I a. What is Preflighting?
Preflighting is the process used to check digital files for potential printing problems prior to output. For example, you can preflight before exporting to PDF or printing. FlightCheck, the preflight solution from Markzware, is the patented technology for preflighting. This process can best be done on native files, or source files, every time before saving or sending the job onto another party. (These file types include Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, QuarkXPress, and the like.) FlightCheck provides thorough, yet simple, print quality control.
FlightCheck preflight software scans documents for problems with images, colors, fonts, and other issues detrimental to print reproduction. It creates a report that itemizes these printing problems and suggests how to correct them to ensure print quality. To preflight, one must understand problems that can arise during film output and printing.
You can use preflight software like FlightCheck or check digital files manually. The goal is to get great print results from source digital documents. FlightCheck provides quality print assurance.
I b. Why do we Preflight?
When a digital document is output, there is usually an expense involved. Be it the cost of time, plates, paper, or an actual press run, these costs can be substantial. Preflighting helps minimize the risk of wasted money and time by catching errors in digital documents before they ruin a print job. When we check digital files while still in the application, we can fix errors before spending time and money on output. Another advantage of preflighting is that it can identify problems that often go unnoticed until proofs or even press sheets are made.
By getting in the habit of preflighting for print quality assurance, many of the headaches involved with digital prepress and creating PDF’s are neutralized. Preflighting files before sending them to a printer can greatly improve the efficiency of the prepress workflow.
I c. Who should Preflight?
Anyone involved with creating or outputting digital documents really should be preflighting. If you are responsible for creating documents, you’ll save time and avoid frustration by preflighting them before they reach a service bureau. Using preflight software will also improve the way you build documents by teaching you how these problems arise.
If you are responsible for the output of digital documents such as the print shop or print provider, preflighting will help ensure that the documents and all their collected elements are ready for final output- wether it is a PDF or a native InDesign, CorelDraw or QuarkXPress print-job, preflighting will be well worth the relatively small effort. Catching mistakes to ensure print quality, before sending a document on to the next step, benefits everyone involved. (Please note that many consider the process of preflighting PDF files to be more of a postflight process.)
For further information on preflighting, see the FlightCheck Manual. Try the free FlightCheck demo to see how you can ensure print quality for document output. You can buy Markzware’s pre press software via the FlightCheck page. See more printing solutions on the Markzware Products page.
In Part II, we will go over “Common Problems.” So, stay tuned!
Preflighting 101 Part 1 Preflight Overview