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Creating a banner with FM and Acrobat

FrameMaker allows you to specify a paper size of 216 × 216 inches (5486 × 6486 mm). Hence it is no problem to design wonderful posters and banners.
The problem arises if you want to create a PDF from these documents. For example, I wanted to create this banner (2260 × 297 mm) in PDF and send the PDF to a print shop.

banner example
(Click on the image to get the PDF)

I tried several methods: Save as PDF, print to PostScript and then distill, specify the paper size also in the joboptions – nothing helped. The results were PDFs which contained mostly just a left part of the banner, about the size of A3, at best a nearly empty paper of the banner size with content to the left sam as before. Eventually Adobe support gave the relevant hint, but not the complete procedure.

Restriction in Acrobat

The problem is caused by a hidden restriction in Acrobat: There must not be more than 32000 pixels on the longer edge of the page (this is probably due to 16-bit storage locations). This leads to a certain threshold resolutions at a given paper extension: maximum resolution[dpi] = 32000/length[mm] * 25.4[mm/inch] = 812.8/length[m]:

Paper format Length [mm] Threshold
resolution [dpi]
  Length [mm] Threshold
resolution [dpi]
A4 297 2736   1000 813
A3 420 1935   1200 677
A2 584 1392   1400 580
A1 840 967   1600 508
A0 1169 695   1800 451
        2000 406
Letter 279 (11") 2909   2500 325
Legal 356 (14") 2285   3000 271
Tabloid 432 (17") 1882   3500 232
        4000 203

The standard Acrobat joboptions provide the following resolutions:

Joboptions Print res. Images
    Colour Grayscale Monochrome
Smallest File size 600 100 150 150 225 300 450
Standard 600 150 225 150 225 1200 1800
Press Quality 2400 300 450 300 450 1200 1800
High Quality Print 2400 300 450 300 450 1200 1800

The second column under the Images type heading gives the resolution of images, above which the images are down sampled to the resolution given in the first column: in High Quality Print colour images with a resolution above 450 dpi will be down sampled to 300 dpi.

Steps to get the banner

  1. Calculate the largest possible resolution.
    For example, for a banner of size 1820 × 297 mm you can at most have a resolution of 446 dpi (812.8/1.82 = 446).
  2. Set up joboptions for the Distiller with both the chosen low resolution and the paper size.
    This must be done in quite a number of places. Save this joboptions with a reasonable name.
  3. Print to PS (you can not use Save as PDF in FrameMaker for this procedure) using the Adobe PDF printer with the specially defined joboptions.
    This printer must be set up also to serve the low resolution and the paper size. Many locations are quite hidden.
  4. Distill the PS file to your banner PDF using the same joboptions as for the generation of the PS file.

Detailed procedure

Ths procedure described is still necessary for Acrobat 9.5.5.

This PDF (290 kB) details the procedure and illustrates the involved dialogues.

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 URL:  Created: 2006-03-08  Updated:
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