Printing PDFs from InDesign, Illustrator in Preview

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by benwiggy, May 31, 2013.

  1. benwiggy macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    I've recently noticed that PDFs exported from InDesign or Illustrator CS6, when printed from Preview, appear "dotty" on my printer. It's very obvious under a linen tester or loupe.

    I'm not talking about half-toning: this is on 100%K straight lines, text, and other vector material. The dots are much bigger than the printer's resolution. (I'm getting about 32 dots up the height of a 14pt cap letter, making them c. 0.4pt. My printer is 1200dpi.)
    If I print the PDF from Acrobat, or print directly from InDesign, I don't get dots: I get straight lines and crisp curves.

    More confusingly, PDFs from other applications (made by running PostScript through Distiller, using the same settings as when exporting from ID) don't have the problem. When I combine pages from these PDFs with those from ID, and print from Preview, only the ID pages have the problem.

    Can anyone else confirm this? My printer is an HP Laserjet 5200 - 1200dpi.

    To recap:
    PDFs from ID print "dotty" form Preview, not from Acrobat.
    PDFs from other apps don't appear "dotty", when created using Distiller.
    Combined PDFs print dotty only on the pages from ID.

    More weirdness is that similar documents produced in CS3 don't have the issue.

    Obviously, I'm presuming it's some poor handling of the PDF data by Preview, but I'm interested in finding out what Preview has difficulty with.

    I posted about it on the Adobe forums, but got my head bitten off for daring to use Preview instead of Acrobat, and for using the "archaic" Distiller.
  2. benwiggy thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jun 15, 2012
    Having thought about it a moment longer, I've worked out the cause: Preview doesn't like PDFs in the CMYK colourspace.
    Converting to RGB fixes it.

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