MS Word Files Workflow

Scott_Purdon

New member
Hello Everyone;

Does anyone have a fail-safe method for dealing with MS Word files? I receive quite a few of these and I find them problematic when running them out to our CTP device. Unfortunately I cannot reject these files because we are a Full Service Printer.

Black type in the MS Word document exposes as 4-colour Black on the plates and ultimately the press run; an undesirable result for obvious reasons of registration.

Has anyone discovered a method to deal with these issues?

Thanks ...
 

Vee

Well-known member
I always ran them through a hotfolder on PitStop Server to convert all to 100k. PitStop Pro would work fine too.
 

toronar

Well-known member
Does anyone have a fail-safe method for dealing with MS Word files? I receive quite a few of these and I find them problematic when running them out to our CTP device. Unfortunately I cannot reject these files because we are a Full Service Printer.

Black type in the MS Word document exposes as 4-colour Black on the plates and ultimately the press run; an undesirable result for obvious reasons of registration.

Has anyone discovered a method to deal with these issues?

Thanks ...

We have to deal with a lot of MS Office-Files, too.
We use 2 methods to deal with them, depending on what is important; if the layout of the file in question is crucial and must be the same as the customer could see it, we open the file in Word 97/2000/2003/2007 (the same version the customer used to build the file) and use Acrobat's convert to PDF macro (97-2003) or Save as PDF (2007). If the layout is not that important, we open in Word 2007 and Save as PDF from there.

If the customer used the predefined black for text, it will be a grayscale black in the PDF and output fine as 100% K. Besides that you have to convert all RGB to CMYK anyway (I suggest using sRGB for untagged RGB); we use Heidelberg's Prinect Workflow to do this, there are some nice automated features to deal with "bad" RGB data (like an RGB-gray of 12/11/13 which gets converted to real gray and so on).

You can achieve the same with PitStop (plugin or server) or Heidelberg's Color Editor (plugin) or other software. Just outputting PDFs from MS Office-files without prior converting to CMYK and handling some of the special cases has been a kind of russian roulette with a special kicker: a bullet in all chambers, so that everybody wins.

BTW we Save as PDF from Word 2007 as the PDFs are a multitude easier to handle than what Office produces if you print to postscript or use Acrobat's PDF macro. Especially if you take a look at Office-generated vector graphics/effects and transparency. Printing to postscript uses GDI(+) to render this things and will produce *a lot* of small pictures to draw transparency effects; a real nightmare if a "simple" A4 page with a some graphic elements and transparency contains over 2 million objects in a PDF - compared to 300 objects when exported from Word 2007.

If the customer has Word 2007 we instruct them how to save as PDF in it and take the PDF from there.
It's a lot easier than to try to tell them you need all the special fonts they used ;)
 

Steve_S

Well-known member
Hello Everyone;

Does anyone have a fail-safe method for dealing with MS Word files?

Nothing is "fail-safe" with Microsoft. However, those clients' money is as green as anyone using fancier programs and it is foolish to turn them away. We print to PDF using Acrobat 9 Professional rather than using Microsoft's "Save as" EXCEPT for Publisher, where we can get decent PDF's from the "Publish as". We then run everything through our Odysatr PDF workflow to do preflight, fixes, or bounce the file if it is too bad. It takes some trial and error but we receive a lot of revenue from Office files and do whatever we can to make them work. Let's face it, not all of your clients can (or want to) pay for Adobe Creative Suite or Quark Xpress,
 

jbh

Member
Pitstop is what we use for converting text in Office files from composite black to straight black. It's very simple to use (once you've learnt how it works - doesn't take long if you're already in repro), and normally makes changes very quickly, depending on the number of pages of course.
 

Scott_Purdon

New member
Thank you

Thank you

Hello;

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who replied to this thread. This forum is great.

I have to agree with snappy by saying yes, you really don't have a choice but to accept the customer's files "As Is" these days, especially with the economy the way it is today. I'll try some of the suggestions I received from everyone to try and streamline my workflow.

Again, thanks to everyone who replied.

Scott
 

Steve_S

Well-known member
Scott-

What we also do is keep a spreadsheet for prepress of the most common issues we have with our regular clients' files - then we know what to watch for or fix beforehand. It comes in handy and is part of that trial and error process.
 

David Ingram

Active member
Hey, if you don't have pitstop, or are having other trouble with your PDFs, You can change the text from "Automatic"[separates as 4-c] to "Black" within Publisher and Word. Also, if PDFs aren't right you can always "Print to File" and manually distill the resulting .PRN, this isn't necessary so much anymore, but USED to be. And the ultimate last resort, (God Bless Pitstop!) you can RASTER the PDF in Photoshop to say 1200 DPI and Greyscale Mode It. Pitstop has a built in feature for this, to covert .PDFs without full rastering. make sure to check the dot gain appropriate for your press, we use all metal plates still on sheetfed, so we use the 10% profile
 

Grnofslt

Well-known member
Fixing color in word files

Fixing color in word files

We have the color problems with Word files where I work also. We don't have Pit stop or any of the other software that could help us in our color conversions. Because of a major service provider of ours we also have to convert Word files into Illustrator files, eps files, or Freehand files because they will not accept PDF files at all.

In our conversions I have found that Word will not tell you if it has substituted a font that was used by the creator's computer system when your own system doesn't have that particular font. That being said, in order to more easily bring Word files into Illustrator (CS3) we convert them into PDF files and then open the PDF file with Illustrator. Font warnings aside, once the file is opened in Illustrator,I go to the file menu and select the document color mode command and click, and I change the file to CMYK if the check-mark is by RGB. I then save as the file with my company's file identification number. I now make sure the color pallet is active and select some object within the file. If that object is a fill, I make sure that the fill icon is active in the color's pallet. If black isn't true, there you will see the different percentages of CYMK that are used to create the process black. Once I see that there is this mixture of colors that are making black, I go up to the Select Menu (in Illustrator) and choose Same>Fill color which will highlight ever object that has that same fill color. then in the color pallet I make the color values of Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow are all changed to 0 (zero) and the value for black (K) to 100%. I do the same thing for stroke, find one that has the color mix, select same stroke color in the Select menu. With all the strokes that have the same color properties I make the changes in the color pallet as described for same fill color.

To insure if I have converted all process black objects and strokes to 100%K I bring up my printer dialogue box and select output from the options menu in the upper left corner. Once the output options dialogue portion of the print dialogue is active, I choose host based separations,and look down below where I can see what colors are still active in my file. If the file had been converted completely to 100%K the Cyan, Magenta and Yellow icons will be grayed out.

This isn't perfect, but it does work. Yes it is time consuming but like your company we take any kind of file because it is money coming in. And with times being financially tight, getting a program like Pitstop Pro is like trying to squeeze an elephant through the eye of a needle.

A couple other things I've noticed about Word files, especially files that have boxes and strokes to create forms that have to be filled in. What appears to be a stroke in Word is usually a fill..

Not sure if this will help, but I hope it does. All I have told you, I have had to figure out on my own. I have found no training that would have prepared me or any other pre-press operator for the pitfalls of customer's submitted (Supposedly ready for press Art).

Again I hope this helps

Bill J
 

mattbeals

Well-known member
Callas pdfToolbox makes the color conversion part a snap. It already has the logic built into the conversion process to find and fix RGB grays & blacks for not only vector objects but images as well. Further it will find the RGB versions of the primaries and secondaries and convert them to their proper values. It is literally four mouse clicks. This logic is activated by using a specific conversion button in the color tab. You simply open up the color button, click Office to CMYK, pick the destination CMYK space, click execute and you're done.

Callas pdfToolbox doesn't replace PitStop Pro, you can't get away from PitStop because of interactive editing, rather it compliments PitStop because of the superior color conversions, imposition and general ease of use for common tasks. I'd be happy to show anyone how it works. Or feel free to download a demo copy. There's a reason it's called pdfToolbox; because it belongs in everyones's PDF toolbox.
 

mglouis

Well-known member
Configuring the printer driver to (convert gray text to postscript gray = yes) should do the trick if printing from a pc. If your rip accepts device link profiles, and you want an automated method, you could have a franken-profile made by a company such as Chromix to convert specific color recipes to map to the black plate. You'd need to study which recipes are common in either your input or output, depending if you choose to use a DLP for rgb2cmyk or cmyk2cmyk. Another option maybe for you is to convert to cmyk with extreme amounts of gcr to minimize but not eliminate the problem.If the doc simply needs to be gray, you can put a curve on the K to make the screened text a solid and omit the CMY plates (gcr helps here too). All the above product suggestions are great suggestions. We print 4cp text all the time and our press operators pay close attention to register and typically results are very good, with exception being fine type and some KOs. Not all text needs to be corrected.
 

mattbeals

Well-known member
the problem with the drive solution is that it converts blacks to device gray which if I recall correctly cannot overprint device N or CMYK. Using something like pdfToolbox makes the process easy for everyone to follow.
 

CGUK

Member
I'll second Callas' software too. I was originally confused as to why it was needed as it seemed very much the same as the built-in options in the Pre-Flight/Fixup in Acrobat Pro but after using it once or twice I realised the whole point of it was the Colour Conversion is amazing and really keeps the colour of the original file.
 

Shawn

Well-known member
For those who mentioned missing font problems, Word can show you when it substitutes fonts. Go to tools, options and click on the compatibility tab. Now click on the font substitution button. If Word is substituting any fonts they will be listed here.

This won't work with any Word Art graphics or anything imported from another part of Office, but it can be really helpful for finding the main fonts used by a client.

The compatibility tab will also show you which version of Word your client is working in. The "Recommended Options for:" section will list the version of Word the file was created in. I've found that we have fewer problems when we match the version of Word with what the client was using. Finally you should make sure to uncheck the "use printer metrics to lay out document" option is unchecked here. It will minimize rewrap on the file as you're working on it.

More and more I've been working with clients to try and avoid getting Word files altogether. Instead we try to get them to send us a PDF instead of or along with the Word file. That way we avoid the type reflow issues that Word usually causes.

If they don't have Acrobat or the built in PDF export filter I help them to install CutePDF. <http://www.cutepdf.com/> It's doesn't produce PDFs that are as clean as Adobe, but it's free and very easy to use--and we're talking about Word here so clean PDF is a relative term. Then we either use Pitstop or the built in color conversion in Acrobat to convert RGB and make sure the blacks don't go to 4c in the PDF.

Hope this helps
Shawn
 

Jim-CompuDoc

Well-known member
Harlequin Rip's v5.5 and newer can deal with the black automagically. Create a suitable page setup with CMYK separations. Go into the color setup / no color management, and select the appropriate black generation (medium generally) and check the "100% black text" box.

PRINT the job to your Rip out of Word.
 

mattbeals

Well-known member
With all these suggested color options you're still dealing with only part of the problem. Substituted fonts is a real problem that can be dealt with in Word or in the driver. For most of what we're talking about it still comes down to the fact that Windows GDI still sends everything out in RGB. To do the best job of converting the colors into a usable CMYK (not just "a cmyk") you need an intelligent way of handling it. If you set up the Harlequin RIP to fix RGB blacks you still have the problem of getting a good CMYK separation. Using a device link profile may be beyond some peoples tool set. Undoubtedly they work well for many application.
 

destryer

Well-known member
We had a fool-proof workflow that didn't require much intervention. If you're printing B&W install a postscript printer, print-to-file, change your print settings in Windows to B&W, optimize for portability in postscript settings. Any logos, artwork, signatures you can right click on them and select color, grayscale or B&W(bitmap: BAD) to convert them preprinting. Associate .prn files to Distiller in Windows so double clicking them distills them for acrobat. Away you go!
 

destryer

Well-known member
Finding missing fonts in Word >Tools>Options>Compatibility>Font Substitution shows you whether it has all the fonts.
We actually had more problems with Excel it really makes some bad PDFs with clipping boxes around type clipping some characters off. Working in a printing plant that did 90% financial reports we mostly Word, Excel with imprinting on preprinted letterheads
 

David Ingram

Active member
One other thing i wanted to mention since you all are talking printing direct now... The old publisher would send CMYK seps ALL at the same angle, You can force your RIP (harlequin?? OR OTHER) to make the standard 45, 15, 75, 90, or 105. Without forcing this, Publisher (negs/ matchprints) would ALWAYS result with the wrong screening.
make sure if you can see the logs, that your screen angles are correct if separating from any MS product directly. Publisher DOES have a nice Pagination feature for printing 2 up printer's spreads, at least.
 

Grnofslt

Well-known member
I sure wish that I could talk my company into getting pitstop. They are on a spending freeze except to service the customer (materials to manufacture their folders) but software isn't seen as being material important enough and in their sight it doesn't service the customer. Oh well, I guess that's why they pay them the big bucks
 

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