Printing Workflow Overview
90% of the workflow for successfully printing / plotting within the College of Architecture and Design involves proper file creation – typically using PDF files. See PDF Workshop below for detailed information on creating proper PDF files for printing. The final 10% of the printing workflow involves sending the file to the printer / plotter. See Printing Options below for detailed procedures. Note that the college has printing policies in place, including those related to credits for failed print jobs. See Printing Policies below for details.
IMPORTANT: Multi-page PDFs will be rejected by the large format plotters. Please create one PDF per board when printing large format.
Most printing problems are caused by improperly created PDF files. PDF files intended for printing should contain only that information necessary for printing. A properly created PDF file for printing will be relatively small in file size and will open quickly. Indications of potentially problematic PDF files are file sizes of more than just a few megabytes, and files that open slowly and only one strip or swatch at a time.
Their are two main reasons for failed print jobs: bad PDF files and improper paper sizes. Most bad PDF issues are related to superfluous content – such as layer information – being included in the PDF file. The easiest way by far to avoid these problems is to use the “Print” command from within the application where the content was created (such as AutoCAD, Photoshop, etc.) to directly create the PDF file. DO NOT USE THE “SAVE AS” OR “EXPORT” COMMANDS, as these create PDF files that contain layer information. Simply select “Adobe PDF”, rather than any physical printer on the list of printers to create a printable PDF file. Be sure to look for a “Print as Image” option (usually under an “Advanced” tab) when setting up the print job.
IMPORTANT: It is not possible to Print-to-PDF as described above using the Mac OS. Even if there is a Print-to-PDF option, it will not work properly, as it is actually saving-as or exporting the PDF file – that’s just the way Mac OS does it.
The vast majority of failed print jobs can be eliminated by following the simple guidelines below:
Fail-Safe PDF File Creation
“Print to PDF” from Adobe Acrobat (not Reader or the default Apple / Microsoft PDF apps) on a Windows computer. (Note that Acrobat is included in each students’ Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, AND that the Adobe license allows Mac users to install CC apps on both their Mac and Windows sides – so everyone has easy access to Acrobat on Windows.) Just open your PDF in Acrobat (not Reader) on any Windows machine and Print to the PDF printer as follows:
Select Print from the File menu. Select Adobe PDF from the Printer drop-down.
Click the Properties button. Click the Paper/Quality tab. Click the Advanced button. Select PostScript Custom Paper Size from the Paper Size drop‐down menu. Enter the Width and Height of your board. Click OK three times to get back to the Print dialogue.
Click the Advanced button. Check the Print as Image box. Select 300dpi from the DPI drop‐down menu. Click OK to get back to the Print dialogue.
Under Size Options, check Fit and un-check Choose paper source by PDF page size.
Click the Print button.
If Acrobat successfully creates the new PDF, then send this new PDF to the printer / plotter. If Acrobat fails to create the new PDF, then your print job will fail. DO NOT attempt to print a PDF that fails this simple test. Instead, you need to back up and resolve the issues that are causing the PDF to fail. See PDF Troubleshooting below for more information.
Use Proper Paper Sizes
The college printers and plotters offer the following paper sizes:
Small format B&W Studio Printers Letter 8 ½” x 11” and Tabloid 11’ x 17” paper
Small format Color Printers Letter 8 ½” x 11” and Tabloid 11’ x 17” paper
Note that small format print jobs MUST be specified as either letter or tabloid. All other sizes will be rejected by the system.
Plotters loaded with Bond Paper 36” wide roll paper
Plotters loaded with Photo Matt Paper 42” wide roll paper
Note that large format print jobs MUST be sized at least 1/2″ smaller than the roll paper width. Full 36″ or 42″ wide jobs will be put “on hold for paper” by the system.
Full-Service Printing: Located in room 309 of the UT Art + Architecture Building, the Digital Print Center (DPC) offers full-service large format printing. The DPC is generally open from 9:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday, and Sunday afternoons. Check hours posted at the door.
Self-Service Printing: Both large format plotters and small format color printers are available for self-service use 24-7. Plotters and color printers are located at the east end of the third floor and the west end of the fourth floor. In addition, there are six black and white laser printers distributed throughout the studios
Student printing costs are subsidized by the college FOR ACADEMIC USE ONLY. There will be no support or credit given for nonacademic use of college printers / plotters.
For best results, support requests should be submitted within 24 hours of any failed print job. Send support request emails to both Jeff (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Don (email@example.com).
Credit within the printing / plotting system can be given for any failed print job where no paper, ink, or toner was expended. This credit is applied toward future self-service plots only and CANNOT be applied toward full-service printing. Note that money CANNOT be refunded to users’ VolCard accounts.
In the case of failed large format plots, credit can only be given after the failed PDF file is uploaded to the college file server as per the instructions in red under “Instructions for Use of Large Format Self-Service Plotters” above.
In the case of failed large format plot jobs, credit will be given per user as follows;
1st Failed Plot Job – Credit given after the failed PDF file has been analyzed. The user will be notified by email regarding the cause of failure and instructed on how to prevent future plot failures.
2nd Failed Plot Job – Credit given after the failed PDF file has been analyzed, AND the user has met with college staff regarding the cause of failure, and to receive instructions on how to prevent future plot failures.
3rd and Subsequent Failed Plot Jobs – Credit given after the failed PDF file has been analyzed, AND the user has met with college staff regarding the cause of failure, and to receive instructions on how to prevent future plot failures. After the 2nd failed plot job, there will be a $2.00 service charge on all credits for failures determined to be due to documented failure modes.
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