Tag: PDFs

Creating “download-to-print” material for a distributed-printing campaign

Brother HL-L8350CDW colour laser printer

Brother HL-L8350CDW colour laser printer – could work with “download-to-print” campaigns

Increasingly, it is becoming feasible to turn out flyers and other print-ready material that can be printed on a distributed basis. That is where people can use their own inkjet or laser printers to turn out the material, underscoring the role of these printers as a small-business short-run printing press, or deliver it to a print shop for higher-capacity better-quality printouts. For that matter, the big office-supply-store chains like Office Depot, Staples and Officeworks do this kind of printing for reasonable prices.

Churches and similar organisations can use this method as a way to distribute documents like monthly calendars because the congregants can turn them out using their own printers and pin it up on the fridge. Similarly, the Country Fire Authority used “download-to-print” as a campaign tool in their fight against the reduction of the volunteer firefighters’ role in this fire service.

How do you achieve this?

But how do you do this? Here, you author your document to a known common paper size using your favourite word-processing, desktop-publishing or presentation software and when it is finished and approved, you export it as a PDF file. This file is then placed on your Website for your supporters to download then print or take to a print shop.

Brother HL-3075CW colour LED printer control panel detail

You can print PDF documents from a lot of printers’ control panels

This is because the Adobe PDF file format has become the de-facto “electronic hard copy” format and most print shops and copy shops can print from this format. Most printers like a lot of the equipment reviewed on this Website have the ability to print from PDF files held on a USB memory key or similar storage medium just by you selecting the document using the machine’s control panel.

But you may find that using the full Adobe Reader software as downloaded for free from the Adobe Website may provide better results with your Windows or MacOS regular computer. This is more so when you want accurate page layout control from your printer including access to the printer manufacturer’s driver software control panel. In this case, once you have Adobe Reader in place, you open the “download-to-print” file with that software using the “Open With” option your operating system provides. I learnt about this with a volunteer who was doing IT support for a Men’s Shed that I am a member of and he found this out after trial and error printing business cards available as a PDF file on a “short-run printing press” laser printer.

You can use this procedure with email-based campaigns by attaching the PDF file to the email or providing a link to the PDF file on your Website in the email. Here, you need to be sure that the PDF file is a properly-formed PDF file because malformed PDF files can be used to transport malware.

What paper sizes to use

If you are in a country that uses the ISO 216 “A” series of paper sizes such as A3, A4 or A5, the job is made much easier. It is because this paper standard implements what is known as the “silver rectangle” which has the aspect ratio of 1:1.4142135 (square root of 2), thus allowing you to print on a page size smaller or larger in the series than what it was authored for. Here, you can get away with authoring a document for an A4 sheet yet it turns out properly on the large A3 sheet or smaller A5 sheet. This will also appeal because an increasing number of office inkjet printers, especially from Brother, are offering A3 printing.

Countries like the USA may require you to author the document for the targeted paper size like the common Letter paper size. On the other hand, you may have to have a Ledger or Tabloid paper size for something that is to be large or “half-letter” for something that is to be smaller than Letter.

The DL and similar paper sizes are hard to print from an office printer because most of these printers and the PDF software don’t readily support multiple-copies-on-one-sheet or require the operator to perform a lot of trial and error to print these sizes. These are best turned out by a print shop who can then print and cut the documents. On the other hand, you may have to engage staff or volunteers to cut out the documents and this can take a fair bit of time especially with odd-shaped documents.

Use of colour in your campaign

An issue that may crop up with your “download-to-print” effort is the ability to print colour. This will be of concern if one or more people are using monochrome laser printers to turn out their documents.

Here, your goal is to turn out a “best-case” document that looks the part in colour but yields a high-quality black-and-white output when you use that mono laser printer. This is similar to what was achieved for TV through the early years while colour TV came on the scene – the picture had to look adequate on a black-and-white set while being able to look the part on a colour set.

This may not be of concern with documents that are primarily text-based and you use colour to highlight certain words, but if you are using background graphics like photos to decorate the page, make sure that you have good contrast especially around text. You could configure your colour printer’s driver to print the document in greyscale to see how it will look when you print it on a monochrome printer.


Once you know how to choose the proper page size for the “download-to-print” documents and can turn them out as PDF files, you can easily establish that distributed printing campaign whether participants use their office printer or ask a print shop or the local office-supply store to turn out the documents.


29 July 2019 – to mention the Adobe Reader software as having better control options regarding page layout and printing.

The best path for turning a PowerPoint presentation to PNG or JPEG files

A high-resolution image from PowerPoint on a DLNA-capable Smart TV

A high-resolution image from PowerPoint on a DLNA-capable Smart TV

I have discovered a weakness that Microsoft PowerPoint has when it comes to exporting presentations to PNG or JPEG raster-file formats. Here, the built-in rasterising function that this common presentation software has can only rasterise the presentations to resolutions that are very low for today’s expectations. This problem may also beset some other desktop presentation programs and may frustrate you when you want those high-resolution bitmaps.

The technique also applies to illustration software, CAD software and similar graphics programs as long as they can export to PDF or other common vector-based formats.

Why the need for high-resolution PNG and JPEG files?

Your camera, smart TV and similar devices work natively on high definition

But why have the PowerPoint presentations turned out to high-resolution formats? A typical digital camera in current circulation can take a picture with a resolution of at least 3000 x 4000 pixels and this applies to the cameras integrated in to smartphones and tablets. As well, the typical flat-screen TV has a resolution of at least 1080p for high-definition TV.

PowerPoint works to preserve sharpness when showing presentations

But all the artwork in a typical PowerPoint presentation i.e. the text, the pie-charts and other graphs,  but excepting any of the photos, is typically vector graphics that is drawn by the program.

This doesn’t lose any resolution no matter how big the display that the presentation is shown on is. Some of us may insert high-resolution photos such as pictures off our digital cameras in to the presentations and scale or crop them to suit the presentation. Here.the software could preserve the resolution of the photo or excerpt and implement this as a “relative scaling” to preserve the positioning, but keep the sharpness that is in the picture.

Allow our Web-site visitors to view a presentation, graph or diagram in detail

Some of us may want to use the PNG or JPEG files on a Web page which is handled by software that supports high-resolution delivery and server-side scaling. This would allow for “detail viewing” of photos and diagrams or best-quality display on high pixel-per-inch screens like the Retina-equipped Apple iPad. This is very important for diagrams, charts and similar graphics that can convey extra detail.

High-resolution bitmap-graphics layers for photo and video editing projects

Use PowerPoint to export presentation as a PDF file

Use PowerPoint to export presentation as a PDF file

Similarly, we would be using PowerPoint to create simplified graphics layers to use with a photo-editing tool like Photoshop. To the same extent, you could be using PowerPoint to prepare the menu tree for your DVD or Blu-Ray project and your DVD / Blu-Ray authoring program can only handle the raster files when you are preparing the menu screens.

Impressive and clear on large high-resolution displays

As well, we could be using PowerPoint to create digital signage and want to use a DLNA-based setup to show the signage on a DLNA-capable Smart TV, or a video projector or regular flat-panel TV hooked up to a DLNA-capable Blu-Ray player or network media player. It also extends to plugging a USB memory key full of the slides in to the side or back of the TV to show them on its screen as best as it could do.
In this case, you are able to benefit from the high resolution that a lot of these display devices offer. This also extends to you using the recent crop of mobile tablets, such as the Apple iPad 3 with Retina Display or the Samsung Galaxy Tab S, as digital picture frames but benefiting from their ultra-sharp displays.

How do you do this?

  1. Prepare your presentation

    Make up your presentation using PowerPoint or similar software as you would normally do. Keep saving the work in the software’s native format to avoid losing your work.

  2. Export to a PDF file

    Exporting using PDF2PNG, preferred for Web-targeted applications

    Exporting using PDF2PNG, preferred for Web-targeted applications

    Export the presentation as a PDF file. This is typically offered as the PDF file type for PowerPoint’s “Save As” option. This will have PowerPoint turn out a vector-based multi-page PDF of your presentation.

  3. Convert the PDF file to a PNG or JPEG file

    Use a Web-based PDF-rasterising tool that can rasterise to a PNG or JPG file. Good examples of these converters include PDF2PNG.com or PDF2JPG.net which turn out high-resolution PNG or JPG files respectively. There may be also some desktop PDF-rasterising tools available for all of the regular-computer platforms (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux) that can rasterise PDF files at high resolutions, which you could download or buy. These include Adobe Acrobat and some of the good PDF-management tools.

    The download file exported by PDF2PNG if you collect the ZIP file.

    The download file exported by PDF2PNG if you collect the ZIP file.

    In the case of the Web-based tools, you upload the PDF file and select the “Convert” option. If you have a resolution option, I would suggest using the higher-resolution options if they are available to you. Then, after you have submitted the conversion job, you will receive a ZIP file with all the slides as PNGs or JPGs.
    As well, there are similar online or desktop tools that can rasterise common vector-based graphics formats to high-resolution PNG or JPEG images, which may come in handy for your favourite graphics software.
    It is also worth knowing that JPGs may work more reliably when you are intending the image to be used on a TV screen or digital picture frame. This doesn’t matter whether you are using a USB memory key / SD card to directly transfer the images or use the display as part of a DLNA-capable network setup. It is because most of these devices can handle images from a digital camera or camcorder, and this may also apply to baseline video-editing or DVD-authoring software.

  4. Use the converted bitmap files how you want

    These are turned out as best-case high-resolution images fit for even a 4K UHDTV

    These are turned out as best-case high-resolution images fit for even a 4K UHDTV

    Expand the ZIP file to your computer’s file system in order to claim all of your bitmap files that resulted from your conversion job and store them where you want to get to them.
    In the case of showing them on a TV or digital picture frame, you can expand this file to a USB memory key that you are going to plug in to the side of the set, or move the JPG or PNG files to a (computer or NAS) folder that is used to share images by your computer’s or NAS’s DLNA media server.

Once you know how to rasterise you PowerPoint presentations to a high definition using external software, you can dodge PowerPoint’s bullet that limits you when you want to create high-resolution images fit for Webpages or today’s smart TVs.

St Valentine’s Day post

You may think that St Valentine’s Day is all about giving the one you love something special like roses, or inviting them out for lunch, afternoon tea or dinner because you know she lives in your town.  Of course, this isn’t the only day to show that affection.

But on the other hand, you may have used Skype to make a video call to them because they are away on business or holiday. It is worth reading this article about making sure that the Skype call goes to plan when they head on that trip. Here, I have highlighted becoming familiar with the Skype software, whether it is on the computer, mobile device or your smart TV or video peripheral. In some cases, you may have to do a “dry run” to make sure everything goes OK.

Similarly setting up a music playlist with a good variety of appropriate music on your computer or portable music player can work well for that dinner date at home or that movie date. As well, silencing that smartphone can work wonders but be sure you know how to bring the sound back on again so you don’t miss those calls.

If you have recipes in those books, scanning them to PDFs to upload to your tablet computer or laptop can allow you to have them in a more portable manner if you have to cook that dinner at another kitchen. As well, a bookstand can come in very handy if you use that tablet in the kitchen to refer to online or PDF recipes. On the other hand, that bread-bin can be shoehorned in to a temporary bookstand for that tablet.