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About Your PDF Proof

Save stress and avoid reprints!

Rules about proofing

PowerPoint does not show a fool-proof onscreen preview for posters.We use our special process to make a high resolution PDF proof from your PowerPoint file. The PDF file is actually the file we print from, and is a reliable preview of how your file will actually print. Your PDF proof is emailed to you for your review and approval. For standard poster service we must hear back from you before we print. This is a safeguard for you and avoids reprint charges—almost half of our clients discover something they want to correct and resubmit a file!

If you make a change, submit a revised file using the same filename as before, using our naming guidelines. If you received a revised PowerPoint file from us, you must use that file to make your corrections—we do not have time to re-do the fixes we made for you. We will send you a proof for every revised file you submit, and we do not print until you have approved the proof. Two file submissions and proofs are included in the standard price. Additional submissions and proofs are only $5 each (much less than the cost of a reprint).

For standard poster service we must hear back from you before we print.

What to look for when proofing (and common fixes)

(1) Page size:   It should be exactly the finished size, or 1/2 of the finished size, and the poster should fill the frame (no extra whitespace). If you generated your own PDF and the page size is wrong, recheck the directions and redo the PDF.
(2) Fonts:
  Are the math and greek symbols OK? Formulas can be locked down by inserting into the poster as a picture (Windows Metafile). Did paragraph layouts stay the same? To fix a font problem you can send us the font in question, or switch to one we have. In PowerPoint you can go to Tools > Options > Save and check: Embed TrueType Fonts. This creates a read-only file, which we can print from but can't edit.  
(3) Images & logos:
 Zoom in to check these. If they look jaggy, you either used a GIF file (never use them for posters), or a low-resolution file. Replace all low-rez files with a Windows Metafile for charts and logos, or a maximum quality JPG for photos and scans. JPGs should be 200-300 pixels/inch for full-scale templates, and 400-600 pixels/inch for 1/2 scale templates. Use the high-resolution logos we provide in our templates.
(4) Rotated text:
 Especially watch for it if you created the image on a Mac, or pasted the figure in. Sometimes you can fix messed up Mac text simply by opening the file on a PC and resaving. For stubborn text errors in labels, cover the funky text with a box to hide it, then make a new textbox with the corrected text and rotate it to cover the old text..  
(5) Embedded files or files inserted using only Copy and Paste
(Visio diagrams, Excel charts, Word tables...):  Did the labels survive? Did the lines shift? Did the object resize or get cut off? The fix: If they are not items made in Microsoft Office, save them as picture files from your originating software (Windows Metafiles are great) and use Insert Picture > From File. If they are from Office software, use Edit > Paste Special > Picture (Windows Metafile, or Enhanced Metafile)Avoid pasting photos or scans when using a Macintosh—the Mac clipboard uses code that is not universally understood. Instead, use Insert > Picture >From File.

Notes: (1) Some versions of Acrobat display line art (such as Windows Metafiles) in a jaggy manner when zoomed out. When you zoom way in it should look fine. You may also be able to set Acroabat Preferences to Smooth Line Art to resolve the display problem (2) If resolution was set right on images in PhotoShop, all images should look good (not pixelated) up to 100% (200% for 1/2 scale files).

How accurate are PDF proofs?

The PDF we send you will give you a nearly perfect representation of the type and layout as it will print. If something looks wrong in the layout, it is wrong. Usually it's a common mistake: you used a font we don't have, you embedded a figure (simply using "Paste") instead of inserting it as a picture, or perhaps you used a GIF format image. If you're not sure what happened, send us an email and we'll help you out!

The PDF proof will be reasonably close on the color. We can't guarantee your monitor is calibrated, so your screen preview may not match the actual data in the image file that goes to the printer. Our printer is calibrated and color-corrected against a standard Kodak target file, so what prints will be very true to your print file data, and very close to the PDF. One common problem is that intense blue shades appear very bright on monitors and may print dark. This is because monitors use additive color (Red, Blue and Green at their maximum settings creates white), and printing uses subtractive color (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow mixed at their maximum settings creates black).

Making Your Own PDF File to Send Us

You can follow our guidelines to make a valid PDF and speed things up. See Making a Valid PDF for details.


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