Adobe InDesign Preflight and Markzware FlightCheck

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InDesign preflight is a vital step in Adobe InDesign prepress processes. FlightCheck by Markzware is patented preflight software to check InDesign CS4 and CS5 documents and more before output. This advanced preflight solution goes beyond the Adobe built-in preflight within InDesign CS3 and CS2.

Apparently, some think they are getting full-fledged preflight if they use the Adobe InDesign built-in preflight tool within InDesign. I tell you that simply is not true.

Calling it a preflight function is actually stretching the truth. It is not rules based, which means you cannot change what to check. The built-in feature within InDesign just gives the information it gives (limited info on colors, fonts and images, for example) and is not as thorough as the professional preflight tool, FlightCheck.

Sitting next to me today is Arnold Roosch, one of our workflow specialists. And I should add that Arnold comes to Markzware after 15 years of experience within prepress departments at many major printing companies, thus around here he generally knows what he is talking about. If you ever have any support questions, he is the one you might deal with at least from the European side of things.

Arnold, perhaps you can show us today some of the main advantages of Markzware’s FlightCheck Professional in comparison to Adobe’s InDesign preflight feature, give us an analysis.

Sure, no problem. I think it’s best to show this live onscreen, so if you all can join me on the screen, then I’ll show you everything about it. What we are going to use is Adobe InDesign and of course, FlightCheck Professional. Those are the two applications that we are going to do preflighting in.

So let’s open the file in InDesign, you choose the file and open it like you normally do. Here’s the file in InDesign, we have several elements in there, illustrations, text. Let’s go over the document a bit so you can get familiar. There are 4 pages all elements and illustrations and text on every page.

OK, let’s go to the file menu and we choose preflight from InDesign itself. The first thing that we see is that there are – there is no way we can make settings so it is not a rules-based system. (See the FlightCheck File Menu.)

If we switch over to FlightCheck and we go to the Ground Controls we can definitely see that there are a lot of settings that you can do. This is totally rule-based and we can make settings for all kinds of elements in our document and of course images is where you’ll find most of the rules. We can even choose different sets and we can create different sets so we choose one and we created a whole set and now we are going to drop the same InDesign file we opened in InDesign and we simply drop it on the FlightCheck icon, that’s all we need to do.

FlightCheck now starts checking the whole file but also the elements within the file. We now preflighted the document in both FlightCheck and InDesign.

Let’s first go to the InDesign window. We go to the Fonts section and we see that four fonts are used that’s basically everything that it says so we should be happy with that.

Let’s go to the Font section on FlightCheck however, and we see that a major error is found. We see that the font, Futura the printer font is missing which is actually a pretty big error. Because if a font is missing and you get a query or another font in your output – that’s something that you definitely don’t want.

OK, switching back to the InDesign preflight or Info screen as I call it – we go to the Links and Images and we see that a lot of RGB is used. There is only a small warning I can see but effective resolution is not even mentioned somewhere as an error. We can go through the whole list. Going through it and we can see that the effective resolution is between 144 and 160, which is actually too low for normal offset printing.

If we switch back to FlightCheck, there we can see that all the images are in red because RGB is found and we set that to an error and the effective resolution is way to low. So have a look at all the information that FlightCheck could find, I could simply double-click on an image and see all the information that FlightCheck is able to gather from that image.

OK, so going back to the InDesign preflight. We go to the colors. We see CMYK issues but that’s kind of strange because in the Links and Images we saw that RGB was used. And we can see in all kinds of element that RGB was used and still in the Colors and Inks section we do not find RGB.

In FlightCheck, switching back to FlightCheck we see RGB mentioned in the Colors section as well we can even see it was used in a TIFF file, pretty important. And then we have the InDesign Print Settings which are pretty general so we won’t go over that too much. We can see that in FlightCheck as well. We (FlightCheck) has File info, Page info and Print info which is even a bit more information and we can find everything here.

Switching back to InDesign where we can see that an External Plug-in is found, the InBooklet plug. I searched my whole computer and was not able to find it, so I’m not sure what they meant by that. If I go to FlightCheck it is simply not shown and I think that’s more correct.

While we are here in FlightCheck, let’s go to the Page Layout. Page Layout is a great tool that gives you a schematic overview of the pages and shows you all the errors in there. If you go to a page and click on an error it exactly shows you where to find it. For instance, if we click on this error, we can see where it is and from here we can launch the document in InDesign. It opens there and from there we can select the error and start correcting it.

Staying in InDesign let’s go to the Package function which will collect everything needed for the document. We can fill in some instructions, we can make some selections or some settings and now it has collected the whole folder on my desktop.

FlightCheck of course has a Collect function too which you can select where you want to drop your file but you can also compress your job so it becomes a .zip file which is ready to send. This is a great function in FlightCheck. So we can see all the elements that are collected, let’s go over them – this is a whole list and you can see everything that will be collected. If I push the Collect button you will see that a nice .zip file is created on my desktop.

We have both, the folder from InDesign and the .zip file from FlightCheck which has a red cross because there are still errors in there. If the errors were not there you would see a nice icon without the cross which indicates that everything is fine and that the file is ready to be sent off. Here again you can see the three file in closeup.

This is what I wanted to show you. The InDesign Information function as I like to call it, and the full preflight function of FlightCheck Professional, which is rule-based. FlightCheck allows you to make sets and make rules and check for everything that you basically need and get a nice and clean error report that you can use to communicate to clients and to make sure that your file will be OK once it hits the workflow.

This is Arnold Roosch from Markzware. Hope this was useful to you and hope to catch you next time.

Thank you.

Adobe InDesign Preflight and Markzware FlightCheck

Title: Adobe InDesign Preflight and Markzware FlightCheck
Published on: April 17, 2008
David Dilling

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