As you know when it comes to InDesign I tend to refer regular reader Darren, my partners, advisor, mentor and “go to” guy when it comes to InDesign. You will recall that he has helped with Link Optimizer and BatchOutput recently, and now he gets to complete his own personal trilogy with InPreflight 2.
This is what he had to say, and keep an eye out for the section at the end! It is a recent addition to reviews that I am trying to achieve on all the reviews I do to make them just a little bit more unique to the site!
What the devil is a preflight?
To â€˜preflightâ€™ an Indesign document is a loose term used in the industry for performing a final technical check over on a document, with a view to sending it out to a bureau, printer or perhaps a client. This could be as a conventional collect or as a hi-res pdf. So normally you would perform this as a job is in the final stages or signed off.
Out of all the products I have reviewed so far for Chris and Zevirx this is the one I had my doubts about. Nothing to do with InPreflight 2 from Zevrix. Itâ€™s just that I have dabbled in the past with â€˜preflightersâ€™. The whole point of a preflighter is that it saves you time and money on that all important final check.
If I remember correctly I had mixed results and it wasnâ€™t really saving me time. Throwing out errors for parameters I didnâ€™t even know I had checked, let alone where to uncheck them. To be honest I canâ€™t remember the name and even if I did itâ€™s pointless as that was a long time ago ( back in the dark or should I say Quark days).
Iâ€™m now older, wiser and a fully paid up member of the InDesign Fan Club (West Sussex branch). So whilst I approached this review with slight trepidation I was also strangely curious.
Please excuse me if I am confusing any of you with my unusual terms, processes and or names. I have been in this industry for twenty years so itâ€™s easy for me. I promise that I will make a concerted effort to try and de-jargonize this review for you, as much as I can.
Should I be preflighting then?
Yes, you should. In some shape or form.
As the wise Mr. Sod once said……….
“Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way”
………..running a preflight can alleviate some of these problems.
Doesnâ€™t InDesign already have a preflight?
Yes it does, straight out of the box InDesign does have a preflight feature. Youâ€™ll find it under the ‘Fileâ€™ menu. But itâ€™s very basic.
I use the preflight in InDesign where I currently work. Not out of choice. They just donâ€™t have any other preflight software available.
So letâ€™s take a look at InPreflight 2 for InDesign.
- Kind (including TIFF LZW/JPEG/ZIP compression, EPS JPEG compression)
- File size
- Color mode (including Multichannel, Duotone)
- Scale (%)
- Actual and effective resolution (including resolution of Duotone images and monochrome EPS images)
- Fonts in Illustrator files (EPS and native, including font list for each link and indication of embedded EPS fonts)
- Spot colors in Illustrator files (EPS and native)
- Spot colors in Duotone and DCS files
- Status (OK/Modified/Missing/Embedded)
- Non-printing status
- Status (Active/Missing)
- PDF embedding permission
- Space (CMYK, RGB, Lab)
- Model (Process, Spot)
- Used/unused status
Preflight Presets to specify font, color and link attributes to be flagged as problems; create various presets for different kind of jobs
Show selected link in InDesign document
Open selected links/fonts in default application
Reveal selected links/fonts in Finder
Document summary with preflight stats
Save preflight report with the detailed info on document, fonts, colors, links and paragraph styles
Built-in Packaging with variety of options
- Preflight and package multiple files as a single package or separate packages
- Detailed feedback about packaging status – all copying is done by Finder
- Include extra files/folders in package
- Create preflight reports
The Legend palette with symbols description
Automatically relink to FullPress Hi-res OPI images before preflighting
You will notice in the list above that several features are in bold. These are feature checks that are exclusive to InPreflight, you wonâ€™t find them in InDesign.
So does that mean that all the other checks are already available in InDesign? Errr, yes you can, but be prepared to play, hunt and go seek to find them all. Also consider the fact that you may have to check each and every element individually. Using InPreflight to check all these for you autmotically will save masses of time and reduce the margin of errors leaving the studio.
The list above is very impressive and from my experience, covers everything I could possibly think of that would need to be checked. Once you have configured your check parameters you can easily save them as preset. Perhaps you need a different set of checks for different clients. Itâ€™s a really clever idea and something I could see being very, very useful.
Itâ€™s the little things that count.
Preflight does a wonderful job of checking over your documents. But there was one other feature that really caught my eye.
With InPreflight 2 you can also do multiple collects. Say for instance you have five flyers saved as individual InDesign documents. These five flyers have a common image, weâ€™ll assume itâ€™s a 250mb .PSD file for the purpose of this example.
What InPreflight 2 does is compare the five files, looking for common assets. So instead of getting five collects with five copies of the 250mb you are getting one – you do the math!
This for me, is a feature that could warrant a release in its own right. But with InPrelight 2 you are getting this feature for FREE! Weâ€™ve all been there and tried to do it manually. You always miss one link and then you have the hassle of going back through the documents and re-attach the links. What a pain â€“ but with InPrelight 2 itâ€™s all done automatically.
I was very impressed with InPreflight 2, it did what is supposed to and some! My faith in preflight software has been restored!
- Price: $69.95
- InPreflight System Requirements
- Adobe InDesign CS/CS2/CS3
- Mac OS X 10.4.2 “Tiger
Interview with Developer – Leo Revzin
As Zevrix specializes in productivity solutions for Adobe Creative Suite I assume that you have a background that involved using their products on a day to day basis. What was it, and what generated the idea to focus on Adobe?
First, Chris, I’d like to thank you for inviting me to this virtual interview.
My background is mostly prepress in various environments – newspapers, magazines, service bureaus, ad agenciesâ€¦ Frankly, I think I’m not famous enough – yet – for people to get really interested in any more details of my background. The idea behind my products is simple – I created them first of all for myself and the company I work at (I also work at one of the largest ad agencies in Canada – and it’s one of the most amazing places to work at – and some of the most amazing people to work with, I have to say).
I was really happy when we started switching to InDesign CS – I never really liked QuarkXPress, even during the days when InDesign used to be called PageMaker. (By now, by the way, not everybody knows that InDesign is a project of rewriting PageMaker started by Aldus – the company that created PageMaker and was later bought by Adobe because of this project. So InDesign is truly a new version of PageMaker and inherits many of its features and ways of work. I hear people say sometimes “Wow, this feature of InDesign is amazing” or “It’s so easy to do in InDesign” – sure, many of these features have been in PageMaker forever).
However, InDesign was lacking some of the add-ons that were created for Quark. For example, on OS 9 we relied on FlightCheck to preflight Quark. When Markzware effectively killed their own product with the release of version 5 of FlightCheck – and never revived it – there were still other tools around to help preflight Quark documents. There was nothing for InDesign though (its built-in preflight couldn’t be taken seriously) – that’s why I created InPreflight.
As a non professional I have noticed how many more people seem to be using Adobe Creative Suite on a day to day basis. Has this impacted on your business, or is still very much the professional end of the market?
Honestly, I don’t know the exact definition of ‘professional’ or ‘non-professional’. To me, a professional is the one who is good at what he’s doing, whether he does it for a living or not. And vice-versa. The popularity of Adobe Creative Suite has only affected my business in a positive way, of course – and it’s great that Adobe takes their products into the right direction, in my opinion at least.
As Leopard is almost amongst us what plans or hopes do you have for it?
As you know, there will be quite a few great new features – as someone who always keeps a myriad of programs and windows open, I’m especially waiting for Spaces. There’re some great improvements for developers as wellâ€¦
Elevator pitch time – three words or phrases that you would use to persuade people to try your products?
Hope I get away with four words:
CLAIM YOUR LIFE BACK!
I’ll elaborate on what I mean: I think that one of the main reasons why Zevrix products are so successful, is my laziness. Yes, I’m lazy – I hate to put any effort that can be avoided into anything I’m doing. When it comes to the computers – there are things that we, humans, are not supposed to do, that’s what computers were created for. But we often become their slaves, unfortunately, especially when we have to repeat the same tedious tasks over and over again.
So that’s what Zevrix products are doing – they return you the time of your life that computer usually steals from you. Whether it’s a few minutes or a few days.
For example, BatchOutput – if people need to print (or PDF) several InDesign documents (or several dozens, or hundreds of them), they normally don’t have a choice but open each document – adjust settings – print – close – open etc. With BatchOutput, you just feed the list of files to the program, adjust the settings, hit Print and let it run. During your lunch break or for the whole night. The job is done when you come back without you having to babysit it.
So that’s why I say – Claim your life back! – and spend your time with friends, or family, or lover, or partying or whatever else brings you joy – instead of being a computer slave and coming home exhausted with the eyes red from the lack of sleep. And when you work – achieve more while doing less. That’s how my products – and my laziness – help people, and I’m proud to have received only extremely positive feedback so far from the users and the press.
What is next on the agenda for you?
I started releasing BatchOutput for Microsoft Office – BatchOutput for Word and Excel is already released, and for PowerPoint is currently in beta. And there are quite a few new features for the existing products on the way as well.
Oh, and in case you wonder what’s that virtual accent throughout my answers – it’s Russianâ€¦