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Old 01-07-2006, 11:15 PM   #1
RJ Emery
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Default How Does Acrobat Reader Print?

I have complete issues of a magazine in PDF format. Such files are typically 90 pages in length, with much graphics and color. When one wishes to print selected pages, corresponding to an article therein, how exactly does the PDF print process work?

Using Acrobat Reader, I find that I can print the initial pages (cover, TOC) rather quickly, but if I opt to print some pages from the middle of the file, the process takes many long minutes.

Does Acrobat Reader need to construct all the preceeding pages before it can properly print selected pages from the middle or near the end of the file?

My machine is a P2 450MHz W98 system, which is admitedly old and slow, but I never had a PDF print process take as long as with these particular magazine files. I use Adobe Acrobat Reader release 5.1.0 (9/17/02), which is the latest available for a W98 platform.

   
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Old 01-08-2006, 04:15 PM   #2
Steve Rindsberg
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The first thing I'd look into is what's on the pages in question, the ones that take so long. Most of the PDFs I see that have been "repurposed" from print material are horribly overweight when they really needn't be, given proper settings when producing them. For example, the images may be far higher resolution than they've any reason to be, which will certainly result in long print times at your end.

See if there's a page toward the end of the file that has very little in the way of images or other graphics. Try printing just it. What kind of delay do you experience then?

   
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Old 01-08-2006, 07:02 PM   #3
RJ Emery
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Rindsberg
See if there's a page toward the end of the file that has very little in the way of images or other graphics. Try printing just it. What kind of delay do you experience then?
Page 89 of the full issue PDF was an index page and all text. It printed very quickly.

WRT the test article, the first page I attempted to print, p. 30, is mostly text and was produced quickly as a single page. Page 31 is a photo and was skipped. Pages 32-35 are text but with graphics and were printed as a group of four, each page taking about 3-4 minutes of processing time before being sent to the printer, this on my W98 system that was doing no other work at the time.

My copy of Acrobat Reader enables me to print to a file. I could produce a *.prn file and e-mail it to you so you could see what the page makeup actually is. Interestingly. the print process goes much faster if I print the pages as images rather than as a standard pages.

I also have the test article as a PDF file itself (572 KB), which I could send to you , but printing from within the full issue PDF (9 MB) without time consuming delays is my goal.

The full issue PDF excludes full page advertisements. Page 30 of the full issue PDF is actually numbered page 68.

   
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Old 01-09-2006, 12:54 PM   #4
Steve Rindsberg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ Emery
Page 89 of the full issue PDF was an index page and all text. It printed very quickly.

WRT the test article, the first page I attempted to print, p. 30, is mostly text and was produced quickly as a single page. Page 31 is a photo and was skipped. Pages 32-35 are text but with graphics and were printed as a group of four, each page taking about 3-4 minutes of processing time before being sent to the printer, this on my W98 system that was doing no other work at the time.

My copy of Acrobat Reader enables me to print to a file. I could produce a *.prn file and e-mail it to you so you could see what the page makeup actually is. Interestingly. the print process goes much faster if I print the pages as images rather than as a standard pages.

I also have the test article as a PDF file itself (572 KB), which I could send to you , but printing from within the full issue PDF (9 MB) without time consuming delays is my goal.

The full issue PDF excludes full page advertisements. Page 30 of the full issue PDF is actually numbered page 68.
This all seems consistent with my speculation. It seems that some of the graphics on the slow-printing pages are not well optimized and that's what causes the slowdown.

The fact that printing as image speeds things up ... also a fit, I expect. It means that Reader's doing the heavy lifting of rasterizing the page to a bag of bits for the printer rather than making the printer do the work. The processor and memory in your printer aren't likely in the same league as that in your computer, so anything that shuffles the load from printer to computer will speed things up (and can also help pages print that wouldn't otherwise).

No need to look at the file or PS ... this all seems to make sense.

In general, you might want to leave Reader set to print as image.

   
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Old 01-09-2006, 01:20 PM   #5
RJ Emery
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Rindsberg
This all seems consistent with my speculation. It seems that some of the graphics on the slow-printing pages are not well optimized and that's what causes the slowdown.
I have been experimenting with page/article printing from other PDF files, each file corresponding to a full issue of the magazine in question. I am finding the print process to be moderately faster and more acceptable. I tend to concur with you. That first experience and test file is more an anomaly than the general rule.

It also seems the older the PDF file/magazine issue, the slower the print process. The most recent issues (wrt article extraction) print much faster.

   
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Old 01-10-2006, 03:07 PM   #6
Steve Rindsberg
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>>It also seems the older the PDF file/magazine issue, the slower the print process. The most recent issues (wrt article extraction) print much faster.

We all slow down with age, why not the bytes in a PDF too? ;-)

Seriously though, it may be that Adobe has improved the way articles are tagged.
The PDF's document properties might give a clue as to the version of Acrobat that created the PDF (not 100% reliable).

   
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