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  EPS Files, Fonts and Colors in Desktop Publishing

In desktop publishing, when you place type in an EPS file the same fonts must be installed on the computer that will be opening the file as the one where the file was created or else the fonts won't display or print as you intended:


Fonts in EPS files have to be handled the same as fonts in the body text. If you send a job to a service bureau for output then they must have the same fonts on their system - unless you embed the fonts in the EPS file when you first save it. (Currently Deneba Canvas™, Adobe® Illustrator® and CorelDRAW® support font embedding.)

Although EPS files can contain either images or type they are placed in a page layout program as images. Font and style attributes are saved within the EPS file when it is created - such as by an illustration program. Unlike assigning font and style attributes to the body text while working in a page layout program, EPS files are "pre-packaged" with these attributes.

Think of an EPS file as its own little mini-document. When you place an EPS file into a page layout document it is like placing a page layout within a page layout. It is described using PostScript® - the same as the page layout document itself when it is sent to a PostScript device. It is a set of instructions within a set of instructions. Naturally, then, the fonts would be required to properly interpret the instructions within the EPS file.

In QuarkXPress™ you can assign style attributes to TIFF images, but not to EPS files, again, for the same reason that all attributes are assigned using the software that creates the EPS files and not the page layout program.

Let's assume your page layout files will be output by a service bureau either on film or RC (resin coated) paper. Other than font embedding there are a few other ways you could handle this. You could:

1. Supply the fonts along with the job (check first if any licensing agreement applies)
2. Convert all the fonts to curves in the EPS file (but the text will no longer be editable)
3. Save two versions of the EPS file:
    a) A master version with editable text
    b) A working version (a copy of the master) with text converted to curves

Color and EPS Files

The next point to make about EPS files is that you must be aware of the color model you are using. Is the job going to be printed using spot color or process color? Let's say you will be printing a two-color job - for example, black and red - and it contains an EPS file. If the objects in the EPS file were tagged using process red (a mix of cyan, magenta, yellow and black) and the text in the page layout file was tagged using a spot color or RGB red, depending on the software and colors used, five plates may be output instead of two (four for the process colors in the EPS file and one for the spot color or RGB red in the document).

You must be very specific about how you assign colors in EPS files. The colors assigned to objects in an EPS file must match the colors used in the rest of the document. If the job is to be done using process colors (CMYK), then use process colors in the objects in the EPS file. If the job is to be done using spot colors, then use a standard spot color system such as PANTONE® for both the page layout document as well as the objects in the EPS file. If the job will be a five-color job (process plus spot) such as one using four color for photos and a spot color for a company logo, then make sure the objects in the EPS files use the same spot or process color as the rest of the document.

Always Make Laser Proofs Before
Sending The Job To A Service Bureau

If you will be preparing documents to be output by a service bureau then you should obtain and use a PostScript laser printer to check your output. Make laser proofs before you send the files to be output. The reason is that the service bureau's equipment uses PostScript. By printing a proof using the same page-description language, you will be able to obtain an exact replica before the files are committed to high-end output. Documents containing EPS files must be output to a PostScript device for them to print properly because their instructions are written using PostScript.

If Your Laser Printer Chokes On EPS Files...

There are as many varieties of EPS files as there are applications. Most applications allow EPS files to be saved either as straight ASCII or in binary format to save disk space. Some allow them to be saved using JPEG compression. I personally do not recommend using JPEG compression because it is "lossy" and there will be a trade off between image quality and file size. Some users (including myself) have had the experience of having the laser printer choke on EPS files saved in binary format. Do not become discouraged and not use EPS files believing that all EPS files will cause this. I believe this is caused by the application used to create the EPS files.

If you have trouble this is what I recommend:

1. First check how you send the job to the printer. QuarkXPress has many settings in the print dialog box. You can send images either as ASCII, Clean 8-Bit or Binary. Try variations on these settings first. If this doesn't work, then...

2. Do your image editing and illustration using whatever software you want to use. Save your work as EPS files (for vector or bitmap) or PDF files (for vector only) using any one of them. Then "scrub" them using Adobe Photoshop® (for bitmaps) or Adobe Illustrator (for vector graphics). By "scrubbing" I mean either open the EPS files in one of these two Adobe applications or create new files and use "cut and paste" to get the images into one of these two applications and save them as new EPS files. Then re-import these new EPS files into your page layout documents and output them again. The reason that I have more confidence using an Adobe product to create an EPS file is because EPS files use PostScript and Adobe is the source of PostScript.

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