Extensis has announced Preflight Online, a service that allows print bureaus to offer preflighting tools on their Web sites. For design houses this should mean that they will be less reliant on in-house preflighting tools and should incur much less cost from having work corrected by printers. The service works by the design house dragging the PDFs to be printed onto an area on the printer’s Web site. The first time this happens a 300k plug-in is downloaded, which preflights the document to the printer’s parameters on the design house’s computer. According to Extensis, this is much better than current systems such as that offered by Adobe, as the file stays on the host’s computer and there is no wait for uploading. The plug-in checks the files for potential output problems with fonts, colours or graphics. Printers can set different options so different criteria are checked for different presses. Other features include Web page output, so both printer and design house can view and discuss the results at the same time, and automatic logging of events – so print bureaus have proof of the validity of materials given to them and can charge for fixing accordingly. Currently only PDFs can be checked – but Extensis intend to add a plug-in for native Quark XPress files by the end of the year. End users can test the product using a dummy run on the Extensis Web site.
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