PDF is a perfect fit for print workflows. It’s hardly surprising, though. From the very start, PDF was designed with printing in mind, and it supports all sorts of fancy things like page fidelity, self-containment (e.g., via embedded fonts and images), device-independent color. For quite a while now, Acrobat Professional has also included a collection of specialized features for printing. While the breadth of Acrobat’s print-related functionality has grown across successive versions, there’s one key area that Acrobat doesn’t directly address at all: imposition.
To explain what that is, I’ll start by quoting the very helpful Wikipedia page on the topic:
Imposition … [is] the arrangement of … pages on the printer’s sheet, in order to obtain faster printing, simplify binding and reduce paper waste. Correct imposition minimizes printing time by maximizing the number of pages per impression, reducing cost of press time and materials. To Achieve this, the printed sheet must be filled as fully as possible.
Thanks, Wikipedia! So then, in its absolute simplest form, a key point of imposition is to fit multiple pages on each sheet for printing. With many commercial printing methods, changing the content to be printed means physically changing the plate or equivalent. That means that, the more pages you can fit on a single plate/sheet, the fewer times you need to change the plates, and the more efficient your print run.
The number of sheets per page isn’t the only consideration, though. The placement and organization of pages should also be informed by the stitching method, grain of the printing substrate (e.g., type of paper), and intended finishing and binding methods.
It’s crucial to get imposition right. Done properly, imposition facilitates stitching, finishing and binding, minimizes waste, and maximizes efficiency. Since Acrobat Pro can’t help with this, having no imposition features and all, where can you turn? As the title of this post implies, this is where Aerialist comes in.
Debenu PDF Aerialist offers a full set of imposition functionality. Using it, you can repeat pages to print business cards or labels (step and repeat), turn regular, sequential PDFs into books or booklets that are ready for binding (2-up, 4-up, N-up), re-size, shuffle or rotate media (i.e., pages), and optimize projects for specific printing processes.
PDF and Acrobat Professional offer good support for print workflows, but there is still a substantial functional gap — a gap that is filled when Acrobat is paired with the imposition functionality of Debenu PDF Aerialist. You don’t need to take my word for it, though. Check out the free trial to see for yourself.