<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="Google Ads" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/982787295/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">



9 PDF Presets to Use for High Quality Printing

by Terry Willis on August 13

Printing quality can make or break your document. If what is on your screen isn’t what you are seeing on your printed document, there may be an issue with the way your file was saved. (Believe it or not, the printer isn’t always to blame!) In order to properly produce print ready files, there are a few things you should know. The first is what PDF standard you need and the second is your preset.


Properly Saving and Printing PDFs

If you are printing general documents for personal or in-office use, a classic PDF will be sufficient. If you know you need to print your PDF with superior color and precision, exact fonts and formatting and more, you will want to save your PDF as a PDF/X Standard. This will preserve the necessary elements from your native file to produce a high quality final product. So, for example, if you are printing high quality graphics and marketing materials, or if you are sharing design documents online for client review, you will want to save your file as a PDF/X.

After you choose to save as a PDF/X standard, there will be default presets you can select. The following nine defaults are used in different circumstances, require specific settings in their native application and are compatible with different versions of Acrobat®.


PDF PresetsPDF/X-1a

Files ready for print production.

  • Presets & Compatibility - If you have Acrobat 4/PDF 1.3 your preset will be PDF/X-1a: 2001. If you have Acrobat 5/PDF 1.4 your preset will be PDF/X-1a: 2003.
  • Settings – In your native application you should convert RGB color to CMYK; spot colors are okay.



Print ready but also allows color managed workflows

  • Presets & Compatibility – If you have Acrobat 4/PDF 1.3 your preset will be PDF/X-3: 2002. If you have Acrobat 5/PDF 1.4 your preset will be PDF/X-3: 2003
  • Settings – In your native application you can leave RGB and CIELab colors, but transparency should be flattened.


PDF/X-4: 2008 

Print ready but also allows for transparency and layers

  • Compatibility – Acrobat 7/PDF 1.6
  • Settings – Color profiles, transparency and layers are allowed so you do not need to manipulate this in your native application before saving.


PDF/X-4p: 2008 

Use when required ICC profile is unambiguously identified and supplied separately

  • Compatibility – Acrobat 7/PDF 1.6
  • Settings – Color profiles, transparency and layers are allowed so you do not need to manipulate this in your native application before saving.


Press Quality

Use when PDF/X presets aren’t available

  • Compatibility – Acrobat 5/PDF 1.4
  • Settings – In your native application you should convert RGB color to CMYK, but spot colors are okay, and it doesn’t need to be flattened.


High Quality Print

For quality printing on desktop printers and proofers

  • Compatibility – Acrobat 5/PDF 1.4
  • Settings - In your native application you can leave RGB and CIELab colors and transparency as is.


Smallest File Size

For on-screen display, email and online

  • Compatibility – Acrobat 5/PDF 1.4
  • Settings – In your native application you should convert CMYK color to sRGB, but can keep the transparency.


With these options you will be able to produce a print ready file that will produce your desired results. Finally, we want to mention that printing equipment can also be programmed to handle certain presets better than others. Generally, your print provider will manage these settings on your printing device based on your printing needs, and then also set your printing defaults to these presets so you get the best print results.


Set up a free print technology assessment to determine which printing equipment and defaulted presets may simplify your printing processes and produce higher quality results (in addition to providing general cost-saving and improved workflow opportunities).

Get Your Free Technology Assessment

Topics: All Blogs, General Printing Advice, All Print Blogs

St. Norbert College Case Study: 4 Managed Print lessons learned

Ruth Johnson, Director of Auxiliary Services at St. Norbert College had a problem, but it was not a new problem. It’s the problem most college administrators face: how to cut costs and maximize...Read more

When You Should Start Thinking About Switching Telecom Services

When you think about switching telecom services, it’s not a small decision. You will probably need to read the fine print on documents that you may have chosen to ignore up to this point. It will...Read more

Effective business Communication Tools

Nearly every project begins and ends with communication. In fact, workplace communication functions as the foundation for almost everything a workplace accomplishes. Communication is how we delegate...Read more

Is Your Desktop Phone keeping up with your smartphone?

It’s an old joke by now - the one about how “I have so many apps and features on my smartphone that I forgot I could use it to make calls.” We get so caught up in all the things it can do,...Read more

How Much Do Poor Business Communication Tools and Practices Cost You?

How much time do you think you spend just trying to communicate with co-workers? Subtract the time you actually have productive conversations – instead add up the time it takes to hunt down your...Read more

Who is Responsible for Your Organization’s Print Office Technology?

Do you feel like the money you spend on office printing and printers is as efficient as possible, or does it seem like a game of whack-a-mole? A printer goes down, you fix it. A toner cartridge is...Read more

Your communication systems Cheat Sheet for Finding the perfect Solution

If you thought that getting a new phone system would be a breeze — a simple case of counting your employees and getting price quotes — you may need to rethink things. The array of options for your...Read more

4 Tools to Boost Your Law Firm’s Productivity

Law firms are document-centered. It’s a fact. It’s crucial that the right document gets in the right file so it can be retrieved at the right time with the right level of security. Inefficiency and...Read more

Hosted Unified Communications Means Never Being Tied To Your Desk

Relying on a single form of business communication is uncommon and, frankly, impractical. Your employees have office phones at their desks, workstations equipped with business applications,...Read more

3 Ways Managed Print Services Could Save Your Legal Firm Time & Money

In law firms, like many other organizations, time is money. And because money drives business, optimizing your time is key to success. In the legal industry, a lot of time is spent printing due to...Read more

5 Ways Unified Communications Improves Employee Productivity

For businesses, effective communication can mean the difference between success and failure. Business communications affect both internal and external relationships. Internally, effective...Read more

6 Things We Know About Baby Boomers’ and Millennial Technology Needs

Most articles will tell you that Millennials use technology very differently than the typical Baby Boomer – and that’s true – but most articles don’t provide ways to address the issue. In...Read more

4 Wrong Ways to Think About the ROI of the Cloud

The wrong argument is often worse than having no argument at all when you are making a business decision. There are a lot of ways migration to the cloud can help an organization increase...Read more

Unified Communications: Just What Does it Mean?

Every day your employees are busy communicating with one another as well as your customers. The complexity of business communication has grown rapidly in the last 20 years. The office...Read more

Hosted Voice vs. Hosted Unified Communications: a Simple Decision

When you ask someone a direct question, one of the most frustrating answers you can get is “it depends.” That answer either means the person doesn’t want to answer your direct question, or they need...Read more

5 Reasons the RFP Process Stinks & Why You Should Consider a Cooperative Contract Instead

When you manage purchasing for a government agency or school system, it’s an understatement to say that the RFP process ties your hands behind your back. It’s hard to imagine a more complex exercise...Read more

Paper is Still the Lifeblood of a Law Firm

Unlike other industries, law firms will have a difficult time when it comes to eliminating paper copies. Without paper, many of the important functions of a lawyer’s work simply can't...Read more

Why Directors Must Foster Effective Workplace Communication

According to a recent Dale Carnegie research study, 70 percent of employees who lack confidence in the abilities of senior leadership are not fully engaged. Employees have high expectations for their...Read more

9 Things to Analyze When Choosing Telecom Carriers

There’s a whole lot to consider when it comes to choosing a telecom carrier. It’s something we’ve covered many times and are always looking for ways to help simplify this process for those who are...Read more

3 Steps to Buy Managed Print Services via Cooperative Contracts

When the time comes for organizations such as school districts, government agencies or nonprofit health systems to improve their print environment, the RFP process is a source of...Read more

Unified Communications: 3 Things You Need to Know About UCaaS, Plus 1 More

Einstein tried to define a unified field theory of everything, but didn’t quite make it. Fortunately, a unified communications approach, however, is much easier to achieve - and it’s...Read more

3 Tips for Effective Office Communication

Workplace communication constantly evolves with newer, better, faster technologies, but what happens when all these technologies are piled onto a foundation of poor communication practices? Whether...Read more

4 FAQs Answered about NJPA's Managed Print Services Coop. Contract

You’re likely here for 1 of 2 reasons: You’re frustrated with your organization’s bidding process and requirements (and potentially looking for alternative solutions). You’ve heard mention of NJPA...Read more

School District Cuts Waste and Improves Budget via Managed Print Services

It all began with an informal technology evaluation. Weston County School District #1 wanted to offer students and staff better technology while saving their district money. The evaluation found...Read more

An Alternative to Request for Proposals: Cooperative Contracts

As a school system, government agency or nonprofit healthcare system, your organization has two options for purchasing technology: Request for Proposal Cooperative Contract Both will get you to...Read more