After you have created graphics, set type, combined all your document components properly in a good page layout program, and performed a competent preflight, you re ready to proceed to the next step in making a PDF document. At this point there are many ways (too many to cover here) to convert your page layout document into a PDF document. Here I will focus on creating a PostScript file and using Distiller, because this is the method that provides you with the most controls, is the most flexible, and will typically yield the highest-quality PDF document.
So, the next step in your PDF workflow is making the PostScript file. This file, if properly made, will contain all the document components necessary to create a high-quality PDF. Once I discuss how to properly create a PostScript file, you will learn how to streamline the process through the use of print styles.
As I mentioned in this chapter s introduction, there are many methods of creating a PDF document. It can be as simple as the one-button method using an application called PDFMaker from within a Microsoft application such as Word, Excel, or Publisher (covered in Chapter 4): this provides a quick and easy method of creating a PDF document but little in the way of options. An increasing number of applications such as QuarkXPress 6, InDesign, and Illustrator have built-in PDF creation functions that often work through Save As or Export functions.
You can utilize PDF-specific printer drivers to create PDF documents from within any number of applications. Some manufacturers even have their own use-specific Distiller-like applications (such as Agfa s prepress-specific Normalizer), which can be used to create PDFs. Each of these methods has its uses, and we will cover several of them in this chapter and in Chapter 4. However, I am focusing on the PostScript file + Distiller method, because this is the standard, classic method of creating a PDF. The PostScript file + Distiller method offers the most control and provides you with the greatest flexibility, allowing you to fine-tune the creation of your PDFs for specific uses. For instance, the PDF/X options provided by Distiller are fast becoming prepress standards adopted by many companies, including such publishing luminaries as Time Magazine. The PostScript file + Distiller method also uses Adobe standard/specific tools, which provide a certain level of consistency and reliability that other methods might lack. The PostScript + Distiller method is really the method by which other PDF creation methods are measured. And if you understand and master this PostScript file + Distiller method, you will have the foundation from which to evaluate and possibly use other current and future PDF creation methods and PDF document standards.