There are a great many things that can go wrong when sending a document to the plotters. This document contains some basic things that you can try to overcome these issues.
- If you are using PowerPoint, check the page size to be sure no dimension is greater than 54 inches.
- If you are using Photoshop, check to be sure:
- Your resolution is 300 pixels/inch or less. If your file is extremely large, you may have to select 150 pixels/inch.
- You have flattened the image layers if applicable.
- You have chosen JPEG as the output encoding.
- If your file is in PDF format, open the .pdf file with Acrobat Pro and use the File → Reduce File Size... option.
- Always leave a 1-inch margin at the top of the document to leave room for the job-identification tag to be applied.
- Always leave a one-half-inch margin along the sides of the document to allow for safer handling of the document.
- If the overall resolution is 300 DPI or less, the problem could be the resolution of imported images. Check that your images have resolutions of 300 DPI or less. If not, recreating the images at lower resolutions may be the answer.
- Also, if your file contains imported graphics with different resolutions, the plotter will use a resolution that is a multiple of each of the component resolutions. The resulting resolution could be very large, greatly inflating the file size.
Changing the Format
If you cannot plot successfully from your original application using the above suggestions, try converting to another format. Usually the best choice is PDF. See the instructions for making PDF. However, at this time, it is not recommended to use Adobe Acrobat.
Reducing File Size
Many plotting problems are due to huge files that overwhelm the capacity of the plotter. The size of the file in your application may not appear to be overly large, but this can be deceiving because files can expand greatly when converted to Postscript for printing. Overly large data files can cause problems for the following reasons:
- The large data file increases the chances of an interruption occurring in the transfer that causes the printing to fail entirely.
- Really large data files take forever to transfer between the various print servers and the printers/plotters, and then another large amount of time to process before printing. Especially if there is a long queue for the plotter, these delays can be a major problem.
- Numerous large data files may overwhelm the print server's storage space, leading to really bad things happening in the printing world.
Here are a few tips that might help you minimize the data file size being sent to the printer:
- The most common cause of a large data file is having your computer's printer driver configured to use a really high printer resolution (DPI). With the printers/plotters in use at RPI, there is no point in setting a resolution above 300 DPI, because the hardware simply can't go higher. Furthermore, for most printouts, a resolution of 300 DPI is more than sufficient when it comes to what the human eye can detect.
- Another common cause is that your document includes a variety of secondary files of different resolutions (this is most often a problem with something like PowerPoint). To fix this problem, resize all of the images before putting them into the final document. By "resize", we mean both "making them all the right dimensions for what you want before adding them to the final document" and "make them all the same resolution."
- If you are printing a file from Photoshop that has many layers in it, the job will go much faster and be more likely to successfully print if you first flatten the image into a single layer, and then print it. Make sure to do this on a copy of the original file, in case you need to go back and fix something in one of those layers.
- If your document has no colors in it, then send the job to the printer as grayscale. This will greatly reduce the amount of data that the printer has to handle, and will also reduce the amount of time it takes to send the job. It will also save you money.
- If you have large areas of white in your document, then take advantage of the fact that the paper is already white in color. At least in Photoshop, there's an option to say that the background should be "transparent". Doing this will decrease the amount of data that needs to be sent to the printer, since "transparent" is effectively "empty", whereas "white" has an actual value that the printer needs to process.