Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started
Converting PDF to PPML
Media Selection

Getting Started

Q.
I'm new with ppml and I have some questions about it:
1. What do I need to print ppml files? (printer, consumer, etc..) I don't really understand this part.
2. What's the best way t o print reusuable pictures to improve performance?
A.
To be able to print PPML you need a PPML enabled printer (which in the PPML specification is called a Consumer)Many (if not most) of the mid to high range color printers have a DFE or RIP that supports PPML. You simply send the PPML file to the DFE/RIP just like you would send a PostScript or PDF file to that RIP. If the PPML file depends on other files, you need to transfer those files to the DFE/RIP before sending the PPML file.
Q.
What is the process of creating PPML?
A.
You can buy a PPML producing tool, or you can create your own PPML, which is a XML file format.  The quick and simple way to get started is to purchase a tool that will allow you to convert a QuarkXPress or InDesign design document into Certified PPML. These tools enable you to easily combine a design with the personal data (records) to generate a PPML dataset that's ready to print. Once you are comfortable working with PPML, consider using it to enhance or automate digital workflows.
Q.
Can you suggest some basic guidelines for preparing content for higher speed variable printing?
A.
Resolution: The resolution of images should not exceed ½ of the optical resolution of the printing device, and not more than 300dpi (at the printed size) for color printing. Example: if you are working with a printer that provides a resolution of 600dpi optical, and 1200dpi interpolated, prepare images at 300dpi for same size printing, and 150dpi if the image will be printed at 50% of its scanned size.
  • Use TIFF or higher quality JPEG images for your graphic images.
  • Use Postscript or PDF for type.
  • Reuse: The printing device has a finite amount of cache memory space available. Tag reused images as reusable. Generally, do not tag text as reusable (even if it is). It is the failure to identify reusable images that typically will slow the printing device.

Converting PDF to PPML

Q. Is there a way to convert PDF to PPML?
A.
You can't convert PDF into PPML directly, as PPML does not have any drawing commands of it's own. You can however "wrap" the PDF into a PPML/GA file with very little effort using EXTERNAL_DATA_ARRAY. All you really need to know is the number of pages and the size of each of the pages. You can then generate a PPML file with one MARK per page that refers to a page in the PDF file using EXTERNAL_DATA_ARRAY and place it onto the PPML page. Note that it is also fairly easy to combine multiple PDF's this way into a single PPML file or perform impositioning of one or more PDF's.
Q.
Interesting, so to follow up with more detail. My goal is to take an optimized multi page PDF and convert it into optmized PPML. Does this solution allow for that? By optmized I means if an identical image/graphic is used more than once - the PDF only contains multiple references to the same XObject, the image data is stored once. I'd like to keep that same optmization in the PPML that is created. Will your described method of conversion allow me to do that? I'm not worried about vector data or even imposition tags in the PPML - imposition will be already in place in the PDF.
A.
If you want to go to optimized PPML you would have to promote each XObject into a page in the PDF (and remove the calls to the XObject) and replace the XObject call in PPML using a REUSABLE_OBJECT/OCCURRENCE_REF.

Media Selection

Q.
How can I specify/select specific media for the separate pages in my PPML document?
The approach I wanted to follow is to add INTERNAL_DATA that includes the postscript to select the required media

[PAGE]
[MARK Position="20 22"]
[VIEW/]
[OBJECT Position="0 0"]
[SOURCE Dimensions="545 20" Format="application/postscript"]
[INTERNAL_DATA]%% postscript media selection
[/INTERNAL_DATA]
[/SOURCE]
[VIEW/]
[/OBJECT]
[/MARK]
A.
Any device settings in PostScript will at most influence the size of that particular object. The PostScript device settings for the rest ignored in PPML. Media selection etc. on a PPML Consumer is mostly vendor-specific. With the release of DPT 2.2 those media selections (and other properties of the final product such as finishing) will be specified via JDF.
Top