Proof your publication by printing a PDF file, composite, or separations

It's important to proof your publication carefully before you send it to a commercial printing service. The format you use for proofing, for checking potential layout, color, and for trapping issues may depend on the type of press that you use. The three most common formats are PDF, composite, and separation proofs.

Discuss with your commercial printer the most appropriate format for proofing your publication and what issues in your publication you need to look for that are specific to the press that they use.

What do you want to do?

Determine which proofing method you need

Print a PDF file

Print a composite

Print separations

Determine which proofing method you need

The more closely your proofing method matches the conditions of the printing press, the more accurately it will represent the final printed material.

Because most commercial printing services work with PDF files, a PDF is probably your best option. A PDF ensures that when the file is viewed online or printed, it retains exactly the format that you intended.

Note: You can save as a PDF or XPS file from a 2007 Microsoft Office system program only after you install an add-in. For more information, see Enable support for other file formats, such as PDF and XPS.

Commercial printers that don't work with PDF files may ask you for PostScript files. Your proofing options are composites and separations. Composite proofs are less accurate than the separation-based proofs that your commercial printer can produce. Separation-based proofs are less accurate than a press check at the start of the print run. The challenge is that problems found in separations or later in a press check are usually more expensive to fix than when found earlier in composite proofs. Consult with your commercial printer to determine which of the following methods is most appropriate.

  • Print a black-and-white composite    Check layout, text, and general contrast and brightness issues in a grayscale composite. If your publication produces a PostScript error when it is printed to a PostScript desktop printer, the publication is also likely to generate a PostScript error on your commercial printer's imagesetter.

  • Print a color composite    Combine all colors, text, and graphics onto a single printed sheet for proofing. Use an RGB color composite to make sure that you are satisfied with the overall page design and the general range of colors. However, an RGB color composite is not reliable for checking color accuracy, moiré patterns, and trapping problems. To check color accuracy, print a CMYK composite on a CMYK color printer or proofing device for a better representation of the colors as they will be printed on a press.

  • Print color separations    Separate the component colors in your publication and identify areas in your design that may cause problems for the press. When you print separations, Microsoft Office Publisher prints one page for each color that is used in your publication. Separations appear in black and white, even if you print to a color printer, because your printer uses them only to determine how colors are laid out. Color separations are best created by the commercial printing service for final printing on a commercial printer. Review each page carefully to verify the issues that you discussed with your commercial printer, such as these:

    • Colors are separated correctly.

    • Objects appear on the correct plate.

    • Colors and objects knock out, overprint, and trap correctly.

    • Bleed objects extend off the page.

    • No graphics are missing.

    • All fonts and font substitutions print as expected.

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Print a PDF file

You can save as a PDF or XPS file from a 2007 Microsoft Office system program only after you install an add-in. For more information, see Enable support for other file formats, such as PDF and XPS.

  1. On the File menu, click Publish as PDF or XPS.

  2. In the File name list, enter a name for the publication.

  3. In the Save as type list, click PDF.

  4. Next to Optimize for, click Change.

  5. In the Publish Options dialog box, click the optimization in the Specify how this publication will be printed or distributed list that matches the needs of the publication. For example, if you will proof the publication online, and print quality is less important than a small file size, click Minimum size. If you will print the PDF for proofing, and the quality of the printing is more important than file size, click High quality printing.

  6. Click Advanced to display the entire dialog box, and select the settings that you need.

  7. Click OK.

  8. In the Publish as PDF or XPS dialog box, if you want to open the file in the Adobe Reader immediately after saving it, select the Open file after publishing check box. If you select Commercial Press in the Publish Options dialog box, the Open file after publishing check box is not available.

  9. Click Publish.

  10. To print the publication, in Adobe Reader, on the File menu, click Print, select printing options, and then click OK.

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Print a composite

  1. On the File menu, click Print.

  2. In the Printer name list, click the printer or imagesetter that you want.

  3. Click the Printer Details tab, click Advanced Printer Setup, and then click the Separations tab.

  4. In the Print colors as list, do one of the following:

    • Click Composite Grayscale to print a composite to a black and white printer.

    • Click Composite CMYK to print a composite to a CMYK color printer or proofing device.

    • Click Composite RGB to print a composite to a color printer.

  5. In the Resolution list, click the resolution at which you want to print.

    Note: The list of resolutions available depends on the printer or imagesetter that you chose in the Printer name list. Some printers allow printing at only one resolution.

  6. Click the Page Settings tab, and select the options that you want under Print output, Printer's marks, and Bleeds.

  7. Click the Graphics and Fonts tab, and select the options that you want under Fonts, Pictures, and Crop and downsample pictures.

  8. Click OK.

  9. Do one of the following:

    • To print the publication, click OK.

    • To keep these print settings without printing the publication, click Cancel.

Note: 

  • Printer's marks, bleeds, and bleed marks print outside of the page. To print them, your paper size must be larger than the page size that you have set up for your publication.

  • The options under Print output are available only when you print to a PostScript printer.

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Print separations

  1. On the File menu, click Print.

  2. In the Printer name list, click the printer or imagesetter that you want.

    Note: If you don't have a color PostScript printer, you can set up the Generic Color PS for Commercial Printing printer driver. For more information, see Install the Generic Color PS for Commercial Printing printer driver.

  3. Click the Printer Details tab, click Advanced Printer Setup, and then click the Separations tab.

  4. In the Print colors as list, click Separations.

  5. In the These plates list, do one of the following:

    • Click All defined inks to print a spot-color or process-color plate for every ink that you have defined in the publication (Tools menu, Commercial Printing Tools submenu, Color Printing command).

    • Click Used inks only to print a spot- or process-color plate for every defined ink that is used in the publication.

    • Click Convert spot to process to print only process-color plates and convert all defined spot colors to process colors during printing.

  6. To prevent Publisher printing plates for unused process colors, select the Don't print blank plates check box.

  7. In the Resolution list, click the resolution at which you want to print.

    Note: The list of resolutions available depends on the printer or imagesetter that you chose in the Printer name list. Some printers allow printing at only one resolution.

  8. Click the Page Settings tab, and select the options that you want under Print output, Printer's marks, and Bleeds.

  9. Click the Graphics and Fonts tab, and select the options that you want under Fonts, Pictures, and Crop and downsample pictures.

  10. Click OK.

  11. Do one of the following:

    • To print the publication, click OK.

    • To keep these print settings without printing the publication, click Cancel.

Note: 

  • Printer's marks, bleeds, and bleed marks print outside of the page. To print them, your paper size must be larger than the page size that you have set up for your publication.

  • The options under Print output are available only when you print to a PostScript printer.

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