Making a PDF...out of almost anything?
There are so many different applications out there to create a file for print that it’s nearly impossible
for every Print Provider to have every one of them.
And THEN there are the newer versions of documents that aren’t backward compatible. Shipman
currently uses Adobe InDesign CS6. What if you have an InDesign file made with the newer
Creative Cloud version and no access to InDesign at all to save it down? What’s the best
way to provide a file so your print provider can use it? (The first time!)
Even if your Print Provider can’t open a file with that third party application that you got for free
from a developer, like Barbie’s SuperFun Print Party Plus! (I just made that up, so don’t sue me if
you can’t find it online!), it’s more than likely that the print menu has a “Save as
PDF” or “Print to PDF” option. (PDF stands for “Portable Document Format,” so-called because
it’s pretty much a universal file format, with all of its elements self-contained.)
If this Print to PDF option isn’t available, it IS possible to print directly to a Generic Postscript
Printer Driver (you can download one for your specific operating system, but most computers
come with one already). You simply choose the Postscript Driver as the “virtual” printer in your print
menu rather than the normal printer that you use and “print” the file to a location on your hard
drive. This will generate a PostScript file, which can easily be distilled into a PDF using Adobe
Distiller. If you don’t have Distiller, don’t worry! WE do! Just send us the PostScript file and we can
probably distill a PDF from it with little or no problem.
In conclusion, while it’s very possible that a low-end desktop publishing program doesn’t have the
right bells and whistles to create good spot colors, or convert text to outlines, making a PDF is a
GREAT PLACE TO START. It gives your print provider a LOT more options than just providing a
native file, since a PDF can be opened with Acrobat, Photoshop or Illustrator.
Next up: Setting up Better PDFs
Do you have a nagging technical problem you’d
love us to address?
We’re here to help!
Contact the Shipman Prepress Department at
or email us at