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Preparing for Print

Preparing for Print

The layout is now complete, so the next stage is to prepare it for commercial print. Eventually the design will be output as colour-separated film from an imagesetter. These imagesetters are all built on the Postscript page description language so for accurate proofing you really need to have a Postscript printer. With PageMaker, colour separations are created by selecting the Print dialog’s Colour command, selecting Separation and choosing from the colours found in the publication – in our case Black and Pantone 3015. You should also ensure that Printer’s marks are on in the dialog’s Paper option – you might have to temporarily shrink output to see these. These crop marks enable pages to be easily overlaid to check colour registration and bleeds.

That’s not quite the end of the road, because we need to get the file to the typesetter in a form from which they can print it. We could simply redirect the Postscript print to disk and then send the resulting file to be output. The problem is that there’s no flexibility in the system. If there were any problems with the file, such as the dreaded missing font error, we’d only find out when the film had been output in Courier. Equally, if there were any last minute changes there’s absolutely no scope for correction, we’d have to recreate the file from scratch.

Instead it’s much better to send the bureau the actual PageMaker file. We’ll have to make sure that they have the same, or later version, of the program and also that they have the same fonts. It’s also necessary to make sure that all graphics files are included or they might print at low resolution. This is most easily done by copying the publication and its graphics into a new directory with the All Linked option in the Save As dialog. Users of PageMaker 6.5 can use the Save for Service Provider to automate this final process and copy their masterpiece to removable media. Either way it’s now over to the printer to do their worst.