Professional and Adobe Freelance Professional. I travel nationally speaking on Adobe Creative Suite applications, including Illustrator and design. I can answer questions about Adobe Illustrator version CS1 through the all-new Creative Cloud.


I am an Adobe Certified Instructor for Adobe Illustrator and have been teaching this software in college/higher education and for an Adobe Authorized Training Center since 2000. I have been an active user of Adobe Illustrator as a professional graphic designer since 1994. I am also the author of the Adobe Illustrator Certified Expert Exam. I am a published author for Adobe Inspire Magazine, writing articles on Creative Suite applications including Photoshop, Illustrator and the Adobe Touch apps.

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