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Document Conversion: A persistent problem and possible solutions from dots Software

In the following text we have a look at the problem of document conversion from a print operator's and an end user's perspective. We will show you possible solutions provided by dots Software.

To make application data fit for printing presents a continuous challenge. According to an InfoTrend study from 2010 only 25% of all incoming jobs arrive in the desired format: PDF. If we add print jobs that arrive in PostScript format, which can also be handled easily without any conversion, every third job seems to be ok. But ⅔ need conversion. That is a problem. And even PDF sometimes may require adjustment...

From a printer's perspective the solution seems clear: Increase the use of PDF. But you cannot force the desired format upon common users for a variety of reasons, waste of productivity chief among them. And if we talk about in-house printing, meaning corporate printing, the skills and tools for creating printable PDF files are often missing among end users.

In short: It is very difficult to make the PDF format mandatory. So if neither the users nor the machines can be forced to process data in a certain format, you need some magic in between.

And that magic is provided by software!

There are a couple of solutions:

  • send and transform the data by way of a virtual printer
  • transform the data during upload
  • check incoming PDFs for their printability

dots Software offers all 3 of those solutions, let's have a closer look.

Virtual printers

This is a solution much favored by in-house printers: After installation of either the JT Printer (for Printgroove JT Man) or the JT Web Printer (for Printgroove JT Web & Printgroove JT Suite) on the user's device a virtual printer is added to the FILE | PRINT menue of the user's application(s). These printers convert the print job into printable data and submit them for further processing to JT Man or JT Web.

Advantage: Printable data is created without user intervention including all required resources like fonts, logos, images etc.

Disadvantage: The installation of virtual printers may interfere with security or IT policy.

Converting data on the server

Printgroove JT Web and Printgroove JT Suite offer an additional option called JT Document Converter with the following workflow: A user creates a document using a common application and saves it to the file system. With JT Document Converter installed on the server, the upload dialog in JT Web changes and allows for more upload-able formats. JT Document Converter then converts the native file formats into printable data on the server.

Advantage: No local installation, no conflict with IT or security policies here.

Disadvantage: In order to accept all necessary file formats a version of each source application whose file format has to be accepted needs to be installed on the server. If it is not available on the server, the file format cannot be accepted.

Checking incoming PDF files

Even if users are submitting print files in PDF format, there still may occur problems during printing due to missing fonts, images with too low resultion or included transparencies. To solve those problems Printgroove JT Web and Printgroove JT Suite offer a basic preflight check, checking the three topics mentioned above.

Advantage: The most common problems can be avoided.

Disadvantage: You need incoming PDF files. There's no conversion included and discovered problems are not automatically solved. This has to be done by either the print operator or the user.

File conversion is here to stay

The need for file conversion will not go away, but the complexity of the process can be greatly reduced by software. Using software solves a lot of common problems for both the end user and the print operator, generating user acceptance on both sides of the transmission and increasing productivity.