Why Acrobat is better for printing and our story behind it

Adobe Acrobat vs. Preview (on a Mac)

Yesterday, our power glitched while Tim was in a meeting, and when he came in the office to make a copy, we discovered the printer was fried. In all attempts to turn it back on, we still failed.

Fried Printer

Fried Printer

So, even though we had been researching color laser printers the past few months, we didn’t realize we’d be forced into buying one.

We made our trip to Staples and came back with an HP Color Laserjet. So pretty…

Brand New Color Laser Printer

Brand New Color Laser Printer

Anyway, now we are testing the printer to see if it’s worth keeping, and we noticed a lot of detail was missing in the printouts (when printing from Tim’s computer). Of course, our first thought is to blame the printer and consider getting a refund, but then Elyssa (one of the designers) printed from her computer, and it looked perfect in detail and color.

After more experimentation, I finally came up with the solution: different applications were being used to view and print the PDFs.

You can see the comparison below:

Adobe Acrobat PDF – screen view (left)

Preview PDF – screen view (right)

Adobe Acrobat vs Preview

Notice the detail in the calculator is missing in Preview.

Adobe Acrobat printout (left)

Preview printout (right)

Adobe Acrobat Printout vs Preview Printout

The printouts show even more problems when using Preview:

1. Detail in the calculator is still missing
2. Colors are muddy
3. Lines in text and images are jagged
4. The entire document is larger

Preview’s default is to scale the images so it fits the screen. This throws off the proportion of the document and leads to other problems.

Through more experimentation, we found that Adobe Acrobat takes longer for the documents to print, but rightfully so. It obviously pays closer attention to detail and prints more accurately. I’ve yet to research the technical details as to why Acrobat is better, but so far we just have the proof.

Along with all of the other features included, like: password encrypting, print production features, electronic fillable forms, etc. (in Acrobat Professional), I’ve finally decided to switch to Acrobat as my default PDF viewer. It may take longer in some cases, but accuracy in printing makes it all worth it.

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