Pre-flight? Postflight? Is there a difference, and if so, who cares? Ask anyone involved in the exchange of digital files for print. You’ll learn just how important these two terms are to print quality control in the creation-to-production workflow.
FlightCheck is the patented preflighting software by Markzware to check documents for print quality before document output. FlightCheck can scan documents for potential printing problems so that they can be corrected before printing.
The term ‘preflighting’ is the blanket term that printers have been using for more than a decade now, and it refers specifically to the process of verifying that the contents of a digital file are complete. The file should be accurately presented and prepared according to the specifications for the file’s output intention (print, web, etc.). Preflighting occurs at the native application stage, during document creation in prepress.
As the name may subsequently imply, ‘postflight’ is a term meaning essentially the same thing. A file is submitted to a software application that scans its contents and reports on its findings. However, it differs as to where in the print workflow this verification happens. Preflighting suggests checking digital content before it leaves the content creator’s desktop. Postflight describes what printers and service bureaus do to files that have been converted to prepress formats, such as an accredited standard like PDF/X-1a.
Why is it important to distinguish these two terms? Are we merely complicating matters? Indeed, not. The print industry’s experience with digital file creation and exchange has matured. The paradigm has begun to shift. Many printers are quite content to continue to accept problematic digital files from their client base. These printers may either charge or not charge for making any repairs. Smart printers have realized, to take advantage of the benefits of digital workflows, it’s time to share the responsibility for quality control.
Therefore, it makes sense that printers begin to evangelize two messages to their customers:
1. It’s important to understand our specifications, which are in place for a reason. So, the digital files you submit to us should be prepared according to these specifications, if you:
- want to ensure the best possible reproduction quality,
- would like to develop a streamlined and cost effective workflow, and
- wish to forego the cost and time it takes to fix your problematic files in favor of using these most valuable resources for other purposes.
2. Preflighting and postflight are no longer considered to be the sole function of the print supplier. It is a shared responsibility. Content creators should take advantage of low-cost, simple-to-use tools to ensure that digital files are accurately prepared before sending to a print partner.
Digital File Verification Software Facilitates both Pre- and Post- Flighting